No parent wants their child to become a drug addict, but it happens. Drugs don't discriminate; anyone can become an addict. Your teenager doesn't even need to associate with drug dealers to become addicted to drugs. Some teens start using drugs by taking prescription medications found in their own medicine cabinets. Each day, around 2,500 teenagers in the United States take a prescription painkiller for the purpose of getting high for the very first time. For many, prescription painkiller abuse is the beginning of a downward spiral that ultimately leads to a heroin addiction. As a parent, you need to know how to spot signs that could indicate your teenager is abusing prescription painkillers, and what you should do if you believe your teen is battling an addiction.
Frequency of Illnesses
Most of the prescription painkillers that teens abuse are opiates — just like heroin. So, when a teen who is addicted to prescription painkillers stops using them regularly, he or she becomes ill. WIthdrawal symptoms often include bouts of vomiting or diarrhea, fatigue, body aches, and cold chills — all symptoms that are typically seen with common stomach viruses. Because it's easy to mistake painkiller withdrawal symptoms with a common stomach bug, many people don't realize their teens are struggling with addiction to prescription painkillers right away. Sure, your teen is going to become ill occasionally, and chances are, he or she will have a stomach virus at some point. So, in addition to the type of symptoms your teen is experiencing, you need to pay attention to the frequency of the illness. If your teen seems to be catching a stomach bug on a semi-regular basis or you teen has symptoms of a stomach bug that suddenly stop quickly, your teen may be experimenting with prescription painkillers.
Changes in Your Teen's Behavior
Teenagers, in general, are often moody. However, quick, drastic changes in behavior isn't normal. Teenagers who abuse prescription painkillers commonly experience increased irritation, erratic mood swings, and/or unexplained anxiety. Many parents with teens who are battling addiction have also noticed sudden changes in their teen's relationships. If your teenager is battling an addiction to prescription painkillers, you might notice that he or she suddenly has a different set of friends. You may also notice a change in the way your teen interacts with family members on a regular basis — your teen may retreat to the bedroom more frequently, become more secretive, and become unnecessarily upset when someone enters his or her bedroom.
Other Warning Signs
If your teen is abusing prescription painkillers, you'll probably even notice warning signs around your house. If you have prescription medications in your home, you might notice that some of your pills are missing — you should always count your pills and track the amount of medication you have on hand. Additionally, you might discover random prescription pill bottles in your home. The pill bottles may have someone else's information on them or they have the label removed completely. Additionally, some teenagers don't take prescription painkillers orally. So, you might notice random straws or dollar bills that have been rolled into small tubes laying around your house if your teen is crushing the pills and snorting them.
It's extremely important for you to know how to spot the warning signs of a prescription painkiller addiction, because the pills are highly addictive. If you think that your teen may be battling a prescription painkiller addiction, you should talk contact an addiction center that specializing in children's substance abuse counseling as soon as possible so that your teen gets the help needed to beat the addiction. Talk to a professional for more info.