young-kid-sitting-rockA lot of schools in he United States are opening again after an extended holiday break. But some students aren’t returning to class. That’s because these teens are struggling with alcohol abuse and drug addiction.

For many parents, addiction is one of their biggest fears. The parents fear what drugs can do to their kids’ health. We all know that drugs can hurt people temporarily, impair them for life, and even kill them. Parents also fear that drugs can damage their kids’ educations, job prospects, and relationships, and even put them in jail.

Parents might not know much about drugs and addiction, so they might be unsure if their teens are on drugs. Addiction can cause many physical, behavioral, and lifestyle changes, so parents might want to ask:

  • Do my teens look different from before? Do they have red eyes, dilated pupils, or a disheveled appearance? Do they have unexplained scars or bruises?
  • Are my teens more energetic than usual? More tired? More quick to get angry or sad?
  • Are my teens having problems in school? Are they abandoning their usual hobbies? Are they spending time with new people or more secretive than usual about their behavior?

These aren’t the only symptoms, of course, but these are some common signs that could indicate alcohol abuse and drug addiction.

As troubling as teen alcohol abuse and drug addiction are, teens facing these problems have options and hope. Professionals are developing new advances in medical care and psychological treatment all of the time. These treatments recognize that different people struggle with addiction in different ways, so they might need different kinds of help.

Teens and their families also might want to consider visiting online sites such as Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to find resources about substance abuse and young people. These resources and others can help them find the help that they need.