How Can I tell if my Child is on Drugs?

How Can I tell if my Child is on Drugs?

March 5, 2018

Parenting is difficult and often anxiety inducing, especially when faced with raising a teenager or young adult who may be experimenting with drugs and alcohol, dealing with substance abuse or even suffering from addiction. Parenting a teenager or young adult is difficult in its own right and throwing a child that is using drugs or alcohol can be an overwhelming and difficult situation. In regards to drug or alcohol abuse, parents and loved ones often have questions about how to best approach or handle the situation. One of the biggest questions parents have is “How can I tell if my child is on drugs?”

Drug abuse and addiction is not the easiest issue to spot, especially when you consider that normal behaviors that accompany substance abuse often revolve around secrecy, isolation, manipulation and dishonesty. The fact that many of these behaviors are exhibited by teenagers and young adults who are not experimenting with drugs and alcohol and the ability to figure out if your child is abusing or experimenting with drugs and alcohol becomes that much more difficult.

So how can parents figure out if their child is on drugs? What are some of the signs and symptoms parents can look out for to determine if their child may be experimenting with drugs and alcohol or dealing with addiction? Here are some things to watch for:

Behavioral Changes or Symptoms

  • Changes in mood, behavioral or routine
  • Extreme changes in attitude or personality
  • Changes in social circles or friendships
  • Increased aggression, irritability, anxiety or depression
  • Constant isolation
  • Lack of motivation or interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Financial problems or constantly coming to you for money
  • Noticing possessions of theirs missing or noticing your things missing around the house
  • Extreme lethargy or apathy

Physical Changes or Symptoms:

  • Poor hygiene or lack of caring of appearance
  • Extreme weight gain or weight loss
  • Bloodshot or glazed eyes
  • Extreme dilated or constricted pupils
  • Sudden outbreak of acne or signs that the child has been picking at or irritating their face
  • Odd or random bruising

Again, these signs and symptoms will not always indicate drug use or substance abuse, but they can be some of the signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse and they can also point to other issues going on with the child, including mental health issues. As a parent, it is always important to ask questions and have open communication with your child. If you suspect your child is having issues with drugs and alcohol and are not being honest about it or you feel you cannot trust what they are saying, always trust your gut and consult a professional. There are drug testing options or a mental health or addiction treatment professional can help you with ways to approach the situation. If you do find your child is having issues, it is important to intervene with professional services to make sure they receive the help they need and you receive the support and guidance you need. Remember, addiction is treatable!

If you or someone you know is in need of help because of drug and/or alcohol abuse or addiction, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at For more information on all of our drug addiction and alcohol addiction services and recovery resources, please visit our web site at