The teenage years can be awkward and difficult for many kids. Too often, a good kid may fall in with the wrong crowd at school and begin experimenting with substances like drugs or alcohol. In a 2015 survey, almost 36% of teenagers reported having tried marijuana and nearly 13% reported abusing prescription drugs.
If you suspect your son may be in this situation, it can be difficult to rationally evaluate the situation. Below are a few signs to be on the lookout for. Often, if you spot a few of these signs together, it’s possible that something may be wrong.
Here’s what you need to know:
Habitual Changes That May Indicate Your Son is Using Drugs
Changes to your son’s normal habits may not be obvious at first, or they may be easy to explain as a one-off event.
However, if your son is using drugs, you may notice changes to his appetite, a drop in his grades at school, or complaints from teachers about his behavior.
Changes in Behavior That May Indicate Your Son is Using Drugs
In general, teenagers aren’t known for having sunny dispositions. As you probably know very well, they can be prone to emotional outbursts, spend time isolated from family, and avoid speaking about details of their life.
So then how can you use your son’s behavior to gauge whether he’s using drugs?
Use his regular behavior as a comparison point. If your son is going out until late at night, disappearing for long periods of time, missing class or work, or suddenly has a new group of friends, something may be up.
Changes in Physical Appearance That May Indicate Your Son is Using Drugs
Any physical signs may differ depending on which drug your son is using.
In general, be on the lookout for signs like bloodshot eyes, unexplained bruises or wounds, decreased personal hygiene, frequent nosebleeds, or shaking. He may also experience weight loss as a result of a decreased appetite.
Subtle Changes That May Indicate Your Son is Using Drugs
Not all indications of drug use are obvious. Be on the lookout for more subtle giveaways or items that have mysteriously appeared or disappeared around the house.
Think along the lines of drug paraphernalia such as syringes, rolling papers, eye drops, etc. You may also notice prescription medication that has gone missing or dents that have suddenly appeared in the family car without explanation.
What to Do if You Think Your Son is Using Drugs
If you think your son is using drugs, try to talk to him about it as soon as possible. Don’t accuse him of anything right off the bat – that’s sure to end poorly. Instead, ask questions and give him the opportunity to explain the situation. If you’re not sure how to approach the conversation, take a look at NIDA’s Family Checkup tool for tips.
If your son is addicted to drugs, he’ll likely need professional help to move forward. Depending on what the substance is, he might need to detox with the assistance of a doctor. Following that, he may need a treatment program.
Having a loved one with a drug problem is never easy, especially when that person is a teenager. The good news is that having a caring parent like you can help make his journey to recovery a bit easier.
Any Length Retreat specializes in using Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Steps to help men and their families recover from addiction. Learn more about our program by giving us a call at (512) 598-9968.