Teenage addiction is a significant problem and, unfortunately, these days many parents miss the warning signs. Teenagers tend to shy away from spending time with their parents, preferring to spend time alone in their room or out with friends. The internet has even made it possible for them to play games online with friends, so there are even fewer reasons for them to want to spend time with parents when at home.
Although most parents worry about drugs and alcohol, they are oblivious to the signs in their children. This may be because they are in denial without even realising. However, if you are a worried parent and are concerned about your child’s behaviour, the following signs could indicate a problem with alcohol or drugs:
- Becoming increasingly isolated from the rest of the family and spending most of their time alone in their room. If this behaviour is new, then it should be viewed as suspicious.
- Becoming secretive and not wanting to talk to you or siblings when he or she had previously been quite open and chatty.
- Change in personal hygiene or grooming.
- Change in performance in school.
- Sleeping more or complaining of being constantly
- Lack of concentration, frequent lapses in memory.
- Noticeable mood swings – becoming irritable or hostile.
- Lying about whereabouts and money.
- Becoming obsessive about guarding personal belongings such as mobile phones and bags.
- Neglecting other activities, particularly sporting activities.
- Change in appetite.
- Excessive yawning.
- Bloodshot eyes.
If you notice any of the above signs, you are right to be worried; but these do not automatically mean your child has drug or alcohol problems. The above signs could be indicative of another issue, so you need to speak to your son or daughter. Nevertheless, if you find evidence of drug or alcohol use in their bedroom, your suspicions are probably correct.
You may be considering searching his or her bedroom and, if this is the case, you can justify these actions by remembering that you are responsible for your child’s wellbeing. While you may want to respect his or her privacy, it is your job to ensure their safety.
Stages of Addiction for Teens
The first stage is experimentation. Peer pressure usually plays a role in a teenager’s first dabble with drugs or alcohol. Teenagers often try these substances in a bid to fit in with their peers. This may be something that he or she occasionally does at the weekend when at parties with friends. In most cases, this does not lead to any lasting problems.
The second stage occurs when the teenager actively seeks out drugs or alcohol. They are now moving towards dependence and are using drugs or alcohol to feel good or to relieve negative feelings. This could mean he or she is using drugs or alcohol more than occasionally, such as during the week, and their behaviour has started to change. They may be doing badly at school and might be prone to mood swings.
The third stage is becoming desperate to get alcohol or drugs. At this point, your child will have become dependent on drugs or alcohol and any attempt to limit use or quit will result in withdrawal symptoms. He or she will become depressed, moody, or irritable when not using. You may notice that alcohol, money or household items are disappearing from the house as he or she desperately tries to feed the habit.
Get Help Now
If you are worried about your child’s behaviour and suspect that drug or alcohol abuse is to blame, you need to get help immediately. Call Addiction Helper today and our expert advisors will provide you with information on where to get help.