With opiate addiction barreling at full steam across the country, many families are overcome with pain and shock. Parents look at their addicted son or daughter and want to know how they ended up like this. They were raised in a loving home and were provided with everything they needed. They went to outstanding schools and were involved with all sorts of sports and activities. How on earth did they end up addicted to drugs?
Truth of the matter is that prescription painkillers and heroin are everywhere. Painkillers are overproduced and as easy to find in almost any high school. In 1997, approximately 10 tons of Oxycodone was produced worldwide. In 2010, 122.5 tons were produced which is an astronomical jump in manufacturing. No one can say that people are in more pain today compared to 1997. Of course, the popularity of the drug being prescribed by doctors will naturally cause for more production, but a 1200% increase is just an insane jump.
Most abusers start out taking painkillers recreationally. Many take it for some time before there is any noticeable issues. In most homes, something dramatic happens which catches the parents and family off guard. If you are not looking for the symptoms of opiates, they are very easy to miss. This is true especially when dealing with teenagers. Most teenagers keep to themselves and do not divulge too much to their parents. Like any normal kid, they sleep long hours and stay up late. Teenagers are notorious for laying around and being told to do things by their parents. That is just a part of growing up, so the sluggishness that is attributed to opiate abuse is very hard to pinpoint when dealing with teenagers.
Educating yourself about opiates is key to understanding how your child got themselves into the problem. Keep a close eye on your medicine cabinet. Most teens start experimenting with painkillers that are found in their own home or from a friend's home. Treat your prescription painkillers as though they are poison, because in the wrong hands they can be just as deadly. Prescription medications, especially ones that have high potential for abuse should be hidden or even locked in a safe.
When your child uses prescription painkillers or heroin (opiate based drugs) for over 1 months time, they are altering their brain chemicals without even knowing it. Chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin start to lower in the brain because using pain pills or heroin causes a rush of these chemicals. This causes the brain to deplete their chemicals when the drug is not available. This leads to extreme mood swings, hot and cold sweats, aches and pains, depression, anxiety and much more.
Seeing these symptoms and the change in your child's personality will help you pinpoint the issue before it gets severe. Talk with your son or daughter about what is going on. Be open with them. Being supportive and trying to help them no matter what the condition is will make the outcome of your child's recovery more successful. Allow your child to tell you the truth about their issue. Listen to everything they have to say without interrupting them.
The damage your child has done to your family and household can be healed. The most important part of the situation is getting your child healthy and into a stable recovery. Keep a positive outlook for the future and remember, no child is too far gone, there is always hope.