Signs Your Child is Using Drugs

79167651When 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.

       Health-Related Indicators

  • 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.

       Behavioral Indicators

  • 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.

       Psychological Indicators

  • 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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7 Tips for Performing an Intervention for a Loved One

178711325If you have a loved one who is suffering from addiction, you may be considering performing an intervention. Interventions have the potential to help a loved one seek treatment. When done well, the intervention can help the loved one feel supported and can help him or her decide to make a change.

  1. Make a Plan

Consult a professional, such as a counselor, therapist or interventionist, for advice on how to perform the intervention. Planning what will be said and who will be present can greatly increase the chances of success.

  1. Gather Information

Once you’ve discussed the intervention with others, gather information about your loved one’s addiction, including the severity and how long the loved one has been wrestling with the addiction.

  1. Decide on the Intervention Team

Choose positive people whom you trust, and whom your loved one feels close to, for participation in the intervention. You might also decide that you want a professional interventionist present, or another qualified professional. You can also use this opportunity to decide when and where the intervention will take place.

  1. Decide on Consequences

If your loved one is resistant to treatment, have consequences that have already been discussed with others on the intervention team. Ideally, each person should have specific consequences that he or she will follow through with, like asking the loved one to move out. It’s important not to state any consequence that you aren’t comfortable following through with.

  1. Make Notes About What to Say

Interventions can be very emotionally charged, especially if they aren’t well planned in advance. In order to help keep you and others focused on the task at hand, come up with specific things you want to say. For instance, it can be useful to say, “I felt angry when you got drunk on my birthday,” which provides a specific example and how it made you feel.

  1. Hold the Intervention

It’s important to not let your loved one know about the intervention until it takes place. Have him or her be at a specific place at a specific time. Members take turns expressing their concerns, and they offer the loved one a treatment plan. Emphasizing your unconditional love and concern for the loved one can help prevent him or her from feeling ambushed or judged.

  1. Follow Up

Once your loved one is in treatment, the road to recovery doesn’t end. Often, loved ones are able to successfully overcome their addictions largely through the support of their friends and family. You can offer to attend counseling sessions with your loved one, or provide other types of support while the loved one is in recovery.

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