Youth Substance Use: Signs and Symptoms

Youth Substance Use: Signs and Symptoms

Any of the following signs/symptoms may be cause for concern.

If behaviors continue, you may want to seek professional assistance.

  • Peculiar odors such as marijuana, alcohol, or solvents on your child, on his/her clothing, in the house, or in the car
  • Presence of drugs or drug paraphernalia in your child’s environment or in dirty laundry (presence of seeds, leaves, or butts; use of small baggies, cigarette papers, tin foil, light bulbs)
  • Use of eye drops, room deodorizers, incense, or scented candles
  • Slurred speech
  • Changes in dress, language, opinions, or behavior
  • Sudden change in family relations (withdrawn, belligerence, marked increase in family arguments either with parents or siblings - especially regarding setting limits)
  • Noticeable change in personality (laziness, loss of motivation or interest, unusually elated, hyperactive, or lethargic)
  • Sudden changes in mood (aggressive anger, sullenness, uncaring attitude and behavior, seems depressed)
  • Changes in appetite: loss of appetite or increased appetite (“Munchies”)
  • Deterioration in physical appearance (general unhealthy appearance, bloodshot eyes, lack of alertness, decrease in neatness or personal hygiene)
  • Noticeable changes in school performance (drop in grades or attendance, disciplinary reports from the school, truancy, loss of interest in activities/sports)
  • Sudden change in social pattern (new friends, activities, choice of music)
  • Secretiveness about friends or activities or endless excuses for behaviors
  • Legal problems or delinquent behavior; frequently breaks house rules
  • Unusual financial problems, repeated pawning or selling of personal belongings
  • Health Concerns: frequently ill, nosebleeds, runny nose (without explanation of cold/allergies), queasy nauseous, vomiting, or headaches