Few individuals are unaware of the threat that drug substances currently pose to people all across our nation. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, over twenty-three million Americans suffer from drug abuse and addiction and need rehabilitation treatment services. Regardless of this fact, few individuals actually consider that drug abuse or addiction can occur to them or someone they love. It can be especially difficult for a parent to come to terms with the fact that their child may be abusing or addicted to drug substances. In fact, some parents struggle so entirely with the idea that the child they carefully and lovingly raised from infancy would even consider turning to drug use that they may not be able to even recognize it when it is occurring. However, an inability to recognize drug use, abuse or addiction in one’s child leads to an inability to take action and resolve it, and thereby save their child’s life.
Signs That Your Kid Needs Rehab
There is no doubt that children work through many difficult emotions and behaviors throughout their childhood and adolescence that can test even the most patient of parents. However, there is a marked difference between normal, healthy emotions and behaviors and those emotions and behaviors that result from drug use. Understanding the signs of drug use, abuse and addiction can allow one to take the action needed to get their child into rehab. Following are ten signs to look for, and that indicate a child is suffering from drug use, abuse or addiction and needs rehab:
1. Loss of interest, apathy and complacency. This change is very obvious in an individual who is normally quite active physically and socially, as they suddenly and inexplicably lose interest in the hobbies, talents and skills they once enjoyed. They may give poor excuses for why these things are no longer important to them, but the truth is that it is their focus on drugs that makes them disinterested in anything else.
2. Physical deterioration. A drug user experiences physical deterioration in the form of bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, constant sniffling, itching, injection marks, puffy face, unusual skin color and much more. While many drug users attempt to mask these signs of physical deterioration, they are nonetheless visibly there.
3. Dramatic physical changes. Drug use can alter an individual’s eating habits, resulting in sudden and dramatic weight loss or gain. The individual also takes less pride in their appearance and may appear disheveled, dirty and generally unkempt.
4. Drug paraphernalia. Most drug substances require some tool in order to be used, and despite the individual’s desire to keep their drug use a secret, these items are usually easily detected if looked for. Some drug paraphernalia include cigarette wrapping papers, pipes, syringes, lighters, burnt spoons, bongs, razor blades and cutting surfaces like mirrors or glass.
5. Sudden mood swings. Some individuals experience sudden mood swings as a natural part of life, and this will have to be taken into consideration when checking for signs of drug use, abuse or addiction. Drugs can cause a normally calm individual to become extremely hyper, and a normally happy individual to become depressed. It can also happen that an individual is happily laughing about something and then inexplicably becomes ferociously angry or upset for no apparent reason.
6. Secretive and solitary behavior. Not only is a drug addict likely to try and hide their drug use, they simply don’t feel like being with others as the only thing they really care about is drug use. The individual may spend a lot of time in their room behind a locked door and take great pains to keep others out.
7. Big changes in what was once normal. An individual who is normally responsible and punctual can become very irresponsible and undependable while under the influence of drugs. An individual who is normally healthy and active can become constantly ill and inactive while under the influence of drugs. Whatever was once their normal operating behavior, this can change completely when they are influenced by drug substances.
8. Erratic and risky behavior. A drug user often participates in erratic and risky behaviors, including driving while under the influence, engaging in unprotected sex, experimenting with poly-drug use and much more. Any behavior that is not typical of the individual may be a sign of drug use.
9. Defensiveness and sensitivity about drug-related communications. An individual who is struggling with drug use, abuse or addiction is likely aware of the fact that they don’t have as much control over their drug habits as they would like to. This can cause them to want to hide their drug problems, and they may be defensive or highly sensitive about them.
10. Changes in sleep habits. Drug use can wreak havoc on an individual’s normal sleep cycles, causing them to experience either an increase or decrease in amount and quality of sleep. They may be exhausted but unable to fall asleep easily or stay asleep for long enough, or they may appear to stay up for many days in a row before crashing for many days in a row.
If your child exhibits any of the signs of drug use, abuse or addiction, it is vital to get them help as quickly as possible. Their life is on the line, and there is no time to waste.