If you believe that your child is addicted to drugs or alcohol, please call New Life House right away at 888-357-7577 or email us at [email protected]. We can help you to find all the information you need in order to help your child begin the road to recovery.
It can sometimes be difficult to discern whether or not addiction is a problem with a child, especially during the teenage years. There can be certain warning signs, but some of them could also be chalked up to just being a teenager as well. Every child and situation will be different, so there is no overarching surefire method to determine drug use or addiction beyond direct admission or being caught red-handed. However, there are some specific things to look out for that can assist parents in determining the truth of their situation.
1. Drastic Changes in Mood or Outlook
While changes in worldview and attitude toward others is a somewhat typical part of being a teenager, drugs and alcohol can have a dramatic effect on the way that adolescents see their lives and the world around them. Most commonly, depression is associated with addiction and can be a key factor in continuing the addiction. Different drugs will have different mental effects, so it can be helpful to be wary of over cautiousness looking for depression but ignoring constant euphoria.
2. Sudden Changes in Friends
Often times, teens will find new groups of friends that share the affinity for drug abuse while leaving behind previous friends who may not be as interested in drugs and the activities that go along with them. If a parent notices that their child has a totally new group of friends seemingly out of nowhere, and the child is adamantly opposed to their parents meeting these new friends, it could be a sign that this new group is enabling drug abuse.
3. Consistent Dishonesty
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if a child is repeatedly being caught in dishonesty, they are probably getting away with at least one or more other lies that parents may not know about yet. Lies can start relatively small, but they can grow exponentially. If parents are not equipped to handle dishonesty effectively, it can get out of control and become a child’s favorite way to get past the rules and boundaries set for them.
4. Items or Money Disappearing Randomly
If drug abuse or addiction is a part of a child’s life, they will need to fund their habit somehow. If this is not done through an allowance or a job of their own, many adolescents will easily resort to stealing valuables, money, or even just random items from around the house in order to gain the cash they need to get their fix. It may start with small things that a child thinks will not be noticed when they are gone such as DVD’s or things from their own room with any perceived value, but it can progress quickly to jewelry, cash, and credit cards.
5. Blatant Defiance and Anger
Most addicts and teenagers alike will react with anger when boundaries are set which they don’t like. When a teenager is an addict, the amplitude of this anger can get very nasty very quickly. An addicted child will not like the decisions made by their parents who just want to help them, and they can lash out with irrational and extreme behavior when faced with situations they don’t care for, and they tend to flat out ignore these boundaries at times as well.
When parents look at the warning signs and realize that their child is an addict, it can feel helpless and terrifying. As scary as it may be, there are many great resources for parents and their children to get help with addiction. Al-Anon is a worldwide organization that helps loved ones of addicts regain control and sanity in their lives, and it is free and accessible to everyone.
If you believe that your child is an addict and you don’t know what steps to take, call New Life House immediately at 888-357-7577 or email us at [email protected]. We would love to answer any questions you have and help you to make the right decision for your family to begin recovering.