One day I went from “I think my daughter is on drugs” to “I know my daughter was on drugs” which was heartbreaking. I knew my daughter was on drugs because her personality changed. It was hard to tell if this personality change is normal for all addicts and alcoholics, but it took place with my daughter. There’s a story called The Snow Queen, and in The Snow Queen, this little boy gets a chip of evil glass caught in his eye and the chip distorts how he sees the world. That is what happens to my child when she does drugs. She transforms from a beautiful, joyful and kind person to a negative, critical, cruel person. The joy gets completely sucked out of her. I never heard my daughter laugh when she was using drugs.
Warning Signs of Drug Use
What one of the most common questions parents want to know is how to tell if their child is using drugs. There are warning signs that are synonymous with all drug use. Some of them include:
1. An increase or decrease in appetite and or sleep.
2. Rapidly changing grades.
3. Drug paraphernalia
4. Glazed expressions or a sudden change in demeanor
5. Abandoning friends and or social activities and isolating
6. Evasive answers to questions related to drug use
7. Items or money going missing
8. Behavioral changes and personality changes
I knew when my daughter was maybe 17 that she was abusing Adderall because she looked horrible. She was very white and very grey and was losing weight. She looked amazingly unhealthy. It was her appearance. She just looked awful. She didn’t sleep and didn’t eat. I knew something wasn’t right then. How can a 17-year-old stop eating and sleeping? It had to be drug-related.
Mental Health is Important to Consider
Another warning sign of drug abuse is a shift in the mental health of the child. If your child has difficulty remembering the necessary things or becomes incoherent, that is a sign of drug abuse.
My daughter stopped making sense. I didn’t know if my child was on drugs or if she had a mental disorder. I couldn’t follow her logic. She would go on and on about things that didn’t make sense. She started to attribute meaning to things that had no meaning; she started to talk in images and sounds. She was losing touch with reality. I thought for a while that maybe she had schizophrenia or bipolar, but we found out that it was just the drugs she was on that severely skewed her mental health.
When she is on drugs, she sounds like a crazy person. Drugs are so bad for her in that way; they make her see the world in the worst light. She blames other people, and she doesn’t take responsibility for herself. When she isn’t on drugs she is thoughtful, serious, focused and nice. When she does drugs, everyone hates her. Even her mother.
Pay Attention to Your Child’s Academic Life
Rapidly changing grades are one of the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. In college, I was an A student, and within a month my grades started to drop to C’s and D’s because I wasn’t showing up for class, I wasn’t serious when I was in class. My whole life surrounded drugs and alcohol; I had no time to put towards my studies and no interest in doing what I loved anymore.
I think it’s really hard for parents because you don’t want to believe this can happen to your child. My husband didn’t want to believe it. I argued with my husband during the period my daughter was using. He had more faith in her than I did. I would say she’s doing drugs, she’s using and my husband would say well how can you prove it? He was looking for the proof.
Paraphernalia is a Sure Sign of Drug Abuse
Paraphernalia for drug taking includes rolling papers, pipes, vials, syringes, burnt spoons or vape pens.
Unexplained injuries can also be related to drug or alcohol use.
When my child was using drugs, she would end up in the hospital randomly and we never really knew what it was. She would end up in the hospital for strange reasons like a kidney infection, and then, of course, they would pump her with morphine and give her oxycontin which just made things worse. She would end up in the hospital for torn ligaments, and we had no idea how that had happened. Come to find out it was all drug-related.