Teen And Adolescent Addiction

January 12, 2022

The warning signs used to determine if a teen or adolescent may have a substance use disorder are listed by Dr. Ashish Bhatt, MD.


Hi, this is Dr. Bhatt with Straight Talk With The Doc. I want to take a few moments to speak about adolescence and addiction. Adolescence is a very vulnerable time for individuals as we grow. And it’s important to recognize that there are normal physiological, psychological, and behavioral changes that will occur as people become 12, 13, 14 years of age. But how do we recognize, though, when somebody may be using drugs because that is a major time when individuals start to use substances.

It’s important as parents, as caregivers, as loved ones to recognize some really important distinct issues that may be a sign of people using substances. That’s often an acute behavioral change. If somebody starts to behave differently, randomly and acts very erratic.

Often if they start to have change in hygiene levels, stop taking showers or dressing in a certain way that was once normal. If they start to lose interest in things that were something they were interested in. Hobbies and physical activities, sports. Additionally, if you notice that they are sneaking out, staying up later, and acting in a way that may be more dangerous. Often, it’s grades that start to decline and behaviors in school start to become negative. And if other family members witness behaviors that are concerning. Risk taking behaviors. If they are driving, if they start to drive in erratic manners or they get arrested or have issues with the law.

The key point here is that adolescence is a very vulnerable time for the development of substance abuse. It’s super important for us to keep vigilant of behaviors that might be signs of developing addiction.