Signs & Symptoms of Teen Drinking and Drug Use

It is often hard to tell if your teen is using drugs or alcohol. This is a tough time for them and mood swings, angry outbursts and changes in behaviour, friends or interests are all part of them growing up.

There are still some things you should watch for in your teen like signs of depression or withdrawal, becoming careless with their personal grooming or being overly aggressive and angry.

You should also pay attention to if your teen is doing well in school, getting along with their friends and taking part in sports or other activities.

Watch List for Parents

  • Sudden changes in the friends they are hanging out with.
  • Negative attitudes about school, missing classes or falling grades.
  • Becoming very secretive about their things and what they are doing.
  • Using different scents to hide odours in their room or on their clothing.
  • Becoming more secretive in their conversations with friends, talking in code or slang, hiding their phone or online activity from you.
  • Changes in their clothing and hygiene, not caring if they look sloppy or dirty.
  • Going through money faster than usual and not being able to explain where it went.
  • Missing items such as clothing or electronics that could be traded for drugs.
  • Drug paraphernalia such as bongs, pipes, rolling papers, etc.
  • Finding common household products that could be used as inhalants in odd places.
  • Using eye drops to hide bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils.
  • Sudden use of mouthwash, cough drops or breath mints to cover up the smell of their breath.
  • Missing prescription drugs.

These changes in your teen's behaviour can often signal that something bad is going on with them like alcohol or drug use. But it could also be a sign that there may be deeper problems and should be addressed even if drugs or alcohol are not a factor.