Drug addiction is a worldwide issue that is affecting more and more people each year. Drug addiction does not only occur in older adults, and can unfortunately also pose a threat among adolescents. Teenage addiction is a problem that must be addressed – find out the signs of drug addiction in teens here.

In order to do this, we must first look deeper into addiction in teens and how it develops, as well as the telltale signs of drug abuse in teens. While the main signs of drug addiction in teenagers can vary, there are a number of common symptoms that you can look out for below.

How Common is Teenage Drug Addiction?

According to government statistics, there were 11,326 young people (people under the age of 18) in contact with alcohol and drug services between April 2021 and March 2022. Whilst this may seem like a low number in comparison to the population, it is actually a relatively high number of young people who require treatment. Whilst some people put this down to the fact that the 2020 Covid lockdowns affected many younger people’s mental health, there are still ongoing issues with addiction today. Teens using drugs may experience numerous mental health difficulties.

The main general causes of drug use are predisposing factors which include family traumas, psychological problems and mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. Often younger generations are not armed with as much knowledge about the damage of drugs and feel fearless because of their youth. Addiction in teenagers should be addressed as early as possible, so it’s important to know what to look out for.


Common Signs of Drug Use in Teenagers

Spotting the warning signs of teenage addiction is the best way to get your child into drug rehabilitation treatment. In younger teens, some symptoms and signs could be mistaken for teenage moodiness, hormones or simply their growth into adulthood. However, when these signs of substance abuse are combined, there is most likely an issue that needs to be addressed.

Behavioural Changes

If you have noticed that your child’s behaviour has changed, either at home, school, or both, then you may need to look a little deeper. Have they suddenly become moody, angry, withdrawn or seem to be acting secretively? Have you noticed changes in their friends or friends groups? Is there suddenly a lack of communication between you and you that they no longer engage with you as much?

Any changes in academic or work-related activities could show a change and potentially a drug addiction that has developed. Lack of motivation, losing interest in hobbies, neglecting themselves or responsibilities should be noted. These are all potential symptoms of substance abuse in teenagers.

Physical and Health Signs of Addiction in Teens

Physically your teenager may also have physical symptoms. Frequent use of snorting drugs can lead to nosebleeds, bloodshot eyes and general fatigue. They may have headaches and nausea and you may come across physical bruising or injuries that seem unexplained. They may be more or less tired than usual and may be edgy, irritable or moody.

Psychological and Emotional Signs

In teenage addiction, the mental state could be fragile and often quite telling. There are many emotional signs to watch out for, including increased irritability, anger, anxiety, and depression. Sudden changes in their personality could also be important and a sign of drug addiction in teens, such as becoming snappy, overly withdrawn, and not taking care of their personal hygiene.

Social and Routine Changes

Is your teenager becoming disinterested in everything? Are they suddenly doing badly in school? Moving away from a particular friend group, being around new people or being alone could symbolise an issue. Have they quit specific hobbies or interests? Association with a new group of people, alongside these physical and emotional changes, could mean that they have begun to experiment and potentially become addicted to a specific substance such as cocaine, cannabis, or opioids.

Poor Academic Performance and Attendance

Playing truant, not turning up for specific classes, leaving early or sneaking away early from school are prominent signs of an issue and one of the main signs of drug addiction in teens. Declining grades, problems with teachers or failure to submit work, including disciplinary issues at school are tell-tale signs that your teenager is struggling.


Get Professional Addiction Help for a Teenager

Speaking with your child and gaining the best information about teenage substance abuse and pathways to sobriety is very important. Speak to them about their preferences, and explain the various options to them. Whilst local community drug addiction help is not always successful, it may be a good starting place. Reaching out to your GP can be helpful, to ascertain if your teenager has any underlying medical issues or current medical problems related to addiction.

The next step is to reach out to local clubs and meetings, where your teenager can get some simple advice about stopping their addiction. Failing this, there are various intermediates who can assist you in getting your teenager the help that they need. Drug addiction in teens can be combated in some simple steps.


The Best Resources for Teenage Addiction

Teenage drug addiction can be damaging, so it is very important to act fast if you suspect that they are suffering from an addiction. Untreated addiction can lead to accidental overdose and death. You can look at the various ways to help your child below:

Addiction Counsellors and Therapists

Counsellors with the necessary qualifications to help teenage addicts can speak openly with their children and find out the core reason for the problem. Often, counselling sessions play a vital role in overcoming various mental health issues. Addiction counsellors can delve deep into your child’s psychology, helping to offer tools and behavioural guidance for their future.

Therapists may consider a specific type of treatment, such as behavioural therapy, like CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). They may also include family sessions and individual therapy that can create a healthy and positive platform for change.

Private Rehabilitation Programmes

Private rehabilitation programmes are renowned to be the best option for people facing addiction. Teenage addiction is a very fragile area and must be dealt with accordingly. Private rehabilitation seeks to create a calm and relaxed atmosphere, with positive routes to change. Private rehabilitation is tailor-made for teenagers and can assist them in many areas of their lives.

Private rehabilitation also offers teenagers a chance to express themselves and combine multiple forms of treatment, including therapy, counselling, behavioural therapies, drug detox and aftercare plans. This ensures that they have the best care following their stay. If you would like more information regarding teenage addiction, please do not hesitate to call us today. We are available 24/7. You can reach us by filling out our contact form, calling on 0800 012 6088 or Text HELP To 83222.


  • [1] 11,326 young people (people under the age of 18) in contact with alcohol and drug services between April 2021 and March 2022 - https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/substance-misuse-treatment-for-young-people-statistics-2021-to-2022/young-peoples-substance-misuse-treatment-statistics-2021-to-2022-report