When adolescents are using drugs they usually go to great lengths to hide it from their families. But there are always signs that give it away.
The Health, Behavioral and Psychological Indicators of Drug Abuse
If your instincts tells you something is going on with your son or daughter it probably is. But it may not have anything to do with drugs or alcohol, which is why you have to be very careful before jumping to conclusions or making accusations.
This list isn’t intended to be complete and definitive. However, these are some of the surest indicators of drug abuse and they are signs that you as a mom or dad cannot afford to ignore.
- Nighttime insomnia combined with frequent daytime naps.
- Bad breath or unexplained chemical-like odors on clothing.
- Neglect of normal grooming practices.
- Bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils.
- Frequent injuries or bruises that he or she can’t or won’t explain.
- A loss of motor skills plus shakes, tremors or incoherent speech.
- Sudden weight gain or loss.
- Rapid decline in academic performance, revealed by poor grades or reports of missed classes or school days.
- Old friends replaced by new ones that parents have never met (and introductions are not forthcoming).
- Missing money, valuable items or prescription pills, all of which your child had access to.
- Loss of interest in treasured hobbies, sports or other extracurricular activities at school.
- Secretive behavior, locked doors and excessive demands for privacy.
- Frequently getting into fights or arguments with friends, teachers or family members.
- A sudden affection for incense, perfume, air freshener or other odor-masking agents.
- Sudden mood swings occurring on a daily basis.
- Memory loss or difficulty in concentrating.
- Hyperactivity or agitation without apparent cause.
- Loss of motivation and drive along with other signs of depression.
- Unpleasant personality changes, such as short-temperedness, defensiveness or paranoia.
One or two of these symptoms may not be cause for worry. But if several apply to your child substance abuse could very well be the problem.
The Threat is Real, Take it Seriously
All parents have a healthy fear of drugs. We know the damage they can cause in our kids’ lives, but no matter how hard we try to protect our children we know drugs are everywhere and that young people will be tempted to experiment.
So it is better to keep your eyes open and stay alert at all times, and if you do see signs of drug abuse you need to sit down and talk to your son or daughter right away. These conversations can be difficult but they are essential and it is your responsibility as a parent not to turn a blind eye to the truth.
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