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Contrary to popular assumption, drug misuse among teenagers is not nearly as common as most people believe it to be. In fact, studies have shown that fewer teenagers than ever before are taking drugs and the number of teens abusing alcohol is also falling each year. Nonetheless, this does not mean that teen drug abuse doesn’t remain a very real and severe problem, blighting the lives of hundreds of families up and down the country.

When such an issue is detected and brought out into the open, the help of the reputable and experienced drug addiction counsellors in Kent could make the most incredible difference. Nevertheless, actually detecting the issue in the first place and addressing it represents a thing that is much easier said than done. Not only do many parents find themselves in denial about their children’s activities, but others are prone to suspicion and paranoia where neither are necessary.

So as far as the professionals are concerned, what kinds of symptoms and signs should parents be on the lookout for in terms of teenage substance abuse? And most importantly, when does the time come to call in the professionals?

Physical Symptoms and Signs

First up, it is pretty common knowledge that all types of drug abuse will have their own effects on the respective person’s physical health. Physical symptoms and signs of substance abuse tend to be the most easily detectable of all, although in all case do not necessarily prove that substance abuse if to blame. A few common examples include bloodshot eyes, nose bleeds, sudden weigh loss or gain, inability to sleep, lethargy, loss of appetite, muscle pains, frequent headaches and a tendency to become ill on a frequent basis and many more besides.

Along with these, there could be countless other examples of physical symptoms and signs which may not necessarily be as evident as those above. For instance, signs like problems with coordination, instability and loss of balance can indicate substance use. The same is also true for the appearance of bruises, cuts and other injuries that can’t be appropriately explained, deterioration of physical appearance, shakes, tremors, weakness and so on.

As mentioned, it’s perfectly possible that any combination of signs and symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that the teenager in question is taking drugs. Nonetheless, in order to rule out any potential health issues, it’s crucial that they aren’t ignored.

Behavioural Symptoms and Signs

Particularly among teenagers, behavioural symptoms and signs of substance abuse can be more difficult to detect. The reason is that teens in general are frequently prone to erratic and unpredictable behaviour, which can be mistaken for the symptoms of drug use. Which is why, the most important rule to follow is to be aware of change – any changes that are sudden or extensive enough to be of genuine concern.

In school, for instance, it can be that a teenager who once appeared to be getting by well suddenly experiences a drop in performance, increased disciplinary problems or the desire to stop attendance at all. On the social side of things, it might become evident that they have lost interest in their friends, fallen in with a bad crowd or are for some reason increasingly isolated. Another sign of drug abuse is when a teen will go to any length to avoid spending time face to face with their family. They rush in and out of the home, avoid conversation and are as elusive as possible.

In addition, any sign of untrustworthy behaviour or clear deception that is uncharacteristic for the teenager in question should be addressed. Lying about where they’ve been and their activities in general usually means there’s something to hide. Additionally, when a teenager seems to be in an aggressive state of denial, this could also mean there’s something deliberately hidden.

Once again, it’s important to realise the fact that none of these signs in any way proves categorically that the teenager in question is abusing drugs. Instead, they should prompt efforts to identify what it is that is going on, bringing the issue to the attention of the experts for essential guidance and advice.