Teenagers are at a crucial and sensitive time in their development. They are at the point in their lives where they are trying to discover themselves. Teenagers are very susceptible to pressures from their peers and from the environment around them. The media portrays drinking alcohol and using recreational drugs in a light, fun way. This sends impressionable teenagers the message that experimenting with these substances is not a big deal. Those looking to rebel, let loose, or who are looking for an escape from their emotions may turn to drugs and alcohol.

There is a distinction between drug use and addiction. Using drugs does not necessarily mean that someone is an addict. However, teens who experiment with substances early on in life are more likely to suffer from addiction later on. The most common substances that teens experiment with are alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco. According to the CDC’s “Risk Behavior Survey,” 63% of teens have tried alcohol, 18% have partaken in

binge-drinking, and 39% have used marijuana. There are many behavioral changes, as well as possible health side effects, that may serve as warning signs of possible substance abuse in a teen. Here are some possible warning signs.

  • Drastic Changes in mood
  • Reckless Driving
  • Secretiveness
  • A decline in academic performance/ interest
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Change in appetite
  • Increase/decrease in sleep
  • Red Eyes
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities Suddenly changing friends
  • A sudden change in weight

Not all of these signs necessarily indicate that a teenager is partaking in drugs and/or alcohol. However, if these symptoms are present, substance abuse is a possibility. It is important to have open conversations with your teen about this subject. Early intervention is the best way to prevent further problems and addiction later on in life.

Teen Drug Abuse

What if my teen is using drugs or alcohol?

The best thing to do is to remain calm. Lashing out will only make your teen less likely to open up to you. Ultimately what is most important is your child’s health and well-being. Voice your concerns to your teen. Express to your child how much you care about him or her. Feeling your unconditional support is crucial for a teenager who may be struggling with substance abuse. If you determine that your teen does have an abuse problem, the next step is to seek help.

What if my child is denying that they are using drugs or alcohol?

Explain to your child that you are concerned and that you are not trying to punish them. All you want to do is get them help if they need it. If your teen continues to deny any substance use and you are still convinced that it is a possibility, a drug test can determine whether or not drug use is taking place. A therapist or addiction specialist can also recognize the signs of teen drug abuse.

If you believe that your teen is struggling with substance abuse, drugabuse.gov is a resource with information about questions that you may have and about what steps to take next.


If you have a child that is struggling with addiction, you need to take the necessary steps to get them the help that they will need to achieve and maintain sobriety.  Asana Recovery specializes in medically supervised detox programs to ensure that the detox process is handled safely.  We have a very highly skilled and trained staff that is available to take your call, anytime day or night.  We use traditional and alternative methods of treatment when working with our clients and strive to treat everyone with dignity, respect, and compassion. If you have a teenager or loved one who is struggling with addiction right now, please call us at 949-438-4504 to speak with an admissions counselor.



You may also like