Alcohol and Other Drug Use: Discerning the Signs

How can you tell if your child might have a problem with drug or alcohol abuse? There are a number of signs to watch for, including

  • social withdrawal and loss of interest in favorite activities,
  • a change in friends,
  • sudden downward trend in academic performance,
  • health issues and constant illnesses,
  • changes in appearance and hygiene,
  • lying or secretiveness,
  • financial problems, asking for money, or stealing,
  • the presence of drug-related paraphernalia or other physical evidences of drug use (white powder, pills, or other unusual materials) among your teen’s belongings,
  • suspicious, troublesome, or reckless behavior (including drinking and driving and promiscuous sex),
  • memory blackouts,
  • physical symptoms associated with withdrawal from alcohol or drug use (for example: trouble sleeping, depression, shakiness, tremors, restlessness, irritability, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, sweating, racing heartbeat, difficulty concentrating, or seizure).

Try to stay aware of any factors that could make your child more susceptible to experimenting with alcohol or drugs, such as heredity, mental disorders, and certain combinations of personality characteristics (for example, recklessness, lack of inhibition, or creativity).

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