Drug and alcohol use and abuse continues to be a growing problem in nearly every area of Texas. In the state, individuals as young as 12 years old are experimenting with drugs or alcohol which ultimately leads to dependence and addiction. The younger someone is when they begin experimenting with these types of substances, the greater chance they have of becoming addicted to them and having long-term adverse effects from these dangerous drug and alcohol habits. If you can prevent addiction early on and pay close attention to the warning signs, you may be able to stop potentially dangerous or even fatal events from occurring to your friend or loved one.
The potential dangers of abusing drugs and alcohol and becoming addicted to them vary based on the type of drug used, the duration and how much of the drugs or alcohol being abused, but in each case; the dangers are hazardous to the individual’s physical and emotional health. Children and teens that become addicted to drugs or alcohol have an increased chance of remaining addicted to these substances throughout their entire adult life, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Drug and alcohol abuse leads to behavioral issues such as:
- Angry Outbursts
- Intense Mood Swings
- Isolation from Friends and Family
Physical effects may be mild or severe, ranging from headaches and dizziness, to heart palpitations, hypothermia and even heart attack which may lead to death.
Some individuals are at more of a risk of developing a dependency or addiction to drug and alcohol, based on the childhood and lifestyle habits. For instance, children who have grown up in a household with family members who are also addicted to drugs and alcohol pose a higher risk of developing the addiction themselves. A history of physical or emotional abuse is another red flag for addiction, as is family members with a history of mental illnesses. Children and teens that tend to spend their time with peers who indulge in drug or alcohol abuse are at a much higher risk as well. By understanding who may become quickly addicted to these substances, you may be able to take the extra step to preventing it.
Paying attention to the warning signs of drug and alcohol use may help you get a better handle on your child or loved one and be able to prevent dependency or addiction to these substances. Signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol use depend mainly on the changes in behaviors and interests among this individual which you can typically notice if you pay close attention to them. Some of the more common changes someone will go through when they begin using drugs or alcohol include:
- A different group of friends.
- Mood swings and angry outbursts.
- A sudden decline in attendance at school or group functions.
- A lack of interest in social activities.
- Poor hygiene and grooming habits.
- A sudden drop in grades at school or quality of work.
If you notice any o all of these signs in your child, it is vitally important that you seek help immediately.
This may be through communication with them about the dangers of drugs, going through their things to remove any drugs in their possession, and enrolling them in a substance abuse treatment program to prevent possible addiction later on in life.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, prevention starts at home with children and teens as the majority of drug users will begin experimenting at a very young age. If you have a teen at home who is showing signs of drug use, or if you are simply worried about them becoming interested in drugs or alcohol, it is never too early to teach them the dangers of using drugs. Begin education early at home to supplement the education they receive at school about these important topics. If your teen is showing signs of drug abuse, offer your support and guidance and enroll them in a drug treatment center immediately. Even if they don’t have an addiction or dependency, it is never too early to get them involved in a treatment resource center which can provide professional help for your teen in order to prevent further drug abuse and potential addiction.
Communication is key when you want to prevent drug and alcohol addiction.
Never stop talking about the dangers of using drugs and be completely honest about how it can affect their personal and professional life. Family involvement is also important; if you are worried your child may be interested in alcohol because adults in the house drink, this might be a good time to cut back or stop drinking altogether and show a positive example.