How Parents Can Identify Signs of Addiction in Teens

Share Article

Addiction Expert Dr. Indra Cidambi Alerts Parents to Five Common Changes Caused By Substance Abuse

Dr. Indra Cidambi

"It is important to talk to your kids everyday to understand what is going on in their lives…helping them sort out feelings and fostering an environment where they turn to you first for help in solving a problem.”

Summer is here and college students are returning home and teenagers are getting out of school. Leading Addiction Expert, Dr. Indra Cidambi, explains that too much free time and, often, a lack of adult supervision increases kids’ vulnerability to alcohol, cigarettes, and other drugs. So, now is a good time to keep a closer eye on a teenager's behavior for warning signs of addiction. Also, new research points to summer time increase in adolescents’ exposure to the substance abuse.

Dr. Cidambi has more than a decade of experience dealing with individuals with substance use disorders and she has found that individuals with addiction issues most commonly started experimenting with marijuana as early as age 13. It is never too early to become alert to signs of substance abuse and talk to your kids about it. While we all know addiction changes a person, the signs can often be difficult identify in children, as they creep up and can be easily attributed to growing pains.

Dr. Cidambi wants to alert parents to five common changes brought on by substance abuse:

1.    Change in Friends: As substances begin to take over a child’s life, it typically leads to a change in the usual group of friends. New ‘friends’ that affirm a child’s new lifestyle will become more present, while old friends, that perhaps refuse to engage in such activities, will disappear. Dr. Cidambi says, “Adolescents often fall victim to substance abuse as a way to deal with stress or in order to be “accepted” by a “cool group.” So it is important to talk to kids everyday to understand what is going on in their lives…help sort out feelings and foster an environment where they turn to you first for help in solving a problem.”

2.    Changes in Behavior: “Substance abuse in young kids usually results in changes in social interactions, mood changes, problems with school work, increase in risky behavior and mood swings,” says Dr. Cidambi. “The changes in social interactions are very noticeable. If your extroverted child suddenly keeps more to himself and avoids eye contact it should be a concern. If he or she is sullen, irritable or depressed, it could be a warning sign. Reckless driving, car accidents or unexplained dents in the car could also point to a problem. Also, deterioration of the child’s performance in school should be explored.”

3.    Changes in Appearance: “If you do a double take when you see your child, chances are something is going on,” says Dr. Cidambi. “If a child has become careless about his or her clothing, has an unkempt appearance and has a perennially runny nose, you should think about having a conversation with your kid.” While it can be difficult to mentally accept the fact that your teen is taking on the appearance of an addict, it is important to address changes in appearance, especially red or glassy eyes, unexplained marks on arms or legs (long sleeves in warm weather to hide marks), continuous scratching or picking of face and arms.

4.    Change in Hobbies: “If your child no longer enjoys his or her usual activities, it may be that he or she has become pre-occupied with obtaining and using drugs or alcohol and it is taking over all aspects of their life,” notes Dr. Cidambi. Hobbies they previously enjoyed – soccer, ice-skating, dance, gymnastics, or martial arts - seem unimportant now. Instead of receiving mental and emotional stimulation from positive activities, they could be turning to drugs and alcohol to fill the void.

5.    Change in Eating Habits: “As the hand that feeds, parents tend to notice this effect of substance abuse quickly,” says Dr. Cidambi. Depending on the substance, your child can experience an array of new food habits, including binge eating, also known as the ‘munchies’, or a decrease in appetite. This swing in eating habits can have a negative effect on your child’s health and nutrition and should be addressed.

For more information on substance abuse dependency, addiction and treatment, please go to http://www.recoveryCNT.com.

About Dr. Indra Cidambi
Indra Cidambi, M.D., Medical Director, Center for Network Therapy, is recognized as a leading expert and pioneer in the field of Addiction Medicine. Under her leadership the Center for Network Therapy started New Jersey’s first state licensed Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification program for all substances nearly three years ago. Dr. Cidambi is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and double Board Certified in Addiction Medicine (ABAM, ABPN). She is fluent in five languages, including Russian.

About Center for Network Therapy
Center for Network Therapy (CNT) was the first facility in New Jersey to be licensed to provide Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification Services for all substances of abuse – alcohol, anesthetics, benzodiazepines, opiates and other substances of abuse. Led by a Board Certified Addiction Psychiatrist, Indra Cidambi, M.D., experienced physicians and nurses closely monitor each patient’s progress. With CNT’s superior client care and high quality treatment, Dr. Cidambi and her clinical team have successfully detoxed over 600 patients in nearly three years.

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Marisa Amador
Rubenstein PR
+1 (212) 843-9329
Email >