12/17/08

Symptoms Of Teen Drug abuse

. 12/17/08

Here are some general tips that may be life saving for your child:

# It is imperative to stay vigilant of your child’s moods, attitudes, behaviors, and school performance.
# Be aware of the telltale warning signs that may appear when your teen is using. Most teen’s behavior changes rapidly once they start getting high. These changes often go unnoticed unless you know what to look for:
> Declining grades, tardiness, and/or truancy.
> “Sneakiness” and demands for privacy regarding possessions, friends, and/or activities.
> Withdrawal from hobbies, sports / recreation, teams, family.
> Noticeable change in behavior, attitude, and energy level.
> Use of incense, room freshener, or perfume to hide smoke or chemical odors.
> New “friends” who seem to be unusual choices or even poor choices compared to previous friends.
> Reluctance to have parents meet new friends.
> Overheard conversations with friends that seem to be whispered or riddled with “code” and are hard to understand. The same applies to text messaging.
> Attire and overall grooming deteriorates and concern about appearance fades. New clothes may even highlight drug use or portray prominent figures in the drug culture.
> Increase need and requests for money, with suspicious reasons and/or defensive responses when questioned about the increased spending.
> Hidden paraphernalia, such as pipes and rolling papers.
> Appearance (or disappearance) of household products, auto fuels, paint products, etc that contain inhalants. Examples include:
* hairspray, nail polish, glue, spray paints or marker pens, nitrogen cartridges, whipped cream cans or dispensers, correction fluid (white out), paper bags and rags.
> Evidence of eye drops used to mask bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils.
> Missing prescription drugs.
> Changes in diet or eating patterns that include carbohydrate and sugar-loaded binge eating, particularly when parents are not present. On the other end of the continuum, changes may include significantly reduced food intake and noticeable weight loss (with little increase in exercise), and significant sleep deprivation.

Few parents enjoy policing their children’s lives. But the earlier you identify and address the problem, the more effective treatment will be and the more likely it is that the treatment will produce lasting outcomes. It is important that you seek advice from your family physician, a psychologist, clergy, or guidance counselor BEFORE discussing your concerns with your teen. With a few pointers and some backup resources in the wings, your intervention will have a significantly greater chance of succeeding. Most of all, be sure to “practice what you preach.” If your own behavior contradicts your expectations of your child, the road ahead will most likely be quite rocky and possibly even tragic. The good news is that helpful resources for your child and entire family are available at your fingertips. Reach out and expand your knowledge and readily available resources. You CAN avoid train wrecks and make a significant difference in the path pursued by your at-risk child.

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