Mental Health & Wellness
Signs of Substance Use:
Do you suspect that your child is abusing alcohol or using drugs? Are you
worried? Have you noticed some changes with your child? As a parent, it
is normal to be concerned.
Here are some of the warning signs to look for:
1. Physical and health signs of drug abuse
- Eyes that are bloodshot or pupils that are smaller or larger than normal.
- Frequent nosebleeds could be related to snorted drugs (meth or cocaine).
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns.Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
- Seizures without a history of epilepsy.
- Deterioration in personal grooming or physical appearance.
- Impaired coordination, injuries/accidents/bruises that they won’t
or can’t tell you about- they don’t know how they got hurt.
- Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing. Also increased use of “odor-covering”
products, such as perfumes, air fresheners, incense, or mouth-wash.
- Shakes, tremors, incoherent or slurred speech, impaired or unstable coordination.
2. Behavioral signs of alcohol or drug abuse
declining grades, getting in trouble at school.
This is the #1 sign of drug abuse.
Drop in attendance and performance at work--loss of interest in extracurricular
activities, hobbies, sports or exercise--decreased motivation.
Complaints from co-workers, supervisors, teachers or classmates.
Missing money, valuables, prescription or prescription drugs, borrowing
and stealing money.
Acting isolated, silent, withdrawn, engaging in secretive or suspicious
Preoccupation with alcohol and drug-related lifestyle in music, clothing
Sudden change in relationships, friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies.
Frequently getting into trouble (arguments, fights, accidents, illegal
3. Psychological warning signs of alcohol or drug abuse
Unexplained, confusing change in personality and/or attitude.
Sudden mood changes, irritability, angry outbursts or laughing at nothing.
Periods of unusual hyperactivity or agitation.
- Lack of motivation; inability to focus, appears lethargic or “spaced