There is no doubt that being a parent is a difficult, albeit incredibly rewarding job. The important thing to remember is that while there may always be some room for improvement, no one is absolutely perfect in working toward the main goal of parenting: raising a healthy, well-adjusted and intelligent child who can smoothly move forward into the independence of adulthood. There may be many challenges and difficulties along the way, but it is one’s patience, persistence and dedication that brings about the desired results. This does mean that one will need to consider the fact that their child may not only be exposed to drugs at some point in their young life, they may also turn to drug use and even fall into drug abuse or addiction. No one wants to imagine what this would be like, but it helps to know what to do, should this happen.
Knowing If Drug Use, Abuse or Addiction is Occurring
Major changes in a teenager’s behavior can indicate that drug use, abuse or addiction may be occurring. However, the fact is that there are some normal changes in behavior that occur during the teenage years, including changes in appearance, withdrawal from family life, increased argumentative behavior and even emotional ups and downs. Needless to say, while any teenager may be offended when their parent suggests they may be using drug substances, a drug-using teenager who is struggling through more than just the normal, and difficult changes of this period of their life can be so thoroughly and deeply offended that they pull back from the very individuals they most need help and support from. It is therefore important to look more deeply, for things such as:
● Big changes in friends
● Complete carelessness in personal hygiene and grooming
● Sudden decline in academic attendance and performance
● Loss of interest in formerly favored activities
● Having trouble in school
● Legal problems
● Sudden and dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
● Deteriorating relationships with family members and friends
● Physical changes such as red, puffy eyes, unusual smells on the skin and clothes, needle marks in the arms and more
● Secretive behavior
Parents can usually sense when something is going on with their child. It may be that their child is just experiencing normal adolescent difficulties, but it won’t hurt to dig deeper and check. If you find that your child exhibits many of the above signs for drug use, abuse or addiction, it is important to have a doctor screen them for drug use as soon as possible. They will need help and support in order to resolve these problems, and waiting for any length of time, for any reason, can be incredibly dangerous to their health and life.
Doctor Screening for Drug Use
No matter how good your relationship is with your child, there is a very good chance that they will vehemently deny their drug use problems to you if you ask about them. In this case, you can take them to a doctor who will screen for signs of drug use by asking your child questions regarding alcohol and drugs, as well as associated risk behaviors, such as driving under the influence of alcohol. He may also choose to do a blood or urine test in order to determine the type and quantity of drugs in the system. This can help the doctor recommend a course of treatment as necessary. If your child still refuses to admit that he has a drug problem or that he needs help, you may want to consider getting more help for both them and you through a professional interventionist or drug addiction counselor. It may take time, patience and a lot of hard work to help your child step onto and walk the path to full recovery, but their health and future are well worth it.