Drug addiction affects the addict as well as the family members who generally go through a trauma once they come to know about their addiction.
This is even more heart breaking for the parents of teenagers. But most of the times it gets too late before they are able to identify it. You might suspect that something is wrong but unable to understand the reason behind it. Look for the following changes -
Health – Lethargy, loss of appetite, change in sleeping pattern are common. They even lose interest in personal grooming, dressing style, etc. which is quite unusual since teenagers generally try to conform to the current fashion.
School – Check whether your child is doing his school work as he did previously. Is there a decline in his performance? Is he attending his school regularly or is he giving excuses to stay back at home? Did it ever happen that he bunked school without your knowledge? Keep in touch with the school and keep a track of his attendance and performance. Not completing school assignments, failing classes, a drop in performance are indicators that your child may be on drugs.
Behavior and Attitude – They lose interest in all those things in which they were once interested – “My son was a basket ball freak. But for the past few months he has stopped watching it”. There is a shift in personality – irritable, rebellious, prefers to stay alone and stops interacting with parents, relatives and even old friends, hangs out with new set of friends. Refuses to give any information about his whereabouts. Demand for money increases without any good reason and resorts to violence or emotional black mailing if not provided. Gradually starts losing his valuables which he actually sells to get the money.
Teenage is the age of experimenting and my experience of dealing with addicts shows that usually addicts start using drugs just for the sake of experimenting with something new. Hence they are the targets of the drug dealers. So please keep a track of your child’s activities. Save him and save your family.