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For Parents

Signs Your Child is Abusing Drugs or Alcohol

What to do if You Suspect Your Child is Abusing Drugs or Alcohol

As a parent, it is natural to be concerned about your child. That is why if you have noticed some changes in your child, and you suspect that he or she is abusing drugs or alcohol, then you should not ignore this. One of the best things that you can do if your child is abusing drugs or alcohol is to get some support and help for yourself.

Physical Signs of Drug or Alcohol Abuse

Some of the following signs are not always an indication of drug or alcohol abuse, however, any time a teen is displaying unusual changes in their physical health, there is reason to be wary.

Things you should pay attention to include the following:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Pupils that are larger or smaller than normal
  • Suddenly developing seizures
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Tremors, shakes and incoherent speech
  • Neglecting personal grooming and appearance
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Unusual smells on clothing, body or breath

Behavioral Signs of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

You may also notice some behavioral changes if your child is abusing alcohol or drugs. Below is a list of some of the things to look out for:

  • Getting in trouble in school and skipping class
  • Neglecting school work and failing classes
  • Complaints from teachers and other students
  • Stealing and borrowing money
  • Clashes with family values and beliefs
  • Pre-occupation with drug and alcohol-related paraphenalia
  • Attempting to hide the smell of drug use by using air fresheners or incense
  • Frequently getting into arguments or fights with other people
  • Getting involved in illegal activities
  • Using eye drops in order to mask the bloodshot eyes

Psychological Signs of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Frequent drug or alcohol abuse can also manifest the following symptoms:

  • Unexplained changes in mood and attitude
  • Appears anxious, paranoid and withdrawn
  • Lacks motivation
  • Period of agitation and hyperactivity

Signs of Drug Dependency and Alcoholism

People who have an addiction will have all of the symptoms of someone who is abusing alcohol or drugs. However, they will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop drinking alcohol or using drugs. Below is a list of some of the signs of drug dependency and alcoholism:

Tolerance - Once a person has developed a tolerance to a drug or alcohol, he or she will have to consume more of it in order to feel the same effect. People who have a tolerance to alcohol can often drink more than other people without showing any signs of intoxication.

Withdrawal - People who are addicted to a drug or alcohol will start to experience withdrawal symptoms after the effects of it wear off. This can include things such as headaches, loss of appetite, irritability and depression. Many people use alcohol or the drug just so that they can avoid the withdrawal symptoms.

In some cases, withdrawal can produce life-threatening symptoms. This can include things such as fever and seizures.

Loss of Control - People may drink or use a drug despite the fact that they have stated that they will stop.

Desiring to Stop Using the Drug but Can't - A person may have a strong desire to stop using alcohol or drugs, but he or she is not able to because of the powerful withdrawal symptoms.

Neglecting Other Activities - People who are preoccupied with alcohol and drugs often find themselves spending less time doing the activities they once loved. This includes things such as hanging out with friends, exercising and pursuing hobbies.

Continuing to Use Drugs Despite the Consequences - A person continues to drink or use drugs despite the fact that it is causing him or her a lot of problems. For example, a person knows that alcohol and drug use is interfering with his or her job, family life and health, but he or she continues to use drugs or alcohol.

Why Inpatient Rehab May Be Necessary For a Child Using Drugs or Alcohol

Most people are not able to overcome addiction without treatment. If your child is abusing drugs or alcohol, he or she needs inpatient treatment. Inpatient rehab is the best option for overcoming any type of drug addiction because it offers a safe environment away from outside influences. Among a staff of skilled and caring professionals, a patient learns about the causes of their addiction and gains the skills to avoid drugs or alcohol for a lifetime.