Finding out that your child is struggling with substance abuse is difficult and heartbreaking. Addicted teens and young adults exhibit many signs and symptoms; some may also indicate mental illness like anxiety or depression.
In a lot of cases, parents won’t know their children are spiraling down to alcoholism or addiction until it’s too late. Keep an eye out for your kids and ensure they’re not going down that harrowing path of substance abuse by looking for the signs listed below.
Signs That A Teenager Is Addicted or an Alcoholic
Teen alcohol abuse and drug addiction are serious problems for any parent. According to a Santa Rosa Beach recovery center, these indicators will help you determine if your child is suffering from addiction:
- Personality, Behavior, and Mood Changes
Teen addiction is often linked to mental health problems, and some mental health problems also lead to addiction. It doesn’t help that mental health problems, addiction, and alcoholism share similar symptoms, making it difficult to determine which caused which.
Have their behaviors changed recently? How do they behave after a night with friends? Do they seem outgoing and full of laughter? Are they unusually clumsy, falling into furniture, stepping into walls, tripping over their own feet, and knocking things over? Do they become withdrawn, moody, and slack-eyed in the evening? Are they unable to walk or feel queasy? If most of the answers to these questions are yes, then your child certainly needs help.
- Unaccountable Money
Losing or gaining money through unspecified means may also indicate an addiction. Many drug addicts become drug dealers and return home with unidentified income sources. Some children steal money from their siblings and parents because they are using up their money. Be wary of their lies; they may claim they’re only keeping money for a friend or have lost the money you gave them. Watch out for missing jewelry, game consoles, gadgets, and unusual credit card transactions.
- Missing Prescription Drugs
Your child may search and steal prescription drugs from your home, a friend’s home, and other places with a medicine cabinet. They know that painkillers or ADHD medications can get them high.
- Changes In Health And Appearance
Instead of focusing on their physical health, addicted teens may focus all their attention on getting more drugs. They may appear less clean or constantly tired due to insufficient sleep. They may smell like alcohol or cigarettes or have more body odor if they take fewer showers or baths. They may also lose weight because they’re eating less.
You may also notice bruises, abrasions, or nosebleeds. Their eyes may look more dilated, red, and heavy-lidded, or are having difficulties focusing.
- Friendship Changes
Another sign of addiction is a change in your child’s set of friends. Teen alcohol abuse and addiction can lead to two changes in your friend’s friends: new friends may replace some of their old friends, or your child may have a new set of friends. They may also be more secretive about their phones in both scenarios.
- Dramatic Changes in School Attendance & Grades
Addiction can also change your child’s behavior and performance at school. Unfortunately, many schools are unequipped to recognize the signs of addiction. Tardiness, poor attendance, and dropping grades clearly show that a teen is having some personal issues or, worse, an alcoholic or addicted.
Talk to the school directly; don’t rely on automated messages your child can delete when you come home from work.
Tips for Parents of Children Suffering from Addiction
You can still help your child get better. Try to remain calm and don’t lose control. Show them how much you love them, and don’t blame yourself for what has happened. Your response makes a huge difference to their recovery.
If you’re already in this most difficult situation, here are some tips that could help you:
- Strengthen your relationship and communication with your child.
Assertive and open communication can help strengthen and rebuild your relationship with your child. Active listening and asking questions will help build a connection and spark a great conversation. Use open-ended, non-judgmental questions to help you get to know your child better and let them freely share their fears, hopes, and concerns.
Don’t let your emotions take over; step out of the room or conversation if you need to. But always return to the conversation in a reasonable amount of time.
- Create guidelines.
Work with your child to create guidelines that work for both of you. This gives everyone a chance to decide on the consequences of their actions before they are finalized.
Although it is impossible to predict all situations, following guidelines reduces the likelihood of negative emotional reactions that could lead to undesirable outcomes.
- Encourage positive behavior and treatment.
Focusing on their mistakes and poor decisions will make your teen less confident, reduce their self-esteem, and diminish their sense of power, prompting them to return to drugs or alcohol.
Encourage positive behaviors instead. Positive encouragement and optimism help build a sense of teamwork while reducing negativity and conflict. This strategy will help your child develop new ways to deal with stress, engage in new activities, build better relationships, and prepare them for new challenges.
- Ask family and professionals for help.
Dealing with substance abuse and addiction will be easier if you seek help from others. Help from professionals and family members will help you and your child stay calm, gain new perspectives, and make good decisions about the future.
Teen addiction and alcoholism are difficult to tackle. Some tell-tale signs are changes in their performance in school, mood, behavior, appearance, and friend groups. You might also notice more missing prescription drugs or unaccountable income.
Strengthen your relationship and communication, create guidelines, and encourage positive behaviors. Finally, always ask for help from family and professionals for better outcomes.