There are signs that you can look for that may be considered truly indicative of drug addiction struggles. Keep in mind, however, that some things which can be construed as signs of drug addiction may be caused by other circumstances, which you will want to rule out. This will be covered more fully further on in the article.
Here are some signs that your teen may be struggling with depression. This list is not all-inclusive, but it will give you a starting point for making your determination.
This may often be one of the very first signs of a struggle with addiction, especially if it occurs suddenly. After all, it’s hard for a teen to concentrate on school and homework assignments if the brain function is being affected by drug or alcohol addiction. Some drugs can cause extreme drowsiness or simply the loss of inclination to study or participate in school related activities. Others, however, can cause the brain to “kick into overdrive” making it hard to concentrate on the specific task at hand.
This sign, though, is one of those that may have its origins in something other than addiction. A teen who suddenly starts making failing grades or begins losing interest in what was once routine or normal activities may not be struggling with addiction; rather, he or she may be dealing with anxiety, depression, or another condition.
You can rule this out is by taking your child to your family practitioner or by scheduling a counseling session with your religious or spiritual leader or a trained counselor. Any of these people can help you determine if addiction may be a factor or if it is indeed something else.
If you have noticed that your teen is no longer associating with the friends he or she once was, especially if he or she is reluctant for you to meet his “new” friends, this may be a sign that drug or alcohol use is occurring, as well as from whom your teen is receiving the substance that is causing their addiction struggles.
It may be, however, that your teen is still seeing the same friends he or she always has, but their activities have changed. For example, you may have thought they were attending a church or school function, but later learned that they never showed up there. Or, they arrived at the place they were supposed to be, but either did not go into the venue where the function was being held, or were not seen again after they were brought to the initial meeting place. These and other similar incidents can be signs that drug or alcohol use is occurring, which again can lead or add to your teen’s addiction struggles.
Another sign that your teen may be struggling with addiction is sudden or drastic changes in their appearance. These changes can include wearing clothes that are inappropriate for the weather.
Long sleeved shirts and long pants worn during the summer can be an attempt by your teen to cover “tracks” – holes and marks left in the skin from injecting drugs into the veins.
Or, your teen may be trying to disguise indications that his/her addiction struggles are causing him or her to constantly scratch or dig at his skin, which can cause sores.
Likewise, going out in winter weather without proper protection, or, again, wearing cold-weather clothing during warm weather can be a sign that the drugs causing your teen’s addiction struggles are interfering with the ability of your teen’s body or brain to discern external temperature changes. Some drugs can cause a sensation of warmth, causing your teen to believe that a jacket or coat is not necessary. On the other side, weight loss from poor eating habits caused by drug abuse and addiction can cause your teen to feel cold even in the hottest summer weather.
Addiction struggles can also cause your teen to neglect his hygiene. He may go for days without bathing or washing his hair, using deodorant, brushing his teeth or otherwise maintaining good oral hygiene practices, or changing underwear and outer clothing.
However, even if your teen is still maintaining an acceptable level of hygiene, if you still notice strange odors emanating from his body or unwashed clothing, or extremely bad breath, this may also be a sign of the drug abuse causing your teen’s addiction struggles.
If you have been supplying your teen with cash for such things as school lunches, buying clothes and other personal necessities, or for entertainment purposes, but you have since learned that the money has not been used for these purposes or for whatever purposes it was intended, this may be a sign that your teen is using the money to procure the substances causing the addiction struggles. This may be further enforced by your child constantly asking for more money.
In extreme cases, you may begin to see signs that your child is stealing money or items that can be readily converted into cash, or you may learn from other family members that your teen has been asking them for money on a regular basis, or even stolen from them. All of these can be signs that your teen is struggling with addiction.
If you have noticed any of the above signs in your teen, and you have ruled out other reasons they may be occurring, you should not hesitate to act on them and seek professional assistance. This is not the time to worry about whether or not you may be mistaken.