Substance Abuse Warning Signs: An Overview

Substance abuse of any kind is dangerous. Persons of all ages can quickly, or over a period of time, become victims of their own negative behavior. Substance abuse becomes substance dependence. A person's choice of abused substance is often determined by age, economics, social or ethnic group, peer pressure and other personal and societal factors.

Remember: Some of the signs of abuse listed below may signify normal behavior variability or health problems. Signs are not proof. Conclusions should be based on facts, not on assumptions.

We hope this information will help you to recognize persons abusing substances so that they can be helped. In situations where signs and symptoms seem obvious, it is advisable to bring your observations to the attention of an appropriate person such as school nurse or counselor, family member, employee assistance or personnel liaison or the primary care physician.

A word for parents: Be very frank but not accusatory in discussing and questioning adolescents about suspected substance abuse. If you are unsure as to how to do this, consult with a local treatment professional licensed by the state in which you live. If you live on Long Island, contact us and we will be pleased to help you.