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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Teenage Substance Abuse and ADHD

02/24/1998

Question:

My son who is 13 has been acting different lately and I am worried about it. He has admitted to drinking and smoking marijuana and his grades have gone from As and Bs to Fs and a D. I am a very understanding mom and I tell him every day that I trust him and that I need him to be upfront and honest with me. What can I do to see that he gets back on track? He's been hyper and restless for a while now and I want to help him. What can I do?

Answer:

You have valid concerns for your son's change in behavior. Drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana are not normal childhood behaviors. The behavior changes that you describe as "hyper" are not primarily ADHD. Without additional information, it is difficult to give specific advice. A drop in school performance and behavior changes commonly signifies a serious problem with substance abuse that needs to be addressed immediately! Please take your child to his physician for evaluation and referral as needed to determine the exact cause of his behavior changes and to begin appropriate treatment.

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Response by:

Margaret C Sweeney, MD
Formerly, Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati