Tips for Parents: Signs Your Child May Be Using Drugs or Alcohol

In a perfect world our children would get good grades, respect us at all times, and never ever use drugs. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol are prevalent in our society today. We cannot shelter them from all the harmful things in life so we must become educated on the signs and symptoms. This will allow us, as parents, to educate our children and intervene before things go from bad to worse.
Most people are aware of the physical signs of drug and alcohol use, but often times, the mental and behavioral symptoms go unnoticed. Some of the most common physical signs of drug use are losing/gaining weight, too much/too little sleep, red eyes, intense hunger or lack of appetite, decrease in energy, slurred speech, a staggering gait, increased cough and colds, and dilated pupils. It is the mental and behavioral changes in a child that could mean many different things, so asking the right questions is key. There could be memory loss, inability to concentrate, irritability, withdrawing from family and friends, dishonesty, grades declining, and secretiveness. Some of these mental and behavioral signs could mean other things as well, such as, being bullied or picked on, depression, anxiety, or self-esteem problems. If you are beginning to see a combination of the physical, mental and behavioral symptoms in your child, start asking questions.
Do not yell, accuse, or demand answers. Just talk calmly and ask about the recent changes you have noticed. You would rather your child get defensive and angry for asking (and they will), then to stick your head in the sand, only to find out later that they are using drugs and you now have to live with the guilt of not confronting them. If you do have a strong suspicion of your child using drugs or alcohol, intervene and get them the help they need before it escalates to more serious consequences and addiction.
It is difficult to face the fact that our child needs treatment. Cenikor Foundation is dedicated to providing quality behavioral health care services to the communities we serve through a continuum of care for adults and adolescents. If you have a loved one needs help and is struggling with an addiction, call us at 888-236-4567 or visit us online at to learn about our programs.

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