You can’t always be with your teen and know everything that they the are up to at every second, but as a caring parent, you can be in-tune to what is normal for them so that when something is off, you’ll notice it. As a parent, you know what is normal and what is not normal for your teen. If your teen has a change in behavior, it does not mean that something is necessarily wrong with the picture, but you should keep your radar up and try to be available if your teen needs to talk.
Changes in behavior or a change in the mannerisms of your teen could indicate that your teen is doing drugs, but you don’t want to jump to that conclusion automatically. Changes could include hanging out with different friends, isolation, withdrawal from regular family activities, disinterest in previously enjoyed activities, and a lack of communication. In more extreme cases, you may even notice that things around the house are going missing or that money is disappearing from your purse.
Mood changes are another red flag. If your teen is overly dramatic (more than usual) or is making irrational conclusions or decisions, it could be that they are abusing drugs. They may also be more irritable, violent, or verbally abusive. They may also threaten to drop out of school or even run away. It doesn’t hurt to get medication assisted treatment through a company like Options Treatment Center.
If your teen has a change in personality, has poor morale, more aggressive behavior, poor interactions with others, or they are failing in school, you may want to talk to them about it. There are also many physical changes that are cues of a bigger problem. Your teen may have bloodshot eyes, a sudden change in weight, dilated eyes, nosebleeds, shakes or tremors, poor hygiene, red or flushed cheeks, bruises or drowsiness or fatigue. You may also find drug paraphernalia which could include a pipe, rolling papers, a lighter, or needles.
Just because your teen shows signs such as the ones listed above does not mean that they have a drug or alcohol problem for certain, but you should definitely be concerned and talk to your teen about your concern for them. Even if it is not addiction-related, these symptoms are a red flag that something is going on and that you need to be supportive and open to your teen so that they know they can come to you with their problem.
If it turns out to be an addiction you can get access to a strong support system through your family or through an addiction treatment center, if that is not available. It takes a village to raise a child, and the resources are there to help you and your teen. Don’t hesitate to reach out and take the help that is available to you.
There are many ways to cope with addiction. You need to create a social network and to boost good relationships. If your teen is struggling, it may be a good time to invite their favorite relative over to spend some time with them and to help them through this difficult time their life. You should also join a support group and attend group meetings with your teen. It can be a life-changing experience to talk to someone who has gone through addiction already and who has come back form it. Their testimony may help your teen to realize that drugs and alcohol are just not worth the time.
You want to be supportive, but you also don’t want to push your teen away because you are trying too hard. It’s hard as a parent not to want to yank your teen out of their current situation and drive them as far away from the drugs and alcohol as you can, but that will not fix the problem. They will just get it somewhere else. You need to help them work through the deeper issues that are causing them to use drugs in the first place. Be there, but don’t push them away with your well-meaning love and concern. You may also turn to your faith for comfort and guidance on what is best to do if you are a religious family. Most importantly, do not give up.