When you suspect that your child has an addiction problem, it’s sometimes difficult to come to grips with the concept that it is happening to your child. You may even question whether they have a problem at all, or if they’re simply “being a teenager”. Below are a few signs of addiction in teens, what to look for, and what to do.

Facts about teenage addiction

It’s important to understand about addiction in teenagers. Below are a few facts that every parent should know, according to

  • More teens die from prescription drugs than heroin/cocaine combined.
  • In 2013, more high school seniors regularly used marijuana than cigarettes as 22.7% smoked pot in the last month, compared to 16.3% who smoked cigarettes.
  • 60% of seniors don’t see regular marijuana use as harmful, but THC (the active ingredient in the drug that causes addiction) is nearly 5 times stronger than it was 20 years ago.
  • 1/3 of teenagers who live in states with medical marijuana laws get their pot from other people’s prescriptions.
  • The United States represents 5% of the world’s population and 75% of prescription drugs taken. 60% of teens who abuse prescription drugs get them free from friends and relatives.
  • Adderall use (often prescribed to treat ADHD) has increased among high school seniors from 5.4% in 2009 to 7.5% this year.
  • 54% of high school seniors do not think regular steroid use is harmful, the lowest number since 1980, when the National Institute on Drug Abuse started asking about perception on steroids.
  • By the 8th grade, 28% of adolescents have consumed alcohol, 15% have smoked cigarettes, and 16.5% have used marijuana.
  • Teens who consistently learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use drugs than those who don’t.
  • 5% of high school seniors smoke pot daily, up from 5.1% five years ago. Meanwhile, less than 20% of 12th graders think occasional use is harmful, while less than 40% see regular use as harmful (lowest numbers since 1983).
  • About 50% of high school seniors do not think it’s harmful to try crack or cocaine once or twice and 40% believe it’s not harmful to use heroin once or twice.

Though stunning, the fact above show how common drug addiction is, and how significant the problem is.

Is My Teenager Addicted? What signs to look for

If you notice any of these signs in your teen, it’s critical that you seek help immediately from a treatment, detox and recovery center to get them the help they need:

  • Rapid change in grades
  • Glazed expressions
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Abandoning social activities, such as sports, that they used to love
  • Behavioral changes such as aggression, confusion or anything else out of the ordinary
  • Memory or cognitive problems
  • Theft in your household/unexplained missing items
  • Unexplained injuries or body mark

While any of these may be the symptom of something other than drug addiction, it’s critical to confront your child and learn the truth. Drug recovery professionals can guide you through this conversation.

What to do if your child has a drug addiction

First, understand that addiction is not a moral weakness, it’s a disease; a treatable disease, but it’s imperative that you seek help immediately instead of trying to “keep it in the family”. Many parents will try to address the problem on their own without seeking professional help. This often fails as parents are ill-equipped to help a child overcome addiction. Even worse, a child may sink further into addiction without the proper, professional help they need, and may die from their addiction. Having a child with an addiction is nothing to be embarrassed about. The key is to get help as quickly as possible. Turning to a professional facility such as Scottsdale Recovery Center can make the difference between success and failure.

If your child has an addiction, pick up the phone and contact a treatment professional immediately. They will work with your teen, and your family, to create lasting success in sobriety, recover and life!

Scottsdale Recovery Center® is Arizona’s leader in drug & alcohol addiction treatment, medical detox & recovery support services. Contact us today at 602.346.9142, or visit our website at

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center® holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.