Often times, adolescents and young men will go to great lengths to conceal their drug use and they are often very skilled in doing so. As parents, we all want to believe that our children are being truthful with us and behaving responsibly, but in reality all kids, at some point in their lives, experiment with drugs and alcohol. Think back to your own childhood and early adulthood. Were you always 100% up front with your parents when discussing ‘extracurricular’ activities? Exactly. Furthermore, the variety and potency of illicit substances available in today’s world have evolved drastically over the last several years, and symptoms of substance abuse may also vary depending on the class of drug being abused. Identifying and responding to your son’s drug use is made exponentially more challenging by this phenomenon. So, here are some tell-tale signs that your son may have a problem with drugs:
1. Sudden changes to daily routine
Is your son suddenly staying up much later than normal? Have his nutritional habits or daily hygiene practices taken a dive? When your son is staying up half the night, this is a telltale sign that he may be using drugs. As they say, “Nothing good happens after 2 am.”
2. Physical Appearance
Has your son lost (or gained) a lot of weight recently? Does he appear disheveled or ungroomed? Have you noticed that he looks abnormally tired/glossy eyed? Pupils pinned or dilated? These are all strong indications of a serious drug problem.
3. Changes in Behavior
Does your son seem more irritable and distant of late? Does he avert his eyes when speaking to you? Is he suddenly spending a lot more time with ‘friends’ and less with family? Have you caught him nodding off or grinding his teeth at odd times of the day? Again, these are all warning signs of problem drug use.
When it comes to drug problems in teens and young adults, there are two vitally important ‘”Rules of Thumb”: Early Intervention is Key. When an individual begins using drugs at a young age, brain development is seriously disrupted. As drug use persists, the brain begins to recognize the immediate gratification, and cause/effect relationship; it receives when introducing a foreign substance into the blood stream. This relationship manifests itself in real, observable changes in brain neuro-pathways. If the drug use doesn’t cease and desist in a timely fashion, these neuro-pathways solidify in a way that is irreversible, and stopping drug use down the line becomes exponentially more difficult. Appropriate Intervention is Key. Young men with drug abuse problems bring a very unique set of challenges to the table. They baggage unique to this age group is, “What are the other kids my age doing?”; “This is normal for kids my age”; “Why can’t I just be normal?” These are very challenging obstacles to overcome. For a young person to embrace recovery, they have to be shown over an extended period of time that sobriety can be fun and meaningful. Furthermore, they have begun using drugs at a vital developmental stage in their life, and have learned to cope with stress using the drugs and alcohol. In treatment, they are tasked with re-learning healthy coping mechanisms from the ground up. For this reason, an acute 30 or 60 day stay in a structured treatment environment is simply not sufficient for lasting change. It is crucial for young men and teens to have the opportunity to practice a recovery lifestyle over a period of several months if they are to ultimately sustain recovery in an independent sober living environment. As a general rule, if you suspect your son of persistent drug and alcohol use, it’s most likely escalated to the point where some kind of therapeutic intervention is necessary. At this point, you may be asking yourself, “So What’s Next?” There are a wide range of drug treatment options out there, and determining which one is the best fit for your loved one can be a daunting task without some guidance and support. At Turnbridge, our Admissions Counselors are highly trained and educated regarding the available drug rehab programs, treatment modalities, and resources available. As mentioned earlier, finding the appropriate addiction treatment program is absolutely integral to your son’s success, so please do not attempt to do this alone. Give us a call anytime, and we’d be glad to guide you in the direction of hope. PLEASE CALL 877.581.1793 Image Credit