I Am Concerned That My 20 Year Old Son May be Addicted to Either Alcohol or Drugs
My son is 20 years old and in college. He has struggled within the last year with a few major life issues, but has continued to do well in engineering school and bring home good grades (A's) - so I've not been too concerned that his issues could be related to drugs.
Recently though he informed me that he has been very depressed and wants to see a counselor which I set up for him. He had tried to go to the school once before he told us but that did not help. My concern is he displays many of the symptoms of drug abuse or withdrawal - sleeplessness, extreme anxiety, major irritability and went this summer for heart palpitations.
I have asked him and he says he is not using drugs. My main concern is he is going on a school project trip to Thailand in a week and I am heart sick that I should do more to find out what is going on.
Although, we are supportive and I know he cares and loves us, he is not a great communicator and has stated that he does not want to share and that is why he is going to the counselor. I am not sure if there is much more I can do except perhaps go talk to someone myself. I want to trust him and believe he can handle whatever he is facing, but also fear I may be being naive. Thanks.
Your son is showing a lot of maturity through his own initiative wanting to see a counselor. Whether or not that has anything to do with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, isn't worth speculating about right now, because for all you know it is something totally unrelated.
It's natural to be concerned, but the fact that your son through his own initiative has sought out help shows he has a good head on his shoulders. And it's not typical behavior for someone struggling with alcohol or drugs. So trust him to talk to you about what's going on with him when he's ready.
You hit the nail on the head when you said there isn't much more you can do right now. Let you son know that you're there for him and that he can come and talk to you if and when he's ready. And then simply let the process of his counseling unfold as its meant to.
Even if it turns out there is a drug or alcohol problem, there still wouldn't be much more you can do, because someone struggling with an addiction has to want to change - no one can force them. So if you're worried about all this and struggling to let go, then maybe it is a good idea you do go talk to someone.
But right now your son has done the right thing so let things take their course. If new evidence comes to light in time where you need to take further action, then that's what you do, but don't pre-empt something and make yourself sick with worry when you're not sure of what's going on yet.
Good Luck and Take Care.