When teens are struggling with addiction, they won’t broadcast it. For one, they will probably be hanging around with a crowd that you wouldn’t necessarily approve of. They don’t want the hassle of listening to that from you.
What you will have to rely on is knowledge of your child. Know their friends. Know their behaviors and know the signs when they are in trouble. Remember, there is a difference between abuse and addiction. Abuse of a substance means that they are using it. Addiction, on the other hand, means that they are hooked and will do anything to get more of the substance.
Here are some of the signs that your child may be dealing with addiction:
* Mood swings – Teenagers have many moods to begin with but these mood swings are more severe. It could be flying off the handle for no reason. They are always angry now where they used to be more upbeat.
* School issues – One telltale sign is that the grades begin to slip. An A student becomes a C or D student. It doesn’t happen overnight and you can keep watch on their grades if you keep the lines of communication open - as much as you can with a teenager. Your child may get into fights at school or other disruptions.
* Health – Due to the addiction, they may be losing weight. You may notice that they don’t eat or eat hardly anything. Rings around the eyes might mean they are not sleeping well. Changes in skin coloration and elsewhere on their body can also signify drug addiction.
It is time to get help. Addictions have underlying causes, some of which you may know. Any recent changes in the home or school atmosphere (divorce, death, accident, social pressures) can lead to drug or alcohol abuse. We mention alcohol because you can become an alcoholic, which is as much drug addiction as using prescription meds or illicit substances.
Contact a drug abuse counselor. They will be able to help you with information on what steps to take to intervene on behalf of your child. It won’t be easy or pretty but your child is crying out for help.
Talk to your family doctor. They can recommend treatment centers for your child to help them get clean. Choose a place that offers counseling for both patient and family.