Monday, September 20th, 2021

Recognizing substance abuse in your children

Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2015

Marla McQuinn, LMHC, LCAC
Bowen Center of Huntington County

Substance abuse in teenagers is growing rapidly. It seems our tolerance of substance use has changed and there is very little accountability for youth. As parents we get busy and just getting through daily tasks are a chore itself, therefore, subtle changes or drastic ones are often overlooked. Here are items to be aware of if you suspect your child is using:

Poor hygiene-not caring about appearance; Outward appearance is huge among teenagers and they are constantly comparing themselves to others, so if you notice that your child starts to not care, be aware; Shows lack of caring about activities that used to be important. Sometimes teenagers lose interest in things that used to be of importance to them such as sports, grades, music, etc. Cash flow problems-frequently asking for money; Make sure you are giving your children an allowance. If they seem to be asking more above and beyond that a certain amount, then something else may be going on. Frequently breaks curfew or seems indifferent about any rules that have been complied with in the past. Physical symptoms may be nasal irritation, running/stuffy nose, bad breath, or an increase in appetite.

Also, avoiding eye contact or mood changes, easily agitated or irritable and getting angry over trivial things. Withdrawn, depressed and/or spending a lot of time in their room or on their phone or other electronics often throughout the day. Incomplete school work, make sure you are checking school website for missing assignments. Hanging out with different friends and yet not being introduced to them. Make sure you are aware of who your children are spending time with.

These are just a few items to look for if you are questioning whether your child is using substances or not. Perhaps the most important thing to look for is at ourselves because we set the example for our children. More information and suggestions of what to do are available at the following website:

“Your children will become who you are; so be who you want them to be.” Anonymous