None of us want to think that our children might succumb to substance abuse in any form. But statistics show that children as young as eleven years old are now falling prey to the peer pressure that can lead to alcohol and drug use.
Most of the time, it’s not easy to know if your child is using drugs or alcohol. The majority of indications can be placed into the following categories:
1. Emotional Changes:
- Extreme mood swings such as angry outbursts or uncontrolled laughing.
- General lethargy & lack of motivation.
- Withdrawn behavior.
- Inability to focus. Lack of interest.
- Repeated dishonesty.
- Loss of interest in family.
- Emotional changes with specific drugs:
- Alcoholism: Depression, Withdrawal, Irritability, Physically abusive
- Cocaine/Meth: Lots of energy, Talkative.
- Meth: Hallucinations during withdrawal.
- Heroin: Hallucinations and Paranoia.
2. Physical Changes:
- Bloodshot eyes (Inhalants) and Dilated pupils.
- Repeated nosebleeds (Meth or Cocaine)
- Bad breath and body odor (Alcohol on breath/inhalants)
- Small pupils/Drowsy/Emaciated/Brittle hair and nails (Heroin)
- Loss of teeth (Meth)
- Red, blotchy patches of skin and bloodshot eyes (Alcohol)
3. Social Changes:
- Loss of interest in social activities and going out/Increasing isolation.
- Odd behavior.
- Constantly borrowing money.
- Sudden change in friendships.
4. Changes at Home & School:
- Skipping class/Worsening grades.
- Wrappers & containers you as a parent don’t recognize.
- Drug paraphernalia/Missing drugs from home medicine cabinet.
- Unexplained dents in the car.
None of us wants to even suspect our child might have fallen prey to substance abuse; and admitting it is even more difficult. But as parents, we are not just our child’s caretakers. We are their line of defense, their fallback. So we must be vigilant, and we must be prepared to act. As parents, it’s important to GET THEM HELP! Let them know that you care and are there for them. And, as they get the help they need, try to understand what allowed them to fall prey to substance abuse in the first place.Finally, the best offense is always a good defense. And what that means is that no matter how reluctant your children are to talk about it, talk with them early and often about peer pressure, about drugs and alcohol, and about the dangers inherent to each. Open and honest communication with our kids goes a long way in protecting them from stumbling
on the road to adulthood.
Note: researching Drug Rehab Centers can be overwhelming if you begin doing so at the time they are needed. Think of advance research as just one more tool in your parenting