As the years pass, more and more teenagers are abusing drugs and alcohol. According to the Substance Abuse and Medical Health Service Administration, more than one-fifth of the adolescent population admits to experimenting with drugs each year. Since it is quite easy to become addicted, parents must know the warning signs of substance abuse. Being able to identify symptoms of the problem will lead to an intervention that may save your child’s life. Here are the five most common signs of teenage drug use.

abused1. Declining Physical Appearance

Teens are known to go to great lengths to look good, especially when they are hanging out with their friends. Girls are very concerned about their hair, clothing, and makeup, and boys are known to apply cologne to smell good. An obvious sign of teenage drug addiction is a deterioration of physical appearance. When teens begin using drugs, their attention shifts from their looks to feeding their new habit. When they satisfy their drug cravings, their physical appearances no longer matter.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, a teen’s eyes may begin appearing blood shot, and his or her breath may smell unusually bad. A teen addict may experience sudden weight loss or gain as well.

2. Low Interest in Activities

Teens are commonly excited to participate in sports and other social activities. Drug use may make adolescents withdraw from fun times. Parents may notice that their child begins missing school and sporting practices. They may stop attending family gatherings as well. This may be a way to hide his or her bad habit from family and friends.

3. Diet and Sleep Changes

When a teenager begins using drugs, he or she may experience diet and sleep changes. Depending on the substance being consumed, an adolescent may begin eating more or less food than normal. Also, he or she may be lethargic and sleepy all the time or become an insomniac. If you notice changes in your child’s sleep patterns or appetite, it may be due to drug use.

4. Personality Changes

The U.S. National Library of Medicine explains that personality changes, including disrespect and deception, may be due to drug abuse. It is common for drug-using teens to start telling lies to cover their actions. Also, many adolescents who take drugs begin acting sneaky. They may be caught making secret phone calls or hiding in their rooms. Many times, teens who use drugs make poor excuses for their behavior and get easily irritated, especially when they are confronted.

sayno5. New Friends

When your teen starts taking drugs, you may notice that he or she no longer hangs out with his or her old friends. Your son or daughter may change the places that he or she goes as well. This can be quite serious and may mark the first step toward breaking curfew or other household rules. Following peer pressure from the wrong crowd can have serious consequences. Giving into the wrong actions can begin as minor trouble but can quickly escalate. A bad crowd of friends can negatively influence a teen and lead him or her to skip school and try drugs. As parents, it is imperative to always meet your child’s group of friends and maintain a certain rapport so that when things change, you are the first to know.

It is essential for parents to become familiar with the physical, behavioral, and psychological signs of substance abuse. When you suspect that your teen is taking drugs, it is vital to seek help before the problem gets worse. It is the only way to ensure that your child has the opportunity to thrive in the future.