A person who has first tried marijuana or any pill cannot be immediately considered a drug addict. Drug addiction develops over a period of time: some months or a year. Until the child starts using drugs regularly, they are not yet sick – so far they are experimenting. At this point, you can still protect your child from addiction – sometimes it is enough just to show interest, talk about the influence of the drug, and be supportive to your child. If you miss the time, the experimental period can quickly turn into a disease. The main question is how to understand at this stage that the child has started taking drugs.
A list of “signs of drug addiction” can now be found in many media outlets. However, most of these methods belong to a fairly late phase of dependence. And such symptoms as, example, inadequate arousal or inhibition, wide or narrow pupils regardless of lighting, impaired speech and movement, decreased pain sensitivity, etc. are the signs that the teen has already strongly started. A consultation at a family rehab may help shed a lot of light on teen drug addiction and help your children before they develop an addiction. However, you should know the first red flags.
Signs of drug use in the early stages
- Sudden mood swings have nothing to do with the reality around your child. For example, fun and energy are quickly replaced by apathy and indifference. If these cycles are not about success or failure in school or with friends, you should pay additional attention.
- Changing the rhythm of sleep: the child during the day may be drowsy, lethargic, slow, and in the evening, coming from a walk, shows energy, desire to do something, and does not fall asleep on time. You can see that they are constantly working on the computer all night, playing the guitar, listening to music, and the next day they are sleepy and slow again.
- Changes in appetite and eating habits, the child’s rhythm of food changes: they can eat nothing for days without suffering from hunger, and suddenly, coming from a walk, eat half a fridge.
These are physiological changes in the child’s body that you can easily detect. Of course, each individual symptom in itself may mean nothing and may occur in any child due to some circumstances. But if you do not find in these circumstances anything that could change the behavior or well-being of your child, and if these signs are few, you should sound the alarm.
In addition, attentive parents should be concerned about other signs. However, sometimes they are considered “quite normal behavior for a teenager.” Here they are:
- The growing secrecy of the child (perhaps without deteriorating relations with parents). It is often accompanied by an increase and increase in the time of “festivities”, when the child leaves home at the time he used to spend in the family or at school.
- Decreased school performance.
- The increase in financial demands: young people are actively looking for ways to get more pocket money, asking for money in ever-increasing quantities (if money begins to disappear from parental wallets or valuables from home – this is the red flag).
- The child’s mood is a very important sign – it changes for unknown reasons, very quickly and often does not correspond to the situation: good-naturedness and lethargy in a scandal or, conversely, irritability in a calm situation.
- Finally, you may notice traces of injections along the veins of your child’s hands. The specialists from family rehab centers advise not to hesitate to ask directly and thoroughly about all the incomprehensible and disturbing actions and words of your child. There are too many drugs around now to reassure ourselves with considerations such as “it happens to everyone” and “people may have secrets.” Drugs are frequently sold even in schools. It is impossible to completely rule out that a child will not come into contact with them.
Signs of drug use in later stages
According to family rehab facilities, this is the list of the symptoms that can be observed in teens who take drugs for a long time:
- You see that your child’s appearance and behavior to some extent resemble a state of intoxication but can’t smell the alcohol.
- Change of consciousness: distortion, blackout.
- Mood swings: causeless fun, laughter, talkativeness, malice, aggression, which are clearly not relevant to the situation.
- Change in motor activity; increased gestures, excessive movements, restlessness or immobility, lethargy, relaxation, desire for rest (regardless of the situation).
- Change in the coordination of movements; their smoothness, speed, proportionality (sweeping, sharpness, inaccuracy), instability when walking, swaying of the torso even in a sitting position (especially obvious with closed eyes), and impaired handwriting.
- Discoloration of the skin: pallor of the face and skin or, conversely, redness of the face and upper torso.
- Shine in the eyes.
- Severely narrowed or greatly dilated pupils that do not respond to light.
- Change in salivation: increased salivation or, conversely, dry mouth, dry lips, hoarseness.
- Change of language: its acceleration, emphasized expressiveness, or slowness, the indistinctness of speech.
What to do if you suspect your child of drug use?
Most parents whose children start using drugs are faced with the question – of what to do and how to behave in this situation? Is it necessary to do something if the child has tried it once?
Most family counseling doctors are convinced that such experiments cannot be ignored. So, what should be your actions?
First and foremost, you need to talk openly with your child. In this intimate conversation, you need to find out why, when, and under what circumstances your child started using drugs. Also, ask them about their own situation and what they intend to do next.
This conversation is very difficult – both for you and your child – so it is very important that you behave properly. Do not shout and do not blame. Try to behave calmly and businesslike. Tell openly and honestly that you are very worried about your child’s future.
It is also necessary to define a strategy for solving the problem. Make a research on types of therapy for families or find an inpatient family rehabilitation center, where you could stay with your child and provide support. The process of getting rid of drug addiction is long and throughout the treatment process. Your child needs psychological support, including yours.
Dealing with the legal implications
Drug abuse is not just damaging to mental and physical health. It can also result in legal charges and impact legal cases that are not directly linked to substance abuse. If your child is arrested on suspicion of taking or selling illegal drugs, or you have a relative who is trying to reverse an indefinite immediate threat license suspension or apply for a hardship license, the board of appeal will evaluate the risk of recidivism, which analyzes the risk of relapse. When dealing with the legal consequences of any charges that involve alcohol or drug abuse, it’s essential to seek expert advice. Find lawyers who have experience and expertise in the relevant field.