Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) reveals over 20 million people in the US are struggling with substance abuse disorder. One in four adolescents has abused drugs in the last 30 days according to statistics by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. As shocking as these figures are, it’s even more depressing when your own child is involved. You may feel angry and hopeless as a parent. It can feel as if you have completely lost your child to drugs.
If you are a parent of an addicted young adult, you do not have to keep blaming yourself. While you are looking for ways to pull your loved one out of addiction, you need to care for yourself as well. You need all the emotional strength possible to stay on top of the situation and effectively help your child.
Be Sure of the Signs and Symptoms
If your child suddenly starts asking for money without a reasonable explanation, it’s a good idea to ask some questions. Some teenagers may resort to stealing from your home or wallet to meet their drug demands. At the same time, you have to be able to distinguish usual teenage moodiness from signs of substance abuse or addiction to avoid confusion. To be certain your child has been abusing drugs, here are other possible signs to look out for:
- Red eyes, weight loss or gain, and lack of drive towards productive activities
- Significant drops in academic performance
- Sudden withdrawal from family members
- Poor grooming
- Slurred speech and lack of coordination
Consider Drug Testing and Treatment
After suspecting your child of drug abuse, drug testing him or her at home might seem like the next step to take. This is probably not the best way to address the issue due to its limitations which you might be unaware of. For instance, the potential for false-positives or false-negatives is high with home drug testing. Drug testing could be useful as part of a comprehensive assessment for substance use or mental health disorders. Therefore, if it becomes necessary to test your teen for drugs, do it with their consent in line with the policies of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Also, ensure you are working with a certified professional.
Consider Getting Support for Yourself
Dealing with a child addicted to drugs can easily feel overwhelming. This is why you need to find the necessary support to cope with the feelings of desperation and hopelessness. Find and attend a Nar-Anon family group within your city or out-of-state. Here you will find a safe space to share your fears with others who are going through similar challenges. The Nar-Anon family group is a fellowship that supports individuals who are affected by the addiction of their loved ones. The objective is to help family and friends to understand they cannot control the addiction or life of their loved one. It is based on the understanding of addiction as a disease. You will learn and practice self-care as you can only help others when your well-being is guaranteed.
Finding out about your child’s substance abuse should not lead you to panic and desperation. Instead, seek help by talking to an addiction professional. At Recreate Life Counseling, we focus on helping people addicted to drugs and alcohol get their lives back. Our individualized addiction treatment programs will ensure a tailored approach towards getting your loved oned started on the path to full recovery.
If you wish to know more about how our therapies and addiction treatment programs work, get in touch with the admission team via our confidential addiction treatment helpline.