It’s often times difficult to face the reality that your teenager might be struggling with drug or alcohol use. However, admitting to yourself that your teenager needs help is critical if you’re going to serve as their advocate during the journey. Unfortunately, we’ve seen some parents ignore, or even actively avoid, signs that their teenager might be challenged with substance use habits, simply to try to escape the confrontation they know is likely to follow. In reality, your teen’s best chance for getting help likely starts when you acknowledge the reality of the situation, and work with them to help them pursue freedom.
As a parent, you play a critical role in the health and well-being of your teenager. There are a number of signs which clearly indicate substance use practices in your teen. Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell these signs apart from signs of mental or behavioral health challenges; other times, signs might be subtle, or even resemble typical signs of adolescent struggles. That’s why we’ve taken the time to outline a few of the major signs that your teenager might need rehab.
1. Drop in grades or academic performance
A drop in typical academic performance is oftentimes a clear sign that your teen is facing drug or alcohol use issues. In fact, a slip in grades, even a slight fluctuation, can be one of the first signs that your teen might need to attend rehab. Your teen might be dedicating more time to a substance consumption habit and less time toward study, or they may simply be reserving more attention for drug and alcohol use and acquisition, and less concentration on homework, test preparation and grades.
2. Secretive attitude
This sign is typically easier to identify: your teen might be acting secretive, or might have trouble defending irregular actions. In particular, here are a few specific actions to look out for:
- Your teen locking his or her door more often
- Your teen maintaining irregular daily or evening schedules
- Your teen staying out later than normal with peers
- Your teen suddenly spending time with entirely new groups of people
- Your teen avoiding your questions about their activities
In general, stay on the lookout for drastic or unexplained changes in your teen’s schedule, social life or energy levels. Sometimes, even smaller, unexplained changes to daily activities can mean your teen is participating in drug or alcohol use habits, and needs rehab.
3. Changes in physical appearance
If your teen is using substances, there’s a chance that his or her habits could be affecting physical appearance. Here are a few physical indicators that your teen could be using drugs or alcohol:
- Bloodshot or tired eyes
- Unexpected weight loss, weight gain or weight fluctuations
- Unexplained cuts, scars or wounds
- Random nosebleeds or runny noses
- Sweaty or shaking hands
- Nausea or upset stomach
- Talkative or hyperactive periods
4. Changes in behavior
You might also begin to notice changes in your teen’s behavior, changes that could potentially be linked to substance use habits. Here are a few behavioral signs to look for, if you’re suspicious that your teen might be struggling with drug or alcohol use practices:
- Unexplained changes in favorite hobbies or activities
- Increases in stress, anxiety, paranoia or nervousness
- Reckless driving
- Missing money, pills or alcohol
- Repeated dishonesty
If you notice one of these signs, and especially if you notice more than one of these signs simultaneously, it could be a clear sign that your teen needs substance use rehab.
Getting your teen the help they need
If you’re suspicious about the possibility of your teen’s substance use habits, Rehab After Work can help. Our “Rehab After School” program was launched specifically for teenagers, to offer effective treatment models addressing a full range of needs. Rehab After School helps adolescents properly address any drug or alcohol use issues, at the same time offering loved ones the resources they need to support both themselves and affected family members.
Take your first steps toward caring, comfortable substance use rehab services for your teen, by calling (610) 644-6464. Or, feel free to start your recovery journey online, by contacting Rehab After Work to pursue first steps today.