Substance abuse in teenagers and warning signs

Drug addiction is defined as a chronic relapsing brain disease. Drug addiction disrupts the normal healthy functioning of the brain.

An adolescent brain is still developing, and drug addiction can alter that process.Drug and alcohol addiction is a preventable disease. It’s the only disease that has a physiological and psychological component. If left untreated the serious, harmful consequences can last a lifetime. Although there is no cure for this disease, it can be successfully treated.

Vulnerability to addiction differs from person to person. No single factor determines whether a person will become addicted to drugs.

A person’s susceptibility is affected by genetic makeup, gender, ethnicity, and the social environment in the home, school or neighborhood.

Parents or older family members who abuse drugs or alcohol can increase a child’s risk of developing their own drug problems.
Friends have the greatest influence during adolescence.

Adolescents are particularly vulnerable because of the strong influence of peer pressure and the curiosity to “feel good,” “feel better,” or “do better.” Adolescents are more likely to engage in thrilling and daring behaviors.

While experimenting with drugs does not automatically lead to drug abuse, early use is a risk factor for developing more serious drug abuse and addiction. Risk of drug abuse also increases during times of transition, such as changing schools, moving, or divorce.


Often times, there are consistent warning signs that indicate someone is struggling with the use of drugs and/or alcohol. The challenge for parents is to distinguish between normal adolescent behavior and the red flags of substance abuse.

These warnings include changes in :


• Personality changes
• Unpredictable mood swings
• Quick tempered, changes in frustration level, irritable
• Paranoid, guarded
• Less affectionate
• Lack of motivation
• Hostility
• Depression
• Decline in self esteem
• Demanding more privacy; locking doors; avoiding eye contact; sneaking around
• Dishonesty; stealing money, valuables, or prescriptions


• Not doing chores
• Not completing homework
• Slipping grades
• Coming home late
• Tardy or absent at school
• Forgetting family occasions


• Dropping one group of friends for another
• Reluctant to talk about friends
• Changes in clothing style
• Less interested in extra curricular activities or appearance


• Energy level changes
• Neglecting personal hygiene
• Change in eating or sleeping habits, nodding off
• Eyes (bloodshot, dilated, glazed, pinpoint pupils)
• Weight changes
• Use of cover-ups (sunglasses, breath mints, incense, room freshener, using eye drops)

What we can do at TheChildPlus- Holistic Pediatrics?


We can help you to diagnose any problem related with your child and help them along with certified psychiatrist to get rid of that. Feel free to contact us. We are happy to help.


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