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Signs of Teen Substance Abuse 

“How do I know if my teenager is abusing drugs or alcohol?” This is a question that we are frequently asked at Teen Treatment Center. Often, it can be difficult to differentiate between substance abuse and the typical teenage mood swings. However, if the teen begins to exhibit several of the signs below, they may be struggling with a substance use disorder.

When an adolescent is abusing drugs or alcohol, their parents and loved ones may notice a change in his or her behavior, grooming habits, work or school performance and health. Some common signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol use include: 

Behavioral Changes   

  • A sudden change in personality
  • Inability to concentrate
  • New social circle
  • Increased conflict and resistance in the family
  • Increased need to be secretive or deceitful
  • Withdrawn or extreme sadness
  • Anger or irritability

Signs of Teen Substance Abuse: Behavioral Changes

Changes in Appearance

  • A lack of interest in their appearance
  • Poor hygiene (e.g. bad breath)
  • Unusual markings on their arms or legs
  • Their clothes or breath reek of smoke
  • Smell of alcohol on their breath
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dark circles under their eyes

Signs of Teen Substance Abuse: Changes in Appearance

School or Work Performance

  • Excessive lateness at school or work
  • Skipping school or work
  • Receiving detentions or suspensions
  • Loss of interest in sports, hobbies or extracurricular activities
  • Drop in grades
  • Complaints from teachers, bosses or co-workers
  • Loss of job

Signs of Teen Substance Abuse: School or Work Performance


Health Issues

  • Insomnia
  • Frequent nose bleeds
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Unexplained bruises or sores
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Lack of or excessive amount of sleep

Signs of Teen Substance Abuse: Health Issues

Missing prescription medications, inexplicable need for cash and the disappearance of household items are also telltale signs of substance abuse.

If your teenager is displaying any of the behaviors above, they may be abusing drugs or alcohol. For additional information about drug and alcohol abuse, call us immediately at (844) 319-5239.

Restore Your Family Today

We realize that teen substance abuse can be difficult to detect. However, if you suspect that your teenager is using alcohol or drugs, it is important to seek help from a qualified mental health professional. 

At the Teen Treatment Center, we are able to properly diagnose and treat teens that are battling substance abuse. We offer a medically-supervised detox for teens who may be dependent on alcohol or drugs. Our comprehensive treatment programs can help adolescents recover from this powerful illness.

To speak with an admissions counselor about our treatment programs, contact us now at (844) 319-5239All conversations with our admissions counselors are free and confidential. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays.

Teen Treatment Center has been awarded
the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval.