Drugs of abuse fall into three categories:
Depressants (e.g. heroin, barbiturates)
Depressants are sedatives which act on the nervous system. Artificial relaxation and relief from anxiety and mental stress tend to produce psychological dependence and withdrawal from heavy use is severe.
Stimulants (e.g. cocaine, crack, amphetamines)
Stimulants are agents that activate, enhance, or increase neural activity. They include amphetamines and synthetic appetite suppressants such as phenmetrazine or methylphenidate. They can give rise to symptoms suggestive of intoxication, including tachycardia, pupil dilation, elevated blood pressure, nausea or vomiting and abnormal behavior such as fighting, agitation and impaired judgment. A full-blown delusional psychosis may occur.
Hallucinogens (e.g. marijuana, ecstasy, LSD)
Hallucinogens are ingested, inhaled, smoked, injected or snorted. Hallucinogens are a chemically diverse group, which produce profound mental changes such as euphoria, anxiety, sensory distortion, vivid hallucination, delusion, paranoia and depression. They include mescaline and LSD.
Signs That Something is Wrong
Some Common Signs That Your Child is Using Drugs or Alcohol
When children start using drugs they usually exhibit many different signs which parents need to watch out for. Unfortunately, many parents often write-off these signs as normal adolescent behavior and as a result they do not realize that their child is into drugs until it is too late. So how can you as a parent know for sure whether your child is in danger of falling into drugs? Simple … by understanding that every child is in danger of this. The parent who says “not my kid” is the same parent who will miss all the signs that their child has started experimenting with drugs. Often they will stay in this state of denial till their son or daughter is arrested or overdoses — and by then it is too late. So, what should you as parents be looking for as signs that your child is experimenting with drugs or alcohol.
Dramatic changes in style of clothes, hair, music
These are outward signs that your child is succumbing to peer pressure and all these should serve as warning signs to you that your child is in danger of falling into the same kind of peer pressure when it comes to drugs.
Hanging out with a bad crowd
Take a close look at the kinds of kids your child is hanging out with. Chances are the way these friends behave is the way your child behaves when you are not around. Do some of your child’s friends smoke cigarettes? If so, odds are your child is smoking too. Your child’s friends are like a mirror for your son or daughter — they look at themselves in that mirror and try to conform to what they see there. One of the best ways to get a good idea of what your child is like is to look at there closest friends.
Tardiness and/or truancies
You need to stay in touch with your child’s school. Never assume that his/her school will be in touch with you if there is a problem. If your child is getting into drugs, odds are he/she will start ditching class from time to time. Kids who do this tend to take off during the middle of school and get stoned somewhere near the campus. Don’t assume that their school will let you know about this kind of behavior. Call your child’s school from time to time and ask about your child’s attendance record. You need to take the initiative here!
Isolating from family
Does your child act distant? When you ask your child what he/she has been up to, does your child give some vague reply? Does you child want to eat in their room all the time instead of with the family? Children are smart – they know that the easiest lie to tell is the one they can avoid having to tell. If your child doesn’t tell you what he/she has been up to, there’s a good chance your child is hiding something.
Changes in attitude and personality
Does it seem like your child is suddenly a completely different person with a new personality that you do not like one bit? Has your child suddenly developed a tough guy/girl attitude? If your child is experimenting with drugs, there is a good chance you will be seeing these kinds of attitude changes. Often parents just see this as normal teenage behavior and write it off. Don’t make this mistake . . . otherwise you might overlook one of the most obvious signs of your child’s drug problem.
Changes in sleep patterns
These kinds of changes should be fairly obvious. Does your child stay up late (or even all night) frequently, refusing to get up in the morning at a decent time. Does your child sleep too much or too little. If your child isn’t sleeping much, there’s a good chance he/she is using. This is a frequent effect of this kind of stimulant. Excessive use of foul or obscene language Has your child suddenly developed a filthy mouth? This might indicate that your child is giving into peer pressure from their friends and should be a warning sign to you. If your child is trying to fit in with their friends by cussing, sooner or later your child will probably look for other ways to gain acceptance in his/her peer group. One of these ways is often drugs.
Eating way too much or way too little
Here’s another obvious sign of drug experimentation that is often overlooked as normal teenage behavior. Does your child come home in the afternoon after hanging out with friends and devour everything in the refrigerator? If your child is smoking pot with his/her friends, it wouldn’t be unusual for your child to eat a bit more food than normal. Does your child skip quite a few consecutive meals, and then speed use is a possibility.
Paranoia – everyone is out to get me
Does your son or daughter treat everybody as if they were the enemy? Do they tend to express the idea that everybody is out to get them? Do they seem overly paranoid to you? This is not normal teenage behavior; you need to understand that. This is one of the most common signs of drug abuse. It’s one of those signs you don’t have to look hard to see.
Dilated eyes – red eyes – glazed eyes
Do your son’s or daughter’s eyes look funny? Are the pupils real large or real small? Does your child wear sunglasses even at night and try and say their just trying to look cool? A person’s eyes show the effects of the drugs their on. If you think your child is experimenting with drugs, watch his or her eyes. Are they red all the time? Glazed? If so, there is a real good chance your child is using drugs.
