• Easily upset, emotional state changed rapidly
  • Weight changes; drastic loss or gain
  • Smell of alcohol on breath, odour of marijuana on clothing
  • Slurred speech or changes in speech pattern
  • More frequent physical injuries, bruises, scrapes or cuts
  • Burn marks on clothes, in car or on hands
  • Changes in hygiene, less care taken, wears same clothes over and over
  • Withdrawal from peers and family
  • Very defensive especially concerning drugs and/or alcohol using behaviour
  • Changes in sexual behaviour
  • Blatant defiance, argumentative even hostile to parents
  • Alcohol hangovers: throwing up, increased anxiety, headaches,shakes
  • Reddened eyes and frequent use use of eye drops, deep nagging persistent cough, raspy sounding throat, lethargic attitudes, poor motivation; seems to lose interest in many areas
  • Undisciplined; doesn't get things done on time or as agreed
  • Blackouts; periods of memory loss
  • Sometimes inappropriately happy; sometimes inexplicably depressed
  • Nervous, agitated, trouble sitting still, less hopeful and more cynical about life
  • Financial management erratic; spending more, needs more
  • Paraphernalia kept; rolling papers, pipes, roach clips, eye drops etc.
  • Possession of pharmaceutical drugs like Ritalin or cough medicine, cold medicine, motion sickness pills without any medical reason
  • Sudden change in slang; "Druggie" behaviour observable, profanity
  • Talk of suicide or suicide attempts
  • Visits to emergency room or psychiatric hospital due to overdoses or mental instability

If parents, school personnel or other significant person's in an adolescent's life observe these warning signs, a cooperative effort should be undertaken. An assessment should be made by a competent professional to determine if alcohol/chemical dependency exits, or if another problem requiring professional help is present. Once an appropriate assessment is made, treatment alternatives can be explored with the adolescent and family members. Hamish White and his team at Recovery Counselling Services are expert at providing assessments and consultations in a timely, professional and caring way. Give us a call, we can help.


Select here to see more on adolescent services