For Parents: What to Look For

Do you suspect that your child is abusing alcohol or using drugs?  Are you worried?  Have you noticed some changes with your child?  As a parent, it is normal to be concerned.

Here are some of the warning signs to look for:

Physical and health signs of drug abuse

  • Eyes that are bloodshot or pupils that are smaller or larger than normal.
  • Frequent nosebleeds could be related to snorted drugs (meth or cocaine).
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns.  Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
  • Seizures without a history of epilepsy.
  • Deterioration in personal grooming or physical appearance.
  • Impaired coordination, injuries/accidents/bruises that they won’t or can’t tell you about-  they don’t know how they got hurt.
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.
  • Shakes, tremors, incoherent or slurred speech, impaired or unstable coordination.

Behavioral signs of alcohol or drug abuse

  • Skipping class, declining grades, getting in trouble at school.
  • Drop in attendance and performance at work--loss of interest in extracurricular activities, hobbies, sports or exercise--decreased motivation.
  • Complaints from co-workers, supervisors, teachers or classmates.
  • Missing money, valuables, prescription or prescription drugs, borrowing and stealing money.
  • Acting isolated, silent, withdrawn, engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors.
  • Clashes with family values and beliefs.
  • Preoccupation with alcohol and drug-related lifestyle in music, clothing and posters.
  • Demanding more privacy, locking doors and avoiding eye contact.
  • Sudden change in relationships, friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies.
  • Frequently getting into trouble (arguments, fights, accidents, illegal activities).
  • Using incense, perfume, air freshener to hide smell of smoke or drugs.
  • Using eyedrops to mask bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils.

Psychological warning signs of alcohol or drug abuse

  • Unexplained, confusing change in personality and/or attitude.
  • Sudden mood changes, irritability, angry outbursts or laughing at nothing.
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity or agitation.
  • Lack of motivation; inability to focus, appears lethargic or “spaced out.”
  • Appears fearful, withdrawn, anxious, or paranoid, with no apparent reason.
Last modified onSunday, 26 April 2015 19:19
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