Children of all ages suffer when someone in their life abuses drugs or alcohol. Children show and express their feelings differently, but many children have feelings of fear, worry, sadness, or anger.
Unfortunately, children living in homes experiencing drug or alcohol abuse are also at a higher risk for:
- Childhood abuse or neglect.
- Stress related illnesses.
- Birth defects.
- Eating disorders.
- Mistrust or fear.
- Guilt or shame.
- Learning disabilities.
- Repeating grades or attending more schools.
It’s important to identify when you, a family member, or a friend has a problem with drugs or alcohol. This way, you can get help (see below) and help others get help.
Signs of drug abuse and/or addiction:
- Neglecting responsibilities at home or work.
- Risky behavior, such as driving under the influence.
- Legal trouble.
- Relationship problems at home or work, including increased fighting or loss of friends.
- Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, restlessness, insomnia, sweating, shaking, and depression when not having used in a while.
- Life revolving around drug or alcohol use.
- Stopping activities or hobbies you used to enjoy.
- Sudden weight loss or gain.
- Changes in appetite, sleep patterns, or personal hygiene habits.
Some people are more at risk that others for developing addiction to drugs or alcohol. Risks include:
- Family history of addiction.
- Being male.
- Having another mental health disorder.
- Peer pressure.
- Lack of family involvement and support.
- Anxiety and/or depression.
- Taking a highly addictive drug, such as painkillers.