Drug abuse among teens including alcohol abuse is common, and you should not automatically assume it can never happen in your family. If you have a bad feeling that your teen has become addicted to alcohol or drugs, here are some of the signs and symptoms to look out for.

Risky behavior

When a teen who was formally responsible starts exhibiting increasingly risky behavior, the cause could be a drug addiction. Further signs could be selling items of value you would never expect them to part with, which they are now doing to raise money to feed their habit. This can progress to stealing from you and your home and engaging in illegal activity to raise cash for drugs, despite the risks involved.

Hanging around with the wrong crowd

When a teen starts using drugs, their social life becomes increasingly focused on a group of new people with the same interest, some of whom may be friends who are also drug dealers. Previous friendships with non-drug-users may fall by the wayside.

Increased mood swings

The morning is a time to watch out for irritability, and this is when last night’s high has worn off, and your teen feels “on edge” again if they are addicted. If your teen then seems much more relaxed later in the day, this could be a symptom of drug use, though it is by no means the only possible explanation.

Always short of money

Drugs cost money, so if your teen suddenly has an increased need for money but no apparent explanation as to where it’s going, such as new clothes or a gaming system, the answer could be drugs. As addiction takes an even firmer hold, this can turn into stealing from the home and elsewhere.

Tired all the time

Teenagers can have very high energy levels at times, and be dog-tired at others. This is quite normal, but drug abuse can push it to the extreme. If they are unusually exhausted whenever you see them, it could be because they are partying hard with drugs involved when not in your sight.

Plunging grades

Doing drugs is generally not consistent with good grades, so if your teen shows a marked decline in academic performance you can’t otherwise explain, that could be a sign of an alcohol or drug problem.

If signs like these are making you concerned about your teen, contact Anthony Louis Center to learn about programs that can assist you.