If you are a concerned parent who suspects your child is abusing drugs or alcohol, it may be time to step forward and seek intervention. There are many government sponsored outreach programs and substance abuse counseling and rehabilitation centers available that can help your child overcome his or her addiction. However, you will first need to determine that your child does indeed have a substance abuse problem. Unfortunately, many teenagers are reluctant to openly discuss this with their parents or guardians, and some may even be in denial, especially during the early stages of drug and alcohol abuse. As a concerned parent, you need to be alerted to any "red flags". To help you out, here are a few warning signs that may indicate your child has a problem with drugs or alcohol:
1. Mood Swings or Personality and Behavior Changes
If your teenager suddenly has begun to show a change in behavior, or seems moody for no apparent reason, this could be an early sign of substance abuse. While there may be other reasons for this abrupt change in behavior, it is worth investigating. Behavioral changes may include withdrawing from social activities and friends, depression and feelings of hopelessness, or general moodiness. Temper flare ups and irritability are other signs of substance abuse.
2. Suddenly Stealing Money From Household Members
If your child has never stolen before and suddenly has begun to take money or valuable items from the house, look at this as a possible red flag danger sign. Substance abusers will often steal to support their habit. Rather than dismiss this behavior as a "phase", it's best to learn the reason behind this before it spirals out of control.
3. Changes in Appearance or Physical Condition
Has your teen begun to lose weight or have a poor appetite? Do his or her eyes look bloodshot? Has your child begun to exhibit poor hygiene habits? Does he or she seem drowsy or incoherent at times? All of these signs could indicate a drug or alcohol problem.
While all of the above are possible indicators that your teenager has begun abusing drugs or alcohol, there this is one clear-cut sign that should leave no doubt in your mind. If you find any unusual type of drug paraphernalia in your child's room or in his or her possession, intervention should be taken at once. Talk with your child, then seek treatment or counseling.
Contact professionals like Ascent Behavioral Health Services for more information.