How to Recognize Drug Abuse and Addiction

Suspecting a teen aged loved one of drug abuse/addiction is heart wrenching. If they deny your inquiries, the process can be even more complicated and hurtful. However, drug abuse and drug addiction follows very routine patterns, so warning signs can be easy to pinpoint if you're able to recognize the indicators.

Here are 5 ways to recognize drug abuse and drug addiction, which may signal your teenager needs drug rehab treatment.

Sudden Changes in Behavioral Patterns
Teenagers rarely experience major shifts or changes in their behavioral patterns unless something is wrong. When a good to average student suddenly begins skipping classes, flunking, missing work, or demonstrates apathy about activities they used to enjoy, it can indicate a drug or alcohol problem. Erratic sleep patterns can also indicate something isn't right.

Drug abuse often causes erratic or belligerent behavior, which can result in arrest and/or incarceration. Stealing and driving under the influence are major red flags that should not be ignored.

Relationship Problems
It is common for teenagers to test authority or display rebellious behavior, but if relationships with parents, siblings and/or extended family members take a dramatic turn for the worse, or the teenager becomes unusually aggressive and/or violent, it is worth looking into.

Drug Paraphernalia
If you find drugs, or paraphernalia, in a teenager's possession, they're probably using drugs. Drug paraphernalia includes pipes, modified soda cans, broken light bulbs, rubber tubing, syringes, etc. Be wary of the excuse that they're hiding it for a friend. Contact the friend's parents immediately to investigate the truth.

Drug addiction can cause a lack of interest in personal hygiene, especially when combined with other indicators listed above. Also look for red/glassy eyes or the smell of marijuana, alcohol or chemicals.

The sooner your teen participates in drug rehab treatment, the better chance they have of becoming drug free.