Having a child addicted to drink or drugs is a common nightmare for today's parents. Here is how to tell if a son or daughter is an addict.
Changes in Personal Appearance
Children go through fads and change their fashion tastes seemingly every week, but there is something more drastic in the change of an alcoholic or drug addicted child depending on what substance he or she is using. If the child shows more bruising or cuts than usual, time to see a doctor. It could be drug abuse or signs of bullying. Addicts tend to be less concerned about their appearance and become sloppier overall. Incontinence sometimes returns.
Changes in Behavior
Children who never locked their bedroom doors now put locks on. They get very touchy about anyone getting into their rooms. Those who drink or smoke chew more gum and use more mouthwash or breath mints than usual to cover up their addiction. They may change their clothes more often in a day than usual or begin using a lot of air freshener in their rooms.
Changes in Attitude to School
Schoolchildren's grades plummet when they become addicts. If the child has never done well in school he or she often manages to somehow hit new lows in cutting classes, neglecting assignments or disrupting the classroom. Sometimes the child even shows up drunk or high to classes. The child drops all extracurricular activities like clubs or sports.
Child Begins Stealing
If a child is not getting a regular supply by stealing from the medicine cabinet or liquor cabinet at home then he or she needs a steady stream of money in order to feed the addiction. Children begin stealing medications and other small valuables from families of friends to sell or trade for drugs if they cannot steal money.
Addictions are difficult but not impossible to treat. The child needs to be taken to a hospital or rehab center to dry out in a safe, supervised environment. Children need a combination of medications and intensive outpatient therapy to keep from backsliding.
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