If you’re a parent of a teen and you know that he or she is experimenting with drugs, perhaps you’re okay with it. You know that this is the time of life to do such experimentation. And perhaps you think back to your own adolescence and remember that you experimented too. Perhaps the fact that your teen is experimenting with substances isn’t a worry for you.
However, if you began to see signs that your teen is no longer experimenting but instead using substances regularly then there may be reason to become worried. Teens who use substances on a regular basis are vulnerable to addiction. Over time, a substance can affect the brain in ways that contribute to addiction.
Here are some indications that your teen may be having trouble with substances:
Your teen is neglecting their responsibilities. Your teen might begin to neglect their schoolwork or family responsibilities because of their substance use. When your teen is putting drugs and alcohol first, there might be a sign of addiction.
Your teen’s use of drugs or alcohol is leading to legal concerns. Frequent drugs use might lead to driving under the influence and being arrested for it. Or your teen might get arrested for disorderly conduct or for stealing in order to support their substance use.
Your teen’s use of drugs and alcohol is affecting their relationships. When there is consistent use of drugs and alcohol and if your teen is frequently getting high or drunk, then it’s going to be hard to relate to others in a meaningful way.
You notice that your teen is building a tolerance to the drug or to alcohol. Tolerance indicates that your teen needs to take more of the drug to get the same high.
Your teen is taking other drugs to avoid having withdrawal symptoms. If your teen doesn’t have time to use their substance of choice during the day because of school , for example, then taking another drug might hold them over until they can have a drink. This is a good indication that your teen may be addicted.
Your teen is losing any sort of control over when you drink or use. Your teen tells himself that he’s not going to drink or use drugs but he ends up doing it anyway. This could be another indication of addiction. When a person wants to stop using substances but just can’t seem to stop no matter how hard you try, an addiction might have set in.
Your teen’s life revolves around using drugs or drinking. If you notice your teen is thinking, dreaming, fantasizing, and looking forward to their next drink or high, then they might be experiencing an addiction.
Your teen is no longer doing activities they love. The fact that your teen is always thinking and dreaming about drinking or getting high, they are probably no longer doing the things they enjoy. Instead, addiction has become the center of their life.
Your teen keeps using drugs or drinking even though they know it’s hurting them. There’s a clear indication that your teen has an addiction when they keep using even when it’s bringing harm to their life.
If you’re seeing any of the above indicators, contact a mental health professional.