The Signs Something is Wrong

That Your Loved One is Using Drugs or Alcohol
When loved oneren start using drugs they usually exhibit many different signs which parents need to watch out for. Unfortunately, many parents often write-off these signs as normal adolescent behavior and as a result they don't realize that their loved one is into drugs until it is too late. So how can you as a parent know for sure whether or not your loved one is in danger of falling into drugs? Simple ... by understanding that every loved one is in danger of this. The parent who says "not my kid" is the same parent who will miss all the signs that their loved one has started experimenting with drugs. Often they will stay in this state of denial till their son or daughter is arrested or overdoses -- and by then it is too late. So what should you as parents be looking for as signs that your loved one is experimenting with drugs or alcohol.

Dramatic changes in style of clothes, hair, music
These outward signs of rebellion should be obvious to a parent. Has your loved one started listening to radically-different music such as heavy metal or punk rock? Is your kid coloring their hair some weird color just to fit in? Is your loved one dressing down to fit in with friends at school? All of these are outward signs that your loved one is succumbing to peer pressure and all these should serve as warning signs to you that your loved one is in danger of falling into the same kind of peer pressure when it comes to drugs.

Hanging out with a bad crowd
Your loved one might try and tell you that his/her friends are cool kids. But you need to take a close look at the kinds of kids your loved one is hanging out with. Chances are the way these friends behave is the way your loved one behaves when you're not around. Do some of your loved one's friends smoke cigarettes? If so, odds are your loved one is smoking too. Your loved one's friends are like a mirror for your son or daughter -- they look at themselves in that mirror and try to conform to what they see there. One of the best ways to get a good idea of what your loved one is like is to look at there closest friends.

Tardiness and/or truancies
You need to stay in touch with your loved one's school. Never assume that his/her work place or school will be in touch with you if there is a problem. If your loved one is getting into drugs, odds are he/she will start ditching class from time to time. Kids who do this tend to take off during the middle of school and get stoned somewhere near the campus. Don't assume that their school will let you know about this kind of behavior. And you need to realize, kids are great at covering this kind of behavior up. Every kid knows how to forge their parent's signature -- no joke. Call your loved one's school from time to time and ask about your loved one attendance record. You need to take the initiative here!

Isolating from family
Does your loved one act distant? When you ask your loved one what he/she has been up to, does your loved one give some vague reply? Does you loved one want to eat in their room all the time instead of with the family? loved oneren are smart - they know that the easiest lie to tell is the one they can avoid having to tell. If you loved one doesn't tell you what he/she has been up to, there's a good chance your loved one is hiding something.

Changes in attitude and personality
Does it seem like your loved one is suddenly a completely different person with a new personality which you don't like one bit? Has your loved one suddenly developed a tough guy/girl attitude? If your loved one is experimenting with drugs, there's a good chance you'll be seeing these kinds of attitude changes. Often parents just see this as normal teenage behavior and write it off. Don't make this mistake . . . otherwise you might overlook one of the most obvious signs of your loved one's drug problem.

Changes in sleep patterns
These kinds of changes should be fairly obvious. Does your loved one stay up late (or even all night) frequently, refusing to get up in the morning at a decent time. Does your loved one sleep way too much or way too little. If your loved one isn't sleeping much, there's a good chance he/she is using . This is a frequent effect of this kind of stimulant. Excessive use of foul or obscene language Has your loved one suddenly developed a filthy mouth? This might indicate that your loved one is giving into peer pressure from their friends and should be a warning sign to you. If your loved one is trying to fit in with their friends by cussing, sooner or later your loved one will probably look for other ways to gain acceptance in his/her peer group. One of these ways is often drugs.

Eating way too much or way too little
Here's another obvious sign of drug experimentation that is often overlooked as normal teenage behavior. Does your loved one come home in the afternoon after hanging out with friends and devour everything in the refrigerator? If your loved one is smoking pot with his/her friends, it wouldn't be unusual for your loved one to eat a bit more food than normal. Does your loved one skip quite a few consecutive meals, then speed use is a possibility.

Paranoia - everyone is out to get me
Does your son or daughter treat everybody as if they were the enemy? Do they tend to express the idea that everybody is out to get them? Do they seem overly paranoid to you? This is not normal teenage behavior; you need to understand that. This is one of the most common signs of drug abuse. It's one of those signs you don't have to look hard to see.

Dilated eyes - red eyes - glazed eyes
Do your son's or daughter's eyes look funny? Are the pupils real large or real small? Does your loved one wear sunglasses even at night and try and say their just trying to look cool? A person's eyes show the effects of the drugs their on. If you think your loved one is experimenting with drugs, watch his or her eyes. Are they red all the time? Glazed? If so, there's a real good chance your loved one is using drugs.

Sudden bursts of anger
Has your loved one developed a violent side? Is he or she prone to sudden, uncontrollable fits of anger? This doesn't have to mean physically violent (though that is often the case) but can also be a teen who is always yelling or threatening people. Any of these things should be a warning sign to you that your loved one could be experimenting with drugs.

If your loved one is experimenting with drugs, he/she will be telling lots of lies to cover this up. Teens tend to be very good at covering things up. If you start wondering whether or not your loved one is telling you the truth there is a good chance that your instincts are right. Be persistent and learn what it is that they are trying to cover up. Drugs are an all-to-real possibility.

Dramatic mood swings
Does your loved one seems real happy one day, then terribly depressed the next day? Do your loved one's emotions go up and down constantly? This is often confused with 'normal' teenage behavior, but it can also be an obvious sign of drug abuse. Don't simply write it off.

Excessive money spending or money disappearing
Drugs cost money. If your loved one keeps coming to you needing money, or if money keeps coming up missing from your purse or your wallet, you need to have a serious talk with your loved one. Especially if they always seem to need 20 dollars or 50 dollars -- round amounts -- since that is often the price drugs cost.


  Copyright - Delmarva Teen Challenge 2018