7 Signs Your Child is Struggling with Substance Abuse

Spread the love

Being a parent in 2022 is more challenging than ever before. As drugs become legalized at the state level, drugs continue finding their way into the hands of teenagers at higher rates.

In many respects, the kids are not all right. The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics found that 70% of individuals who try a drug before the age of 13 will develop a long-term substance abuse disorder.

From 2016 to 2020, the rate of drug use among teens in 8th grade increased by 60%. The NCDA survey also found that almost 84% of teens used marijuana in the last month. 

Substance abuse continues reaching the younger generation. Therefore, parents have reason to worry for their children.

We outline seven signs your child is struggling with substance abuse.

1. Clothes Smell

As states started legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, the streets of the United States became stenchier. Someone who smokes pot can’t hide its smell easily, especially from their clothes and hair.

If your child’s clothes smell on more than one occasion, it’s one indication that they have started abusing drugs.

All drugs don’t leave a smell behind. So let’s explore other signs. 

If you believe that your child is struggling with substance abuse, start investigating programs that work with teens and young adults. Hollywood Hills Recovery is one option at your disposal.

2. Poor Hygiene

Most drugs lead to poor hygiene eventually. Since the highs and lows wear out the individual, they start oversleeping or not getting enough daily. They might also lose motivation. Moreover, the substance becomes their focus. Thus, they let everything else go.

Some drugs destroy a person’s hygiene. For example, meth is well-known for the horrible side effects it has on skin and teeth.  Heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy have similar effects on the outward appearance of the users.

3. Eating Habits Change

Prescription medications contain ingredients that cause some individuals to gain significant weight. Street drugs, on the other hand, cause individuals to lose significant weight.

Cocaine and methamphetamines contain synthesized stimulants. Thus, frequent use will cause the individual’s metabolism to speed up significantly. If your child’s weight shifts to one extreme or the other, it’s a sign parents need to check in with their kids.

4. Bruising on Arms

Injectable drugs lead to obvious bruising on the arms. Many users inject the substance into the same vein; they overuse it. If you notice bruising on the arms, speak with your child. If you notice it in between the toes, it’s a sign that their struggle has advanced. 

In addition, individuals who consume substances tend to engage in risky behavior. Thus, they will develop bruises on their arms and other parts of the body.

5. You Find Paraphernalia

An obvious sign that your child is abusing substances is finding paraphernalia in their room. Sometimes they carelessly leave it out on their beds, desks, or tables. Other times they hide it from their parents.

When it comes to keeping your kids addiction-free, it’s a good idea to inspect possible hiding spots. Consider taking a look around the bed area and inside the drawers and closets. 

If you find anything, have a conversation with them.

6. Can’t Keep Up with Daily Responsibilities

An addiction that has advanced will cause the individual to fall behind on their daily responsibilities. 

Since a child’s job is to attend school, slipping grades, failure to turn in assignments, and failing to continue participating in school activities indicate that something is going on with your child. 

7. Mood Swings

The teen years are already tough on kids. If they engage in substance use, it adds another layer to the rough years. 

Mood swings from drugs come from the crash after the high. In addition, they result from withdrawal. All substances, including prescription drugs, come from synthesizing plant strains and chemicals together. When consumed, they alter the brain’s chemistry.

The brain enjoys the extra rush of dopamine and becomes dependent on it. Since no one can replicate the first high, they spend their time chasing it. 

Once it becomes a habit, they must consume their substance of choice more often to avoid withdrawal. As the windows become shorter, the withdrawal symptoms become stronger and so do the mood swings.


Parents who have children who consume drugs can help them. Even though they are minors, they still must admit that they have a problem. Their confession will make treatment more effective.