Is Your Teen Chemically Dependent?

If you answer “yes” to any two of the following questions, there is a possibility that your teen is developing a problem with alcohol or other drugs.  If you answer “yes” to three or more questions, chemical use is probably causing serious problems in your family.

  • Has your child’s personality changed noticeably?  Does he or she have sudden mood swings and unpredictable behavior?
  • Does your child seem to be losing old friends and spending time with a new group about whom you know little or who are known as a party bunch?
  • Is your child unable to account for large sums of his or her money, or have you had objects or money mysteriously disappearing from your home?
  • Does your child defend his or her right to drink?
  • Is your child reluctant to talk about alcohol or other drugs?
  • Does your child drive irresponsibly?
  • Does your child lie about drug or alcohol use as well as other activities?
  • Have you ever found paraphernalia (rolling papers, baggies, small spoons, roach clips, capsules), bottles, or beer cans in his or her room?  Did your child explain it away when confronted?
  • Has your child lost interest in his or her physical appearance?
  • Has your child admitted to trying alcohol or other drugs “just once” while denying any regular use?
  • Are you hearing rumors about your child’s partying, goofing off, or drinking?
  • Has your child been cutting classes?
  • Do you as parents conceal from each other information about your child’s behavior?
  • Is your child suddenly less responsive?  Is he or she losing interest in school work, athletics, extracurricular activities, family, job, and/or previous interests?  Are grades dropping (not necessarily from A’s to D’s, but from B’s to C’s)?
  • Do you detect any of these physical symptoms:  excessive fatigue, disturbed sleep patterns, chronic cough, chest pains, “allergy” symptoms, vomiting, loss of appetite, unusual cravings for sweets, red eyes, dilation of pupils?
  • Have your child’s relationships with other family members deteriorated?
  • Are there signs of apparent emotional or psychological problems such as depression, loneliness, paranoia, or withdrawal?

As published in Love First, by Jeff & Debra Jay.  Reprinted with permission of Substance Abuse Community Council of Gross Pointe from the pamphlet “How Do I Know?  Where Do I Go?”