How to Tell if a Teen Has a Problem with Drugs, Alcohol or Addiction that Needs Rehab


by Jaclyn Petite

Raising a teen can be difficult in today’s world. Parents have a lot more to worry about with all that teens’ experience. Most of all, teens are now facing much more exposure to drugs and alcohol.

The scary part for parents is that even if their teen is just “experimenting” this can impact many different areas of a teen’s development raising additional issues and concerns for parents. LaVentana treatment programs assist parents in finding the support they need. We offer assessment, consultation and treatment recommendations.

Many parents want how to tell if their teen has an addiction. When we first meet with a teen we look for signs and symptoms that we’re trained to examine. We gain information though people involved in the teen’s life; this can include collateral information from the parents, school. These are some of the symptoms we look for when assessing teens and young adults that parents can use as well to tell if their teen needs rehab.

1.) Unexplained change in personality, mood or attitude, lack of motivation fearful anxious or paranoid.It is very common for teens to have fluctuations in moods, but when they start to have an increase in anxiety, conflict or paranoia, this could be a sign of a drug and alcohol problem. Many substances can induce these symptoms and they are important to look for when there is a concern about an addiction or problem with drugs and alcohol.

2.) Drop in attendance or performance at work or schoolToday, teens face a lot of pressure; the demand to be successful in school and go onto college is extremely high. They also face a lot more competition than ever before. Drugs and alcohol tend to be a coping mechanism for the stress they feel from these demands. Most teens are also in the experimental phase and this tends to make their use more of a concern, because there are frequent incidents of overdose or other health problems that could possible develop.

3.) Changes in appetite or sleep patterns, sudden weight loss or weight gainThis is an important symptom to pay attention to. Physiologically, teens are experiencing a significant growth and their body demands things like food and sleep to develop. When these are interrupted this can impact many areas of their life including mood, energy and body development. Thus, it is important to address these issues as soon as possible and if there is any concern that drugs and alcohol are involved, getting the teen the help they need. When a teen needs rehab, time is really of an essence.

4.) Deterioration in physical appearance, personal hygiene or peer groupThis is something we look for with every client we assess. When there is a serious drug and alcohol problem, it can be determined by how the person is looking and presenting. Adolescence is a time when teens are experimenting with image. If they suddenly seem like they no longer care about their appearance or hygiene, it should at least raise a red flag.

5.) Increase in crisis, fights, accidents, legal trouble, and trouble at schoolOne of the first indicators that a teen has an alcohol and drug problem is that he or she may begin to have consequences because of their use. You may find that your teen is having an increase in conflict, not only at home, but also in school, or their peer group.
It is important for every parent to pay attention to these warning signs. If you see any of these symptoms it is important to seek help and consultation from a company like LaVentana. For more information on how to get a teen into rehab or to find support on how to help a loved one with a drug and alcohol problem go to or call 800.560.8518