Drug addiction is a terrifying reality for many girls across the United States and around the world. Every loving parent wants to shield their daughter from this devastating condition.
It is not uncommon for girls to develop a substance use disorder in their innocent pursuit of drug experimentation. When this happens, their lives are in very real jeopardy.
As a parent, knowing what to look for is half the battle. You want to be educated and well-informed when it comes to the signs of drug addiction. If you suspect that your daughter is using illegal drugs, you are in a position to get her back on track before it’s too late with an intervention.
8 Telltale Signs that Your Daughter is Addicted to Illegal Drugs
# 1 There Has Neen an Obvious Change in Her Behavior
You know your daughter. Have you noticed a dramatic shift in her moods, attitudes, and behavior recently? Does your teenager seem like someone you no longer recognize? If so, this should be cause for concern.
Sure, adolescence brings with it a significant change in every young woman. However; we’re talking about something deeper than hormonal influence.
If your teenage daughter has suddenly become overly secretive, manipulative, dishonest, violent, or just plain “weird,” this could be a sign that she is struggling with an addiction.
If you have noticed a change in behavior that cannot be explained, you should have her evaluated by a medical professional. If she is not using illegal drugs, she might be suffering from a mental disorder. In either case, she needs professional help.
# 2 She is Not Performing Well Academically
If your daughter has always been a good student, and now she is making below average grades, something has happened to bring this on. Managing an addiction and academic performance is next to impossible for young people.
Addiction causes major changes in the brain. These changes include a loss of focus and concentration – not to mention motivation. Has your daughter always maintained good grades and now that is of minimum concern to her? If so, this should be a red flag.
# 3 Your Daughter is Skipping School
Skipping school is common for young women who are addicted. They don’t go to class because they are too high, too hungover, or they want to use drugs instead.
If she’s in high school, have you checked your daughter’s attendance record? She may be ditching class without your knowledge. You may not be able to get this information if she is in college, but you may know for sure she hasn’t been in class, and that’s a problem. When addiction is running the show, attending class is not high on the priority list.
# 4 There is Money or Valuables Missing From Around the House
If you have noticed cash missing from your purse, unexplained activity on your debit or credit cards, or valuable items missing; your daughter may be addicted to illegal drugs. Having a drug addiction is an expensive habit. This is true even if your teen is just using marijuana.
There is no doubt that you raised your daughter to be honest. Your first inclination may be to think “my daughter would never steal from me.” Think again. People suffering from substance use disorder will go to almost any length to sustain their habit. You know if cash or valuables are going missing. Don’t second guess yourself.
# 5 There Has Been a Change in Her Sleep Patterns
Drug addiction greatly affects sleep cycles. For example, drugs like crystal meth or cocaine will cause a user to stay up for days without the need for sleep. Heroin and prescription painkillers bring on prolonged sleep binges.
If you have observed erratic sleeping habits in your teenage daughter, she might be addicted to illegal drugs. For example, if she stays up for extended periods of time and then crashes for more than 24 hours, she may be abusing stimulant drugs. If she sleeps a lot or seems overly drowsy most of the time, she may be addicted to opioids.
Has your daughter been experiencing unhealth sleep cycles? Illegal drug use could be to blame.
# 6 She Has Lost or Gained a Significant Amount of Weight
Extreme weight loss or weight gain could be an indicator that your daughter is addicted to illegal drugs. Drug use causes changes to appetite and can cause a user to starve themselves or overeat.
If you have noticed that your daughter’s weight has significantly changed over a short period of time, this could be an indicator of addiction. However; you should also note that teenage girls are particularly susceptible to eating disorders. In either case, she should be evaluated by a medical professional to see what is going on with the weight issue.
# 7 You Have Observed Suspicious Social Media Activity
Parents should be mindful of their teenager’s social media accounts. Not everything on Facebook and other platforms can be dangerous for teens. For example, Instagram has become a marketplace for the buying and selling of illegal drugs.
If you have observed strange language or unusual activity on your teenage daughter’s social media sites, beware. Your teen and her friends may be using code words for drug use or buying drugs. Don’t be afraid to supervise her online habits to make sure she is not engaged in illegal activity.
# 8 Your Intuition Tells You Something is Not Quite Right
It is easy for parents to overlook the obvious signs that their teen is abusing illegal drugs. However, your intuition never lies. If you suspect that your daughter is addicted, she probably is. Parents are smarter and more aware than they give themselves credit for.
If something in your gut tells you that your daughter is struggling with a substance use disorder, listen to that voice. Take action immediately and get her the help she needs.
Want to learn more about teenagers and addiction? Here is a great resource provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Do You Need to Talk to an Expert? We’re Here to Help
Awesome things happen when young women get sober. At New Directions for Women, we have been helping women eighteen and over find recovery for more than four decades. We can help your daughter too.
If you think your teenager is addicted to illegal drugs, we encourage you to reach out for help. You shouldn’t try to face this alone and you don’t have to.
We offer a full continuum of addiction treatment services to women, including a family program. We can help you determine if your daughter has a substance use disorder and design a custom treatment plan to address her specific needs. We also offer a weekly family support group on Thursday evenings, even if your loved one is not in treatment with us.