…and some resources that can help
By Trevor McDonald
Red flags aren’t always glaring, especially when it comes to drug abuse. Are you concerned that your child is using or abusing drugs but aren’t sure what to watch out for? Guidelines such as falling grades or mood swings aren’t necessarily indicative of drug abuse, especially in teenagers when personality and performance shifts are sometimes normal. However, catching problems early is critical because it’s easier, faster and usually more affordable to address issues in earlier stages.
Here are five not-so-common signs that your child might be abusing drugs and what to do about it:
- They’ve shifted from introvert to extrovert (or vice versa). Seemingly permanent personality shifts might be the result of drug abuse. On the other hand, it can also simply be a signal that they’re maturing and their personality is naturally shifting. Teenagers are still developing their personality, sometimes “coming out of their shell” or “settling down” into what their organic adult personality will be. However, changes that seem permanent and sudden might be due to a chemical dependency. If drugs are part of the equation, the shifts can seem exceptionally sudden, long-lasting and forced.
- They’re going through their finances at a faster clip. Whether it’s an allowance or from a part-time job, if your teen is looking for more disposable income but has nothing to show for their spending, it’s time to for a reconnaissance mission. Even if it’s “their money,” parents have a right to know where their child’s funds are being spent. Helping them develop a budget can reveal discrepancies.
- There’s an increase in drug references on social media. Suggesting drug use/abuse on social media (or even stating it outright) doesn’t always reflect reality. It’s very common for everyone, adults included, to exaggerate or even make up lifestyles to impress people on these platforms. However, if you’ve noticed an increase in drug references on your child’s social media, it’s time for a talk. Even if drugs aren’t being abused, presenting such a lifestyle might cause problems in the future. If you’re able to see such comments, future employers and school-related leaders might be able to as well. Of course, tech savvy teens may block their parents from such posts—but that isn’t always the case.
- They’ve actually become more driven in school. Using legitimate drugs recreationally, such as Ritalin when they don’t have ADHD, can cause a sudden increase in school performance. The natural assumption is that kids who are abusing drugs will experience failing grades and skip class more, but that’s just one avenue. It’s also possible that your teen is abusing drugs as a means of keeping up with their peers academically. Out-of-the-ordinary study habits and grades, when positive, can encourage praise from parents. Find out the root of this turn of events to ensure it’s a natural part of maturing.
- They’ve become more secretive and protective of their space. Like personality shifts, this can certainly just be part of growing up. However, if your teen has turned overprotective, it’s a good idea to pay closer attention to their actions. It doesn’t always present in a negative manner either—perhaps your teen is suddenly quick to do their own laundry or tidy up their room when they know you’d otherwise do it.
5 Important Things To Consider
By Rod Amiri, MD
Let’s face it: discussing a loved one’s substance abuse can be uncomfortable and emotionally draining.
While some loved ones actively seek treatment, many are reluctant to change and unwilling to have open, honest discussions. Making emotional pleas or threats to convince them that they would benefit from help may result in defensive, argumentative responses. Plus, confronting an addicted loved one about their behavior can be so emotionally charged that it is easy to become angry or upset.
Ultimately, approaching an addicted family member, Continue reading
Helping you find the resources you need
By Dolores (Dee) Cloward, Special Events Coordinator
[ Registration ]
You are invited to join in for our spring SMART Recovery Special Event Webinar with Ivette Torres, Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs at SAMHSA. Ms. Torres will speak to us about recovery issues and how YOU, those of you in recovery, facilitators, family members, professionals, or others who support you, can be conduits to getting others to seek help!
Engaging Community to Fight Addiction will be held Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 5:00 PM EDT. [ Registration ]
In this engaging and informative talk, Ms. Torres will discuss some of today’s topics of concern on behavioral health as it relates to addiction. She will also share how SAMHSA helps communities gain access to the resources they need. Continue reading
By Judith Poole, Facilitator and Regional Coordinator, British Columbia, Canada
When I learned my son was addicted to opiates about five years ago, I felt completely helpless. I just wasn’t equipped to handle the situation or give my son the level of support he needed. Without tools or answers, I was so stressed in those early stages of his addiction that I ended up having a heart attack. Other support groups hadn’t worked for me. Like a lot of people, I looked for options on the Internet, and that’s where I discovered SMART Recovery.
SMART Recovery’s message resonated with me. It was exactly what I needed. At first, I took the facilitator training course for myself and my son. It gave me the tools I needed. I learned the skills to handle the stress of addiction and other problems, too. Thankfully, my son is fairly far along in the recovery process now. Yet soon after I completed the training and began attending meetings, I realized I was hardly alone…and there was absolutely nothing else out there for people like us.
“I passionately wanted to give all I’ve learned to others and help SMART Recovery continue expanding and reaching more and more people.”
I’ve always been a big believer in volunteer work. A believer and a doer. But this was different. The cards were on the table in the most personal way possible, my son’s very life and mine were in jeopardy. SMART Recovery worked for us. I passionately wanted to give all I’ve learned to others and help SMART Recovery continue expanding and reaching more and more people. And I’ve been doing just that ever since.
To imagine a world without SMART Recovery, I have to think of the eleven people who regularly attend our local meeting. Eleven family members and friends, with no doubt more families and friends to come. It’s an ever-widening circle. What’s left in a world without SMART Recovery? A crumbling puzzle Continue reading
As we move into the holiday season, we thought it would be helpful to share some thoughts on family – and what to do when a family member is struggling with addiction. The following post is reprinted with permission from the Center for Motivation and Change. (Be sure to click on the links for more info on each topic below.)
At Center for Motivation and Change, we have lots of family members call us to ask for advice about how to help someone they love who they think is struggling with a substance use problem. We get moms calling about their children, husbands calling about their wives, adult children calling about their parents. And one of the things we hear from these folks is “everyone has given me so much advice, I really don’t know what to do”! They have often read articles and books. Have often gotten a wide range of advice or feedback from friends, other family members, therapists, and the media. And more often than not, they feel MORE confused about the best way to move forward rather than less.
In Epidemics, Hippocrates said, “Make a habit of two things–to help, or at least to do no harm.” How can we apply that idea to helping family and friends with addictions?
When we care about individuals who are trying to overcome addictions, we often face dilemmas in how best to help them. For instance, if I help someone by providing money for some critical need, am I supporting recovery by preventing some degree of “disaster”? Or am I just shielding the person from negative consequences that might motivate lasting behavior change? The latter, of course, is AKA the E word: Enabling. This article will identify some things to consider when you face that kind of decision.
What is support? I suggest that support, at its root, consists of two things: paying attention and active helping. I could pay attention to a friend who wants to quit smoking by listening to her talk about her cravings to smoke and how she copes with these cravings. I could actively help her by informing her of new tobacco cessation products (if she was unfamiliar with them). I could take her to a SMART Recovery® meeting (especially if she felt awkward going alone), or spend a non-smoking evening with her (when her other options were to be alone or be with smokers).