Episode 20 The Addicted Child: A Parent’s Guide

Adolescents begin to use marijuana, alcohol or other drugs for many reasons. Some use it to fit in with friends; others seek the drug out of curiosity or submit to peer pressure. Many, like the majority of our guest’s former patients, use it to relieve anxiety or some other intolerable feeling. Most adolescents are unaware of how marijuana adversely impacts their developing brain.

How do parents know if their children are using marijuana?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends parents keep aware of changes in their children’s behavior. Declining grades, missing classes, loss of interest in things they once enjoyed or their favorite activities, changes in sleeping or eating habits, or getting into trouble in school or law enforcement could all be related to drug use or may indicate other problems.

If your children are using marijuana, the National Institute on Drug Abuse believes they might:

* seem unusually giggly and/or uncoordinated
* have very red, bloodshot eyes or use eye drops often
* have a hard time remembering things that just happened
* have drugs or drug paraphernalia – possibly claiming they belong to a friend
* have strangely smelling clothes or bedroom
* use incense and other deodorizers
* wear clothing or jewelry or have posters that promote drug use
* have unexplained lack of money or extra cash on hand.

There is help!

Richard Capriola spent 11 years working as an addictions counselor for Menninger Clinic in Houston, Texas, before retiring in 2019. Menninger Clinic is one of the top ten psychiatric hospitals in the United States and specializes in the assessment, stabilization and treatment of adults and adolescents with substance abuse and psychiatric disorders. During his tenure there he worked in the Adolescent Treatment program and the adult Comprehensive Psychiatric Assessment and Stabilization program. Working closely with psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and nurses, he was responsible for comprehensive assessments and individual and group counseling with patients diagnosed with substance use disorders. Prior to working at Menninger Clinic, Capriola worked as a mental health crisis counselor in central Illinois.

Now retired, he lives with his wife in a suburb of Houston. He enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and spending time with his family. He has one son, two stepchildren and four grandchildren.