The appropriate way for parents/ teachers and even caring friends who are concerned that someone might be on drugs is to look for changes in behavior.
Keep in mind the following ten warning signs that might indicate a problem:
- Sudden and irregular mood swings
- A gradual loss of interest in hobbies and sport
- More preoccupation with something new that has not been the case in the past.
- Reduced interest in personal grooming and hygiene
- Use of colognes or deodorants to hide the smell of drugs
- Sores or rashes, especially around the mouth.
- Excessive spending or borrowing of money
- Decline in performance at school.
- Excessive tiredness.
- Loss of appetite
Sometimes it is good to focus your attention on young children by trying to identify potential addicts even before they have discovered any mood-altering substances or processes. We should look for the following characteristics of an addictive nature:
- Having an addictive family background in which a parent, grandparent, or other family member has a significant addiction of some kind.
- Having frequent mood swings for no good reason.
- Being a loner, even in a crowd.
- Being excessively manipulative.
- Being easily frustrated and rarely satisfied
- Being easily hurt and over-sensitive.
These characteristics are individually difficult to distinguish from normal childhood behavior, but taken altogether they would certainly add up to concern for the possibility of an addictive nature.
Addicts are ill, not bad, they do bad things in the course of their addiction and they have to feel consequences for that behavior, but, at the same time, they need to be helped towards getting better. Punishment as such does nothing to help an addict. The idea that it will discourage the addict from doing the same thing again simply misses the point if addicts could change their behavior on their own, they would. A child born with the inner emptiness of addictive disease is also born sensitive and curious, searching to understand and modify the world. In due course, addiction dominates creativity but, in recovery, the creativity can blossom again.
If you are worried about using drugs during this time, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I particularly enjoy getting a strong reaction from recreational drugs?
- Do I have a sense of increased tension and excitement when I know that I have the opportunity to get some drugs?
- Have others expressed repeated concerns about aspects of my drug use?
- Do I find that getting high results in my going on to take more drugs?
- Do I tend to use drugs as both a comfort and strength?
- Do I use all the drugs in my possession even though I intended to spread them out over several occasions?
- Do I tend to make sure that I have drugs or the money for drugs before concentrating on other things?
- Do I get irritable and impatient if my supply of drugs is delayed for ten minutes for no good reason?
- Do I tend to use more drugs if I have more money?
- Do I use drugs before going out if I feel that there might not be the opportunity to use them later?
There is always help available and there is hope, contact Annesta Hofer for an individualized therapeutic programme and start living your life again.
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Annesta Hofer Counselling Services provides professional therapy and tailored made counseling programmes with the aim of enhancing behavioral modification and emotional healing.
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Post Traumatic Stress, Grief, Depression, Addiction and any Emotional struggle remain the focus of my practice, yet I believe in combining animal and nature therapy with cognitive behavioral therapy in order to deal with difficult issues in a more meaningful and joyful manner.
Behavioural Therapist/ Clinical Social Worker
BSW Honours (Social Work and Psychology)