LAUREL SPRINGS, N.J., Dec. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Your college student has come home for winter break, but something just doesn't seem right. Your son or daughter seems detached, moody, or has developed some odd behaviors. Addiction to drugs or alcohol may be the problem.
"Parents should trust their instincts. They know when something seems wrong and should trust their gut but proceed with caution," explains Chris McGoldrick, Director of Operations at Victory Bay Recovery Center. "College is a time when people grow, change and find themselves, so you need to make sure that what you are seeing isn't just a reflection of that process."
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse 2016 Monitoring the Future report, 43% of college students surveyed reported using "any illicit drug", with 20% using Marijuana, 3.8% using narcotics (not heroin) without medical supervision, and 79% reported alcohol use.
McGoldrick, who struggled with addiction as young adult, notes that there is a great variable in how addiction presents itself because every person is different. One person may sleep until 3 p.m. and be struggling in school, while another can be overly involved in activities and seem almost normal.
"I worked hard to create the illusion that I was fine. I would wake up at a normal hour, do my laundry, and show up at family gatherings with a big smile on my face. But you can only hide behind that mask for so long," he explains.
McGoldrick notes that addicts think that they are fooling everyone by "acting normal" but the energy it takes is tremendous. "Eventually they will let the mask slip, and those closest to you will notice, just as my parents did."
The experts at Victory Bay Recovery Center, victorybayrecovery.com, tell parents the first step is to learn more about the symptoms and behaviors and which drugs/alcohol might be the cause. Some common signs of addiction can include: weight loss, nervous energy, compulsive repetitive movements (scratching), constant need for money, mood swings, personality changes, distracted behavior, nodding off or sleepiness, over or under dilated pupils, red or glassy eyes.
The next step, before confronting your child, is to seek out a professional, a treatment center or even a friend or relative that has dealt with addiction.
"Don't try to do it on your own," warns McGoldrick. "Meet with multiple people until you find a someone you feel comfortable with who specializes in this field and has the experience to explain your options and then walk you and your loved one through this process."
McGoldrick's parents had him meet with an old family friend that had also struggled with addiction. "He had insights that I didn't, and could see things my parents couldn't. Addicts need to know that there is someone there for them that understands what they are going through."
When you are finally ready to discuss the situation with your child, make sure communication is calm, open and honest, and have an action plan for the next steps.
"Don't have the conversation if you aren't prepared to take action," says McGoldrick. "Have a counselor or treatment center lined-up to take them right away, know what the consequences are for withdrawing for the semester, have your support network ready."
He emphasizes that, young adults are experts at twisting facts and scenarios and convincing people they are fine. "The problem is, if you let them convince you they don't need treatment, or that they can cut back or stop anytime, they might die. That is the scariest part…and it happens every day."
For more information or to speak with an addiction and recovery specialist contact Victory Bay Recovery Center at 800-253-0673 or visit victorybayrecovery.com. The Victory Bay Recovery Center philosophy is that every client receives a custom treatment plan suited to their specific needs. The four keys to treatment and recovery at Victory Bay include: treating the whole person - mind, body and spirit; a strong clinical program with a full continuum of care; active participation in a 12-step community; and structured sober living during and after treatment. Victory Bay is located at 1395 Chews Landing Rd. Laurel Springs, N.J.
SOURCE Victory Bay Recovery Center