Early intervention is important for youth that are experiencing substance abuse issues. Substance abuse issues can put youth at risk for physical injury, aggression, criminal activity, sexual risk taking, being a victim of crime, suicide or self-injury, and addiction issues later in life. Parents, caregivers, and professionals who interact with teens may notice a variety of behaviors that can be signs or symptoms of substance abuse issues in teens.
At home parents or caregivers may notice:
- Their child becoming secretive and not volunteering information about where they are going or what they are doing with their friends.
- Missing alcohol from liquor cabinets or other places in the home.
- Their child appearing to suffer from a hangover in the morning.
- Their child’s eating habits abruptly changing.
- Spending money quickly and not being able to account for where they spent it.
In a school setting parents or school professionals may notice:
- A child starts to have frequent absences from school.
- A decline in a child’s grades.
- A child who has begun to have difficulty with concentrating in class.
- A child may have a sudden decline in the amount of time they spend doing their normal extracurricular activities such as sports.
In a social setting you may notice:
- A sudden change in friends. A child’s new friends may use substances.
- A child may start to use substances simply to get intoxicated instead of experimenting.
- Sudden changes to personality.
Substance abuse disorders and mental health issues often come hand in hand. It is important that children receive treatment for substance abuse issues as soon as possible to prevent negative consequences and lifelong issues due to addiction. For more information about substance abuse services near you, visit our contact page to be connected to your local Youth Dynamics office.