Addiction Treatment

Teen Addictive Behavior: What to Look For

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Last updated: 05/1/2019
Author: Medical Review

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Everyone can agree that the best way to stop teen addiction is prevention. This is why there is such a huge focus on education and making kids aware of the dangers of substance use and addiction. However, vigilance, on the part of the parents and other persons in the lives of teens are the real key to preventing addiction. But, what behaviors and signs should you look for? To understand this, you must know the personality traits common in addicts, the behaviors that lead to addiction, and the signs that addiction has already occurred.

Addictive Personality Traits

Teen Addictive Behavior

Being antisocial can be an addictive personality trait.

There are a number of personality traits common amongst people addicted to all manner of things, from gambling to heroin. Some of these traits are:

  • a family history of addiction
  • a lack of impulse control and problems with delayed gratification
  • an antisocial personality, and a sense of being a social outcast
  • mental illness
  • willful nonconformity and a tendency toward social deviancy
  • a lack of concrete goals
  • a sense of heightened stress, and difficulties coping with it

While these personality traits do not guarantee addiction in later life, they are warning signs that a teen is susceptible to the lures of addictive substances or behaviors.

Behaviors That Lead to Addiction

In addition to addictive personality traits, there are behaviors that indicate a trend toward addiction. There are a number of behaviors that may lead to addiction, including:

  • willful disobedience of parents or other authority figures
  • getting into trouble at school or breaking the law
  • an inability to stop doing things, even if they want to
  • withdrawing from friends and family
  • denying that they are having any problems, and attempting to shift blame away from themselves
  • moodiness and depression
  • low self-esteem

Again, these behaviors do not necessarily mean your teen is becoming addicted to something, just that they are at a higher risk of becoming so.

Signs Teens are Already Addicted

However hard they try, parents are not always able to prevent their children from becoming addicted to a substance or behavior. In many cases, it happens so suddenly that there is no hope for preventive intervention. There are a number of signs that someone is addicted to something. Some of these are:

  • changes in friends and social patterns
  • a decline in academic and physical performance
  • borrowing or stealing money with no explanation
  • being evasive or combative when facing questions about their behavior
  • physical signs of intoxication or withdrawal
  • a decline in personal hygiene and general health

If your teen is experiencing these signs, it is important to get help right away. All research suggests that early treatment of addiction greatly increases the chances of recovery. And, if you suspect your teen may be heading toward addiction, talk to them. Often times having an open line of communication can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to teen addiction.

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For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.