Signs, Symptoms, and Risk Factors

The warning signs, symptoms, and risk factors listed here are common indicators of possible youth or teen alcohol or drug abuse.

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Behavioral Signs and Symptoms

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms

  • Always uses to intoxication
  • Uses at inappropriate times such as before driving, at work, or at school
  • Misses work or school
  • Damages relationships and performance at school, work, or home
  • Steals or borrows money from work, home, or friends
  • Secretive, defensive behavior about activities and possessions
  • Unusual mood changes
  • Abrupt temper outbursts
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Changes in peer group
  • Loss of interest in usual activities, pastimes, and hobbies
  • Aggressive or physical behavior
  • Money or valuables missing from home
  • Traveling to locations outside of normal range

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General Risk Factors

General Risk Factors

  • Chaotic home environments, particularly in which parents or guardians abuse substances or suffer from untreated mental illness
  • Ineffective parenting, especially with children with difficult temperaments or conduct disorders
  • Lack of parent–child attachment and nurturing
  • Inappropriately shy or aggressive behavior in the classroom
  • Failure in school performance
  • Poor social coping skills
  • Affiliations with peers displaying deviant behaviors
  • Perceptions of approval of drug-using behaviors in family, work, school, peer, and community environments

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Physical Signs and Symptoms

Physical Signs and Symptoms

  • Rapid weight gain or loss
  • Unexplained bruises or marks
  • Glazed or red eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Unexplained breakout of acne/rash
  • Unusual odors
  • Low or no energy
  • Depressed or anxious
  • Deterioration of personal appearance or hygiene

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