Trying to decide if your teen is using drugs can be difficult and stressful. Realizing that your child may be going through this struggle can be hard to cope with or understand. Support and guidance is important to provide during this time, even if you feel frustrated or angry.
There are six main signs that your child may be abusing drugs, and several ways to treat it. Peer group change is a common sign of abuse. Although many children change friends during their teenage years, an abrupt change to a completely different crowd may be cause for worry. Carelessness in appearance can also be a sign of addiction. Drugs may be influencing them to cause them to care less about fitting in and more about satisfying their need for the drug. Addiction changes the brain to put the drug at a level of importance above everything else. A decline in studies and academic performance can often result. Your child may start missing school or losing interest in normal activities they usually enjoy. They may find themselves in trouble with school more frequently or even the law.
If you think your child is becoming addicted or is already addicted, it is important to seek help and guidance. The best situation would be to intervene early before your child becomes addicted. Drugs work by changing areas in the brain critical to judgement, decisions, learning, memory, and behavior. Catching the use before it becomes a serious issue is helpful, but if your child is already addicted, there are many things you can still do to help. Remember that quitting is hard even when you want to become clean and can admit you have a problem. It is no easy task. In addition, do not think of the drug addiction as a moral failing; addiction is an illness that needs to be treated. Try and explain this to the child to help them understand that you are here to help them get the best treatment they need.
You can start by bringing your child to a doctor who can check for drug use or a specialist who can begin a screening. The doctor will usually ask questions related to use of drugs or alcohol and risky behaviors. They may have your child complete a urine or blood test. Patience and giving your child enough time and attention is key during this time, and the recovery to come. If you know of someone who needs help, call (855) 936-0854 for more information. The Last Resort is here to help you recover in the best way possible, surrounded by support and love. No one has to recover alone.