When Tracy visited home during her summer holidays, her mother noticed that she was much occupied with her mobile phone and would go blank in the middle of the conversations. She cared less about her appearance and would remain in her room for the whole day without talking to anyone at home. The cheerful girl had transformed into a woman with frequent angry outbursts and lack of care for family members. When Tracy continued to look disoriented, the mother tried talking to her. After much persuasion, she finally confessed to being addicted to alcohol and asked for help.
Like Tracy, millions of college-going children in the country are struggling with some form of an addiction. Experts suggest that this could be out of inquisitiveness, peer pressure, genetic make-up, environmental influences, or as a coping mechanism to deal with performance pressure and parental expectations. It is extremely important for parents to be watchful of their kids’ behavior, keep the communication gates open and address any noteworthy changes with utmost importance.
Given below are four signs signaling substance abuse in young children:
1. Unusual behavioral traits: Substance abuse makes one a recluse. If an extrovert child seems to be isolated in his/her own world it is possible, that he or she could be abusing drugs or taking alcohol secretively. Reluctance in joining the family for meals, avoiding interaction with the siblings and family outings are subtle signs indicating towards a serious problem.
2. Shabby appearance: If a child does not bother to take shower, comb hair or change into a fresh pair of clothes every day, it is possible that his/her entire focus and energy is diverted towards substance abuse. A child with red eyes, disheveled hair, chapped lips, dry mouth, slurred speech, and weird marks on arms and legs are red flags.
3. Abnormal eating habits: If a child displays symptoms of binge eating or loss of appetite, it could be an effect of addiction. This swing in eating habits should be monitored seriously as it can cause serious nutritional deficiency in the growing years.
4. Miscellaneous signs: If a child stops engaging in hobbies that he or she previously loved, starts asking for a lot of money every now and then, steals things, avoids old friends and develops friendship with suspicious people, or gets irritable at the drop of a hat or sleeps for very long hours, it is possible that he or she is into serious addiction.
Road to recovery
While none of the signs discussed above can guarantee that a child is certainly into an active addiction, they do present an opportunity to have an open dialogue. Parents should be patient yet act firmly but politely. Reprimanding the child for wrongdoings can create a distance and the child might avoid all sorts of communication. Parents should spend quality time with their kids understanding their changing needs and desires and providing support, where necessary. If despite several attempts, a child continues taking drugs or alcohol, it is advisable to get help from a trained mental health professional.
If you or your loved one is addicted to a substance and looking for help, contact the California Detox Helpline to find the best addiction treatment centers in California that offer effective detoxification programs. You can contact us through online chat or by calling our 24/7 helpline 855-780-2495 to get details about the finest residential treatment centers in California where recovery is facilitated in a serene environment with the help of customized treatment options.