In a world full of late work nights and constant running to and from sports practices and piano rehearsals, it’s easy to assume our children and their peers are on their best behavior.
However, sometimes our teens may get a hold of substances along the way that become dangerous and addictive, and without even realizing it, we look right past the signs and symptoms.
Often these substances are stimulants used to remain focused, but can quickly turn addictive and harmful.
You’re probably asking yourself, “how could I possibly miss the tell-tale signs of substance misuse in my own child?” Well, with busy schedules, a lot of the signs could be mistaken as a sleep-deprived, overworked, moody teen.
Knowing the signs and being on the lookout for them can help provide the proper treatment or prevention of substance misuse.
Physical signs may include a lack of care about personal hygiene or appearance, avoiding eye contact, nosebleeds or chronic runny nose, burns on fingers, sores or spots around the mouth, unexplained weight loss, frequent sickness, red-rimmed eyes, bloodshot, or glassy eyes, and/or constricted or dilated pupils.
Emotional signs may include depression, withdrawal, fatigue, hostility, being uncooperative, agitation, irritability, periods of drowsiness or erratic behavior, paranoia, and/or deceit.
Behavioral signs may include: decreased interest in hobbies, change in grades or motivation, change in eating and sleeping patterns, avoiding eye contact, increase in chewing gum or using breath mints, hiding their phone, lack of money with no tangible purchases, stealing money, new friends, change in friends, and/or deteriorating relationships with family members.
Being a parent is scary. From the moment your child enters the world, all you can do is hope they stay safe and make good decisions.
Studies show that teens who learn about the risks of substance misuse from their parents are 50% less likely to become misusers than those who do not. Being there for your child to have an open discussion is more beneficial in accomplishing this than confronting the issue head on.
Rather than asking your child “are you doing drugs?”, just let them know you are here for them to talk about the subject and inform them of the risks. If your child is misusing, you don’t want them to feel attacked, and if they aren’t misusing, you don’t want them to get hurt by this question and worry they’re doing something wrong.
If your child is using stimulants to help remain focused, there are alternatives that may be safer and have less risks. For example, help them find a quiet place to study and encourage healthy eating, frequent exercise, and better sleep patterns. These options can help improve focus and give you peace of mind that your child is staying safe.
For more information, check out our video including local testimonies and inspiring stories.