Danger Signs

Symptoms of alcohol and other drug abuse are not always clear-cut. If the user is a teenager, many of the signs can be confused with "normal" adolescent behavior. Some signs also can be confused with health problems, thereby making it important to be alert and to know that a combination of the following characteristics may be cause for concern.

Teenage Danger Signs

  • Has your child's behavior become noticeably erratic? Does she or he experience sudden mood swings and unpredictable behavior?
  • Does your child seem to be losing old friends and spending time with a new group about 0 Lose time from work or school due to which you know little or are known as a drinking? party bunch?
  • Is your child unable to account for large sums of his or her money, or have objects or money mysteriously disappeared from your home?
  • Is your child reluctant to talk about alcohol or other drugs?
  • Does your child lie about alcohol and other matters?
  • Have you ever found drug paraphernalia(rolling paper, haggles small spoons, roach clips, capsules) or bottles or beer cans in his or her room? Did your child "explain it away" when asked about it? eg. "I'm holding it for a friend."
  • Has your child lost interest in his or her physical appearance?
  • Has your child admitted to trying alcohol or other drugs "just once," but denied regular use?
  • Are you hearing rumors about your child's partying, goofing off, or drinking and drugging?
  • Has your child been cutting classes or been late frequently?
  • Is your child suddenly less responsive? Is she or he losing interest in school work, athletics, extra-curricular activities, family, job, or other previous interests?
  • Has your child been complaining or exhibiting chest pains, allergy symptoms, vomiting, loss of appetite, unusual craving for sweets, red eyes, and dilation of pupils?
  • Have your child's relationships with other family members become contentious or deteriorated?
  • Does your child show signs of depression, loneliness, paranoia or withdrawal?

General Danger Signs

Does someone you know...

  • Need a drink at a certain time, or "the morning after"?
  • Lose time from work or school due to drinking?
  • Drink alone or try to hide drinking?
  • Have loss of memory ot loss of control during or after drinking?
  • Seem irritable, defensive, jealous, moody, easily angered after drinking?
  • Have physical complaints that may be related to drinking: inefficiency, low energy,
  • Feel guilty, worthless or depressed because of drinking and behavior associated with drinking.
  • Avoid friends and social activities because of drinking?
  • Embarrass, harm or worry family and friends with his/her drinking and behavior?
  • Have drug paraphernalia (rolling paper, baggies, small spoons, roach clips, capsules, etc.)
  • Have panic reactions or short term memory loss.
  • Show unpredictable or violent behavior or emotional instability.
  • Experience seizures, blackouts, severe depression, and paranoia.
  • Show reduced concentration and/or coordination
  • Exhibit an altered mood and perceptual difficulties.

Experience brief intense euphoria that is followed by depression.