Substance abuse in adolescence? 15 signs of a troubled youth

Troubled teens throw families into utter chaos. All adolescents experience mood swings and volatility, so it can be difficult for some parents to decide what is within the normal range of adolescent behavior. As a psychiatrist who specializes in helping families with addicted teens or young adults, I try to educate families on what are the warning signs that they may have a troubled teen on their hands. Here are 15 signs of a troubled teenager:

  1. Does your teen use drugs or alcohol (teen substance abuse)?
  2. Does your teenager have significant mood swings?
  3. Does your teenager isolate himself in his bedroom right after school?
  4. Has your teenager’s school performance declined?
  5. Is your teenager skipping class and not doing homework?
  6. Has your teenager stopped eating with the family and participated in family activities?
  7. Is Your Teen Losing Weight?
  8. Has your teenager’s sleep pattern changed?
  9. Does your teen seem depressed or anxious?
  10. Has your teenager withdrawn from his old group of friends?
  11. Is your teenager with friends who seem like a bad influence?
  12. Is your teenager breaking the rules and defying authority?
  13. Has your teen gotten into any legal trouble (tent lift)?
  14. Does your teenager seem agitated?
  15. Does your teenager lie a lot?

The most likely reasons you may have a troubled youth is that your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol (teen alcoholism or teen drug abuse), suffers from anxiety or depression, or your teen has developed a disorder food (or a combination of these). ). Most of the other warning signs come from these conditions. Anxiety and depression can lead a teenager to use drugs and alcohol in an attempt to feel better, or conversely, alcoholism or drug abuse among teens can actually cause anxiety and depression. RJ, it is 18 years that I saw in my practice. His parents brought him to me because he was absent from school and told them he was feeling very depressed. He had already been expelled from 4 schools due to skipping classes and not turning in assignments. His parents had sent him to various alternative school settings and were at his wits’ end. At evaluation, he suffered from clinical depression and an anxiety disorder.

However, he also suffered from drug addiction and alcoholism as a teenager. With a patient like RJ, it is unclear if his depression or anxiety came before drug and alcohol use or after the abuse. He had abused drugs and alcohol since he was 14 years old. He also had a family history of depression. To give him the best result, I took him off drugs and alcohol with medications that prevented withdrawal symptoms. Then I prescribed an antidepressant that also helps relieve anxiety. Antidepressants are no addictive. I also worked with the family and helped teach both parents to set boundaries with their son and let him suffer the consequences of drug and alcohol use. They also agreed to go to the Family Anonymous meetings. RJ participated in group therapy with other children his age who suffer from addiction. RJ, a year later, has maintained his sobriety and goes to a school that has a self-paced program. He continues to take antidepressants and is not depressed or anxious. Now he gets along much better with his parents, who have learned to set limits with him. RJ has done well because his treatment has meant that he stops using drugs and alcohol so that he does not suffer from withdrawal. His therapy has consisted of dealing with addiction and learning new coping and communication skills. Antidepressants have helped you with depression and anxiety so you can function at a higher level. His parents have learned to increase their expectations of him by setting limits if he does not fulfill basic responsibilities. A successful outcome with a troubled adolescent requires a multifactorial approach.


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