One of the biggest worries that most parents have is whether their child is using drugs or drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, many teenagers are introduced to alcohol and drugs upon reaching high school. While most will avoid these chemical substances, many will be pressured into trying them; some will end up developing drug addiction because of this early exposure.
Even though many parents are oblivious to the fact that their children are drinking or doing drugs, some signs may indicate a problem does exist. Some of these include:
- Spending more time than usual alone in their room. They may not want to spend time with the rest of the family, and while this is a common teenage trait, it should be viewed as suspicious if your child has previously spent a lot of time with other family members.
- Becoming secretive and unwilling to talk to parents or other family members, especially if this child has previously been quite open and talkative.
- Noticeable lack of concentration, memory lapses and sleeping more than usual.
- Change in school performance. A child who has started to use drugs or drink alcohol may begin to underperform at school. He or she may also stop taking an interest in personal hygiene and grooming.
- Hanging out with a new group of friends that you are uncomfortable with.
- Becoming hostile, moody and irritable.
- Becoming secretive about possessions. He or she may suddenly become protective about his or her things and may come to be obsessive about privacy. This could be an attempt to hide drugs or alcohol in their bedroom.
- Suddenly becoming disinterested in activities and hobbies that he or she previously enjoyed. You may find that your child has decided to stop physical activities because he or she would rather spend time with this new group of friends.
- Physical symptoms such as tremors, constant yawning, dilated pupils, nosebleeds, bloodshot eyes, digestive problems, or change in appetite.
- Noticeable unexplained weight loss.
The above signs should raise red flags for parents, but they are not absolute proof that your child is dabbling in drugs or drinking alcohol. They could be the result of an underlying illness, or it could be that something else is troubling your child, such as family problems or bullying. However, other signs will leave you in no doubt that your child is in trouble with alcohol or drugs; these include:
- The smell of alcohol on the breath.
- Drunken behaviour including slurred speech, poor co-ordination and vomiting. You may also notice that your child is suffering from an obvious hangover or has no memory of events while intoxicated.
- Evidence of drug or alcohol use found in his or her bedroom. Many teenagers will hide things like bags of pills, white powder, seeds, or leaves in their drawers or other hiding places in their bedroom. You may also find things such as lighters, rolling papers, pipes, or tubes.
What to Do
If you suspect that your child has a problem with drugs or alcohol, then you need to tackle the issue head on. Do not be afraid to mention your fears because the sooner you get the problem out in the open, the better. This is the best way to ensure that your child has a chance of beating his or her addiction and getting the necessary help. You will only be making the problem worse by burying your head in the sand.
Good communication is the key to getting to the root of the problem. If you can get your child to admit that he or she has a problem, you are half way towards a solution. The next step is to contact a suitable treatment provider from where your child can get the help needed. Addiction Helper can assist by putting you in touch with an appropriate provider in your area with experience working with teenage addiction. Contact us today for more information. Teenagers and drug addiction are two things that should not, but sometimes do go together. Seek help if you have concerns.