Young adults that suffer from addiction have unique needs. Whether your child is dealing with heroin addiction, ecstasy abuse or another drug problem, they need to get help through outpatient or residential treatment. Equip yourself with knowledge of the warning signs so you can help your child overcome their addiction.
Helping a Young Adult Or Teen with a Drug Problem
Addiction can happen at any age, but it often tends to start when a person is young or in their adolescent years. Teenagers and young adults that suffer from addiction have unique needs. This is why having a team approach to support is so crucial and why entering inpatient drug rehab or an outpatient drug treatment program is the best route to getting sober safely.
The following is a guide to help you determine if your child is struggling with a drug problem or addiction and how to help. As a parent, it can be hard to watch your child struggle with addiction. While you don’t have any control over their addiction, it’s important that your child knows they’re not alone in this and that you’ll love them no matter what. Whether your young adult is dealing with heroin addiction, ecstasy abuseor another drug problem, let them know that you’re there for them and that you care about their well-being.
Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse
There are numerous red flags that can indicate your child may be abusing drugs. From missing prescriptions to extreme weight change, sudden physical, behavioral or habitual changes could be an indicator of drug use. You should also be on the lookout for eye drops and drug paraphernalia like syringes, spoons, pipes or butane lighters.
The following are some common symptoms and warning signs that your teen or young adult may be addicted to drugs. Remember that this is not an exhaustive list.
You know your child. Some are simply more withdrawn and reserved than others. But if they begin to withdraw further or if your extroverted child becomes more introverted, it may be time to intervene and figure out the root issue. Look for the following signs:
- Avoids eye contact
- Begins to steal
- Locks doors
- Goes out late at night
- Disappears for long stretches of time
- Misses work, class and/or extracurricular activities
- Suddenly begins using perfume, incense or air freshener (to hide smell of smoke or drugs)
Shifts In Normal Habits
Young adults and teens typically have a very routine schedule. As such, it can be pretty easy to notice if normal habits drop away or are replaced with abnormal habits. Pay attention to your child’s routine or lack thereof. It can be a good indicator as to what’s going on with them. Look for the following shifts in habits and/or routines:
- Grades drop
- Teachers begin to complain about misbehavior
- Usual friend group changes
- New cravings and/or increased appetite become apparent
- Or, you notice a sudden lack of appetite
- Sleep patterns change
Changes In Physical Appearance
Drug users usually exhibit pretty distinct symptoms. But they also can sometimes hide these physical symptoms quite well. If you suspect that your teenager may be abusing drugs, you need to look closely for these potential symptoms:
- Unexplained bruises, wounds or track marks
- Wearing long sleeves, pants or socks in hot weather
- Sooty fingers or lips
- Disheveled appearance
- Bloodshot eyes
- Constant licking of the lips
- Flushed appearance
- Weird smell on clothing and breath
- Nosebleeds or a runny nose
- Extreme changes in weight
How to Approach the Situation
Understand That You Are Not To Blame
No matter what your child tells you (or screams at you), know that you are not to blame for their drug use. Blaming yourself or the other parent won’t get your child any closer to sobriety. While it’s in no way your fault, you are vital in figuring out a solution. In fact, studies suggest that the most effective treatments for young adults or teens involve the parents and family coming together to find a solution.
Know That Your Child Will Listen To You
We know it can be frustrating and seem hopeless when talking to your teenager. But while you may feel completely ineffective, know that you have the ability to influence your child. Young adults watch you and your behaviors, and while it might not feel like it most of the time, your opinion matters to them. Know that the deep connection between a parent and child can ultimately save your child in the long run.
Put Forth A United Front
When a child needs help, parents need to put aside any differences, opinions or issues they may have, whether married, separated or divorced. This type of effective parental teamwork is essential to getting your teen or young adult to the point of sobriety. Nothing is more important than getting your child healthy, and putting forth a united front can help. When a teen sees their parents working together for the sake of their well-being, that in and of itself can help encourage your child to seek help from a residential treatment program.
Avoid Extreme Stances
It’s understandable to be angry at your child out of fear and concern. But you need to keep that in check and realize that it’s extremely important that you not take harsh or extreme stances that you’ll come to regret later. Harsh reactions, like taking down your child’s bedroom door, not allowing them in the house when they’re high or threatening to kick them out of the home, simply don’t work. In fact, they may just move your child farther from the family and sobriety, virtually diminishing the family influence. Creating a barrier between your family and your young adult will only make your child angry, hurt and less likely to accept help.
Instead of taking extreme stances, set in place guidelines for what is acceptable and what isn’t. Have a serious and calm talk with your child, conveying how much you love them and that these behaviors can’t go on. If they cannot stop taking drugs or overcome their addiction on their own, explain that you’re prepared to take the next step and help your child get professional help through an outpatient or inpatient drug rehab program.
Know When Rehab Is The Best Answer
Knowing when rehab is the best answer is key to helping your young adult or teen with a drug problem. Drug addiction is extremely difficult to overcome and is even more difficult as a teenager. Whether you opt for residential treatment or outpatient rehab, your child will get professional help to lead them in the right direction.
While in rehab, your child will undergo drug detoxification, followed by the creation of a customized treatment plan for recovery, one-on-one counseling sessions and group therapy. Your child will learn coping skills that will help them deal with the pain that caused them to initially seek solace in drugs.
Your child is capable of overcoming this. They can beat addiction and come out the other side with your love, support and some professional help.
Let Daylight Recovery Services Help Your Child On the Path to Sobriety
If your child is ready to enter rehab, Daylight Recovery Services is here to help. Our mission is to help those dealing with addiction through the recovery process, no matter their age. If you need more information or help convincing your teen or young adult to get treatment, reach out to our trained and caring staff today.