• Hazel House Living

Recognizing the Signs of Addiction in Your Child

Updated: Nov 16, 2018


Recognizing the warning sings of drug or alcohol abuse in your teen or adolescent child can be diffcicult since these signals are often written off as "typical teenage behavior." Many of these signs can also be intrepretated and signs for depression, mental illness or anxiety disorders.

If you notice any of the signs listed below in your own child don't be afraid to take action.

Ask your child directly if they have been drinking or using drugs. While most teenagers wont openly admit this behavior, you should have a plan in place for the chance they do answer "yes". If your child denys using, it could also mean they have been acting out for another reason such as mental health issues. In either case, getting a professional assesment with your childs primary care physican or psychologist is highly reccomended.


Behavioral Changes

  • Becoming distant from close family members or friends

  • Secluding themselves in bedroom/lock doors

  • Making secretive phone calls

  • Using eye drops frequently

  • Masking breathe with gum or mints

  • Sudden increases in appetite or loss of appetite

  • Uncharacteristcally loud or obnoxious

  • Unusually clumsly, stumbling or random bruising

  • Periods of sleeplessness or high energy followed by long periods of sleep

  • Avoids eye contact

  • Sneaking out, breaking curfew, disapearing for long periods of time

Mood and Personality Changes

  • Sullen, withdrawn, depressed

  • Sudden unprovoked mood swings

  • Hostile, angry, uncooportative

  • Loss of interest in activities


Hygeine and Apperance Changes

  • Messy apperance

  • Sudden decline in personal care

  • Bruising or track marks on arms

  • Burns on fingertips and face


Health Issues

  • Unusually tired and slow moving

  • Slurred speach or fast incoherent speach

  • Seizures, vomitting

  • Sores in mouth, skin abraisons and bruising

  • Excessive thrist or dry mouth

  • Nosebleeds, excessive runny nose or sniffling

  • Sudden or dramatic weight loss or gain

School or Work Changes

  • Absenteeism, excessive tardiness, lack of interest

  • Prolonged bathroom breaks

  • Loss of interest in extracurriculars and hobbies

  • Failure to fufill responsibilities

  • Detentions, suspension and other complaints from teachers

Warning Signs in the Home

  • Dissapearance of prescription or over the counter pills

  • Money or valuables missing

  • Receiving unusual packages in mail

  • Missing alcohol

  • Drug or alcohol paraphenalia


If you suspect that your child may be abusing drugs or alcohol it is never too early to confront them. Even if you suspect that they are just experimenting, teaching your children about the risks and consequences of addiction can help them be aware of the dangers.



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