Warning Signs of Alcohol and Drug Use in Kids


Randy Brazzel MA, LPC, LMFT

As school kicks off again, many of us find ourselves preparing our kids for school by getting them adjusted to new schedules, new teachers, and new expectations. While most kids adjust fairly well to the expectations of school, some kids have a much more difficult time. Kids can struggle with school for a number of reasons, including drug or alcohol abuse. As a result, it is important to be aware of the signs of alcohol and drug abuse in kids.

  1. Rapid and frequent mood changes.
  2. Sudden drop in grades.
  3. Recent change in friends followed by an overall change in attitude.
  4. Increase in “keeping secrets”.
  5. Red or glassy eyes (adolescents may keep a bottle of Visine available at all times).
  6. Distorted time sense.
  7. Depression.
  8. Impairment in short-term memory.
  9. Sleep disturbances.
  10. Caring less.
  11. “The Munchies” – Decrease in appetite but an increase in craving sweets.
  12. Sick more often.
  13. Increase in discipline problems both at home and at school.
  14. Finding drugs or drug paraphernalia.

If you begin to notice these symptoms in your kids, don’t just ignore it and “hope that they will grow out of it.” Drug abuse tends to be progressive and typically gets worse over time. There is frequently a direct relationship between a teenager’s decreased interest in healthy activities and their increased usage of drugs. The more drugs they do the less they want to do anything else. When appropriate, seek out help for your kid and have him or her drug tested if needed. Drug testing is now offered to the public at New Dimensions Day Hospital, which is located in the Clear Lake area. New Dimensions also offers Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Treatment for Adolescents. For more information call 281-333-2284.