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Posts Tagged ‘red flags of substance abuse’

Would you know the warning signs if your teenager was suffering from substance abuse? If you are going to be a pro-active parent in today’s culture, it is essential that you are aware of the major red flags. All kids are unique and not every child will demonstrate the same behaviors but if you want to cover all your bases it is best to know as many red flags as possible.

I was a mom who ignored these warning signs until it was almost too late. The red flags were waving so hard in my face that they were slapping me. I was a parent in denial and refused to believe that my teenage son was abusing drugs. It was not until his drug abuse progressed to heroin that I woke up and realized that he was out of control and we had a major problem.

I am not a doctor, licensed counselor, or religious leader. I am just a mom who experienced the harsh realities of substance abuse with my only child. It is my goal and purpose to help parents become more aware so they don’t travel as far down that road with their teen as I did with mine.

It is a new school year. There is no better time than that to start becoming aware. Meet me back here at my blogsite and let’s look at the major red flags of teenage substance abuse. I want this to be the best drug free school year ever for both you and your entire family!

This blog brought to you by the award-winning author of Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope. To read more about this book, please visit www.mitzirudderow.com.

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Addicted to Spiritual Surrender

There is no time like the present to ponder how we survive the painful episodes in our lives, especially when it involves our children and parenting. Has a good dose of strong will and determination gotten you through the difficulties of living with a teen addicted to drugs? Or has your strength come from somewhere else? We have two choices. We can travel that tunnel alone or we can surrender and ask God to help us, and guide us, through the difficulties of living with drug addiction.

I was raised in a Christian home and I knew that God loved me. After loosing three babies, in the final trimester of each pregnancy, I began to question God’s love. It became apparent that for me, adoption would be my answer to becoming a Mom. The happiest moment of my life came when the adoption agency called to tell us our baby boy had arrived.

From the moment I became a Mom, the self sufficiency that God endowed me with was the only thing I relied on when it came to parenting. It never occurred to me to rely on anything else. It was not until my son was in the middle school years that I finally turned to God for help in parenting. Because I had not recognized all the red flags of substance abuse and had not come clean with myself regarding my son’s involvement with drugs, our lives were spiraling out of control. My emotional exhaustion forced me to seek help outside of myself. I finally surrendered myself and my child, and put my trust in God to help me find the strength I needed in my darkest moments. It was then that I became addicted to spiritual surrender and experienced the hope and joy that surrendering can bring.

If life places you in a dark tunnel, remember there is light at the end… but you have to keep walking to find it. You need not make this journey alone. Instead, call on the guide who knows the best way and surrender your steps to him. Your life will be transformed when you do.

This blog brought to  you by the award winning author www.mitzirudderow.com and her book  “Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope.”

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The Company They Keep

Are you aware of the company your child keeps? Do you really know your teen’s friends? If your teen is associating with friends that have tendencies toward risky behaviors or unhealthy habits, the chance of being led in to a world of reliance on drugs and alcohol is increased. Take note – questionable friends are one of the first warning signs that your teen could be headed for trouble with substance abuse.

In retrospect, I know I did not come clean with all the negative influences my teen was involved with. Slowly, my son’s longtime friendships disappeared and were replaced by new friends, whom I knew little about. His new choices in friends affected the decisions he made and the peer pressures he faced. Right was replaced with wrong, and logical thinking was replaced by irrational thinking and behaviors. Soon, my son was headstrong into a world of addiction.

If I had taken a closer look at the red flags and listened to my instincts instead of denying them, an eighth grade sleepover that involved a fifth of scotch and orange juice might have been avoided. So would that nasty hangover my son experienced the next day. I settled for “peace at any price.” Parents, stand strong! It is your right, as a parent, to veto anyone you suspect could steer your child in the wrong direction.

I wonder if our journey would have taken a different route if I had chosen early on to stand firm as an adult and veto certain friends? The price I paid for “chickening out” was far more costly than the temporary unpleasantness of saying “no” and enforcing my decision. It’s quite possible that red flags are waving in your face. Are you aware of the company your child keeps?

This blog brought to you by www.mitzirudderow.com, the award winning author of  “Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope.”

 

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Coming Clean and Becoming Aware

Lethargic behavior, angry mood swings, excessive time alone, inability to sleep at night, and difficulty in getting out of bed in the morning. These are all major red flags of substance abuse and recognizing these signs can help parents know if they need to seek help for their troubled teen. Let’s take a brief look at each one:

 

  • Angry mood swings – this is recognized by extreme outbursts that can end in violence unlike the “temper tantrums” that are birthed from normal adolescent drama.
  • Excessive time alone – on those rare occasions when my son was at home, he isolated himself in his room playing video games or watching TV. I later learned that he was actually high on drugs or using them in his room. Isolation is often times the only option for a drug user.
  • Unable to sleep at night – a teen who consistently doesn’t sleep is more often than not artificially stimulated. Many drugs are stimulants and speed up the central nervous system, causing increased heart rate and blood pressure.Hard to get up in the morning – drugs taken the night before can wear off in the early morning hours causing someone to “crash” leaving them almost incoherent and impossible to wake up.

Parents, have you noticed any of these red flags in your teen? If you are living in denial, come clean now and make it your business to know what these signs could mean. It might save a life!

This blog brought to you by award-winning author www.mitzirudderow.com and her book Coming Clean: Drug Addiction – Help and Hope.

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Unmistakeable Red Flags

A red flag that I could not ignore was my son’s drop in attendance when he was in high school. It was what convinced me that my son was experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Being absent, skipping classes and a drop in grades are all unmistakable red flags of substance abuse. This is a parenting tip that every pro-active parent needs to know.

A drop in grades alone is not necessarily a warning sign of teenage substance abuse. But, if you do begin to receive progress reports indicating that your teen is failing a course, seek immediate help from the teacher or the school counselor. Early intervention could be all that is needed to get your child back on track.

Does your child’s school alert you when there is an unexcused absence? This might be something you want to find out. By law, all schools must take attendance and most of them alert parents when their child is not in class.

Calls from the attendance office became a routine occurrence in our home and was the concrete evidence I needed to confront my son with my suspicions of his substance abuse. I was a parent in denial but I could not ignore these two red flags when they appeared together. The most valuable tools in my parenting toolbox were the relationships I formed with the attendance office and social counselor at school. They helped me unveil the ugly truth about my son’s substance abuse and showed me where to seek help.

This blog brought to you by the Eric Hoffer Award Winning author of  “Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope” and www.mitzirudderow.com.

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