Since mood swings and unpredictable behavior are frequent occurrences for preteens and teenagers, parents may find it difficult to spot signs of alcohol and drug abuse. But if observe one or more of these signs drug abuse may be at the heart of the problem: reduction in academic grades or attendance, poor attitude when not related to chores or basic requests, avoidance of family members coupled with isolation and withdrawal, sleep changes, eyes are red-rimmed and/or her nose is runny in the absence of a cold, mood swings, change in peer group, change in hygiene and health, missing money, missing items such as IPOD’s MP3 players, electronics and computer games as they are sold or traded for substances.
The presence of pipes, rolling papers, small medicine bottles, eye drops, or butane lighters in your home signal that your child may be using drugs. Other clues include homemade pipes and bongs (pipes that use water as a filter) made from soda cans or plastic beverage containers. If any of these indicators show up, parents should start discussing what steps to take so they can present a united front.
If you suspect that your child is using illegal drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs you should talk to him/her about your suspicions avoiding direct accusations. This talk should take place when he/she is sober or straight, and you’re calm. This will show your child that you still love him/her, but you are most concerned with what he/she is doing to him/herself.
Taking time to discuss the problem without turning away from it is an important first step to take care of the problem. Most important, act fast, seeking counseling from a certified mental health professional with experience in youth and substance abuse is critical. Depending on your teen’s behavior and level of addiction your child will have a greater chance of recovery by attending a residential adolescent addiction treatment. Try to choose a treatment program that also offers an educational program so that your child will not miss out on school credits.
Even in the face of mounting evidence, parents often have a hard time acknowledging that their child has an alcohol, illicit drug or prescription drug abuse problem. Anger, resentment, guilt, and a sense of failure are all common reactions, but it is important to avoid self-blame. Drug abuse occurs in families of all economic and social backgrounds, in happy and unhappy homes alike. Most important is that the faster you act, the sooner your child can start the better is the outcome.
We must remember that every teen is a child with a dream. Teen drug abuse and teen addiction can steal a parent and child’s dreams for their future. Don’t let your child become a statistic. Reach out to us.
Inspirations for Youth and FamiliesAddiction Treatment for Teens: 1-888-757-6237
Cove Center for Recovery Addiction Treatment for adults and young adults: 1-888-387-6237