Is your son or daughter an addict? If you are reading this article, it is a good place to start. The next step is to dedicate some time online or visit a residential treatment centre in to become educated on addiction as a family disease. There are many drug rehabs that can provide information if you are worried your child is suffering from addiction. Drug and alcohol use by a child can be one of a parent’s worst fears. Early detection and intervention are imperative to addressing addiction and creating a new start for recovery for a young person. Some of the warning signs to look for if you suspect your son or daughter is abusing drugs or alcohol include:
1. Physical Changes – A significant change of weight or appetite, deterioration of appearance and personal hygiene, dilated or “pinned” pupils, symptoms of withdrawal such as tremors, shakes and excessive sweating, unusual sleeping patterns. Addicted youth have a tendency to make less effort taking care of themselves as their shift their focus to using mood altering substances. Any combination of these physical symptoms could mean your child has a serious problem with drugs or alcohol.
2. Emotional Changes – Loss of interest with family and friends, dramatic change in friendships, decreased desire to participate in recreational activities, tendency to isolate, chronic defensive or dishonest behavior, irritability, lack of self-esteem, chronically low energy and lack of motivation, signs of paranoia or nervousness, symptoms of depression or other mental health issues, increased protectiveness about mobile devices and online activities, and decreased attendance at school or a drop in grades. Often the emotional cues of substance abuse are the most telling if your child is suffering from addiction.
3. Missing Prescription Medication, Personal Items & Money – Many young people with drug abuse issues will become increasingly desperate to fuel their drug or alcohol habit. Increased requests for medications or medications go missing from medicine cabinets, money from home, or the home of friends and relatives seems to disappear. Increased requests for spending money or excuses about lost money, met with defensive or dramatic behavior can also mean your child suffers from drug or alcohol dependence. It is important if your family is experiencing any of these problems, that they are addressed in an open and honest manner.
Addiction impacts youth as much as any other demographic. Addiction is an illness that affects the entire family. If your child is suffering from drug or alcohol abuse there are many options for you and your child to get help. It takes courage, to address the issues associated with addiction. Resources for substance abuse are available from Victoria, BC and all over Vancouver Island as well as Vancouver, BC. The Family Program at the Discovery Centre located at Cedars offers a 6 day residential program or a 3 day workshop also offered in Vancouver, BC. When all else fails, trusting your intuition and gaining the support of an intervention or addiction specialist in your area can be the first step to healing your family from addiction.