Sudden bursts of anger
Has your child developed a violent side? Is he or she prone to sudden, uncontrollable fits of anger? This doesn’t have to mean physically violent (though that is often the case) but can also be a teen who is always yelling or threatening people. Any of these things should be a warning sign to you that your child could be experimenting with drugs.
If your child is experimenting with drugs, he/she will be telling lots of lies to cover this up. Teens tend to be very good at covering things up. If you start wondering whether or not your child is telling you the truth there is a good chance that your instincts are right. Be persistent and learn what it is that they are trying to cover up. Drugs are an all-to-real possibility.
Dramatic mood swings
Does your child seems real happy one day, then terribly depressed the next day? Do your child’s emotions go up and down constantly? This is often confused with ‘normal’ teenage behavior, but it can also be an obvious sign of drug abuse. Don’t simply write it off.
Excessive money spending or money disappearing
Drugs cost money. If your child keeps coming to you needing money, or if money keeps coming up missing from your purse or your wallet, you need to have a serious talk with your child. Especially if they always seem to need 20 dollars or 50 dollars — round amounts — since that is often the price drugs cost.
Are You Helping or Hurting?
Pain Can Motivate Change
Many are godly parents who have prayed and fasted for their child, yet they watch painfully as their child continues down a path of rebellion and destruction. One mother said, “I pray for my children, but why is God so slow to answer?” So, what can parents or grandparents do to help their child? Stop enabling!
Enabling – Offering the Wrong Kind of Help
Enabling is rescuing your child so that they do not experience the painful consequences of their irresponsible decisions. Enabling is anything that stands in the way of persons experiencing the natural consequences of their own behavior. Tracy, the young mother of two boys, has mastered the art of manipulating her family into enabling her behavior. Often arrested on drug charges, she would say to her parents, “Do you want to see the mother of your grandchildren locked up in jail?” The last time it happened, the parents were planning to mortgage their home so they could afford the bail payment.
Galatians 6:7-8 speaks to Christians about this with a simple but blunt truth. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from that Spirit will reap eternal life.”(NIV)
God’s Word is specific. Christians – don’t be deceived! Bad actions have painful consequences, even when our children are involved. Thankfully, God can use those consequences for His purposes – if we don’t get in His way.
When you stop enabling, get ready for more trouble!
When you stop offering the wrong kind of help, your child may get very angry with you – and for a “good” reason. You’ve stopped rescuing them. Now they are beginning to feel the painful consequences of their irresponsible decisions. Just before mortgaging their home, Tracy’s parents were persuaded to stop enabling her. They let her stay in jail for almost a year – feeling the full impact of her irresponsible behavior. Angry and frustrated, Tracy accused them of not loving her. However, while she was in jail, the drugs cleared out of Tracy’s system and she began to think clearly again. She joined a Bible study, became a Christian and entered Teen Challenge when she was released.
When you make a decision to stop enabling, as Tracy’s parents did, you must stand on the facts – especially if you have a tender heart. You must continue to rehearse the fact of how your child’s actions are destroying his or her life – and how enabling this to continue is the worst thing you could do.
God is a loving Father – don’t be afraid to trust Him
When you stop enabling your child, he or she may go further down the path of destruction. You may inwardly think, “I can’t bear to see my daughter in such pain and danger.” Or, “My son might get killed! Then I would have his death on my hands. I can’t let that happen!” However, whatever happens, do not be afraid to trust God. Place your hope in the story of the Prodigal Son recorded in Luke 15. This father did not enable his son. He allowed him to leave home, knowing the son would soon waste his inheritance. Before long, the rebellious young man had lost everything – and he ended up in a pig pen, eating the food the pigs didn’t want.
But all alone in the pig pen, the Bible says, “He came to his senses.” The young man realized that even the hired men at his father’s household ate better than he did! Moreover, the son resolved to go and seek his father’s forgiveness. When he finally meets his father again, the son’s true repentance is seen in his words: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.” (Verse 21) He takes personal responsibility for his actions. It’s time for joyful peace and a celebration!
Learning to be at peace with God
Just like the Prodigal Son’s father, you can rest in the peace that God has the address of your child, no matter how deep they are in sin. His love far surpasses your love. He knows what will work best to bring your child to that point of change. You have to trust God – even when things are going from bad to worse. Stop offering the wrong kind of help. Stop feeding the problem. Stop being deceived. Trust Him. Jesus is ready to help us offer the right kind of help. He promises to give us wisdom to make the difficult decisions. He also stands ready and waiting with open arms to help our children who really need His help. Look to Him today for guidance on how best to help those you love.
Six characteristics of the enabler:
- Works for self-improvement.
“If I were a better parent/grandparent/friend, my child wouldn’t be doing this.”
- Changes the environment to accommodate the person with the problem.
“Let’s change schools and get our child away from those troublemakers.”
- Takes on the whole world in defense of a child.
“The whole legal system is corrupt, and my child/grandchild/friend is getting unjust treatment.”
- Their pain increases.
Because the child is still acting irresponsibly, the enabler’s pain and frustration deepens.
- Communications deteriorate.
Because the issues are unresolved, defenses are high. Both the enabler and the child are often deluded about reality.
- Enabling is habit-forming.
The enabler keeps offering the same kind of help. Sometimes the enabler derives such deep satisfaction from “rescuing” someone that he or she never assesses whether the assistance is helping or hurting the child.