There isn’t a parent in the world who doesn’t worry about their teenage son or daughter falling victim to drugs.
Teen drug abuse and addiction is one of the most frightening problems facing America today – and the problem isn’t going away. Parents who bury their head in the sand and believe “that won’t happen to my child” are putting themselves and their children at risk by not facing facts and talking to their child about the potential dangers of substance abuse. And for those parents who suspect that their teenager is already mixed up with drugs – time is of the essence.
If you believe that your child may have a problem, you need to become familiar with the classic signs and symptoms of teen drug addiction. By understanding these warning signs you will be able to take action, and get your child the professional help they need.
Look for Physical Evidence
The most obvious thing to look for when determining if your child has a drug addiction is physical evidence. Watch for the disoriented behavior associated with intoxication. There are some drugs you can smell on the teen’s breath – such as marijuana. You may find drug paraphernalia in the room of the child – or in their clothing. Pipes and rolling papers are often the leading culprits in the case of marijuana addiction.
Changes in Functioning Due to Drug Addiction
You know your child well. So changes in their functioning should be fairly easy to spot if you know what to look for.
Be on the lookout for the following drug addiction dangers:
- A sudden drop in school performance. Drug addiction can take an “A” student down to a “D” average rather quickly. Look for changes in their grades or a sudden rise in absenteeism.
- Changes in sleep habits. Drug abuse and addiction can cause the teen to sleep more or less, depending upon the drug in question.
- Changes in motivation or activity levels. You may notice that your child is less interested in their hobbies or activities – and lack an overall motivation towards life.
- Changes in mood and attitude. Teens are volatile individuals to begin with – add drug addiction into the mix and you may see irrational behavior as well as sudden (sometimes violent) mood swings.
- Changes in peer group. Often, when a child is using drugs, he or she will begin hanging out with a new peer group that also uses – leaving behind old friends and past relationships.
Bear in mind that none of these changes in behavior necessarily means that your child is addicted to drugs. Some are also normal parts of adolescence. However, it is important that you remain vigilant – and use your common sense to determine whether or not there is a problem that requires a drug treatment centers help.
What to do if Your Child has a Dependence
If you determine that your teen does indeed have a drug addiction, it is important to take action immediately. First, try having an honest discussion with him or her. Be firm but not judgmental. Explain that you love them and you want to do everything you can to help.
If this form of communication does not work, it may be necessary to hold an intervention. A drug addiction intervention is a meeting when friends and family gather together in order to illustrate how the individual’s drug addiction is impacting the lives of those around them. In the case of a young person at risk, the end goal is to get them into a teen drug rehabilitation program immediately following the meeting.
When a teenager has a drug addiction, things may seem hopeless. But this is a time when your child needs you to be strong and supportive – and above all – action oriented.
Take action and get them the help they need as soon as possible. Their future may hang in the balance.