Addiction Resources For Parents

As a parent, one of the most difficult things that you can experience is your child developing a drug addiction. Fortunately, there are a number of steps that you can take to reduce the risks associated with addiction.

Learning how to properly talk to your children about drugs and alcohol is important for helping to prevent them from developing addictions. If your children or teens have already fallen into addiction, there are a number of treatment options that you can pursue to set them on the right path again.

Teenage Substance Abuse and Statistics

Drug and alcohol use among teenagers is relatively common. However, in recent years, more teenagers have been smoking marijuana and less teenagers have been using ‘harder’ drugs like cocaine, methamphetamines, and sedatives. Even the use of alcohol and tobacco has declined to its lowest point since 1975, according to the 2018 Monitoring the Future survey.

One consideration for this is the increasing legality of marijuana. Despite being culturally referred to as a ‘gateway drug,’ it seems that nowadays more teenagers have access to marijuana and are choosing to indulge in the plant rather than more dangerous drugs.

Party substances, such as MDMA, as well as psychedelics like magic mushrooms, are also being used less frequently.

While there is still some issue with the abuse of prescription pain medication, statistics have also improved. In 2009, 9.2% of school-aged teenagers had abused prescription painkillers, but as of 2018 only 4.8% of teenagers have.

One consideration to take in mind is the misconstrued belief that pharmaceuticals are safer than street drugs. Many teenagers decide to use prescribed pharmaceuticals under the belief that they’re less harmful than illicit street drugs. Many pharmaceuticals carry the same risk of overdose, heart damage, or physical health problems when they’re abused.

Teenagers are drinking less alcohol these days than ever before, but that doesn’t mean that underage drinking isn’t a problem. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), as many as 7.7 million Americans between the age of 12 and 20 consumed alcohol at least once a month.

The majority of these younger people participate in binge drinking, a term used to describe the rapid consumption of large numbers of drinks in a short period of time. Binge drinking makes it much more likely that people will experience undesirable side effects of alcohol consumption.

Talking to Kids About Addiction

While it might be a difficult conversation to have, it’s very important to talk to your kids about addiction. Providing them with the right information can be the guiding factor that steers them away from drug use.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to figure out how to approach your children.

While it might be a difficult conversation to have, it’s very important to talk to your kids about addiction. Providing them with the right information can be the guiding factor that steers them away from drug use.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to figure out how to approach your children.

Talking to Children Before They Use Drugs

It’s a good idea to open up a dialogue with children early on. This can help them develop skills to avoid peer pressure should they be exposed to drugs.

The first thing that you can do is ask them what they think about drugs. Pose the question casually and conversationally. This will allow you to get a clear understanding of what they think about drugs.
If they don’t seem interested, or if they’re visibly uncomfortable, let them know that you’re willing to talk whenever they’re ready.

Be very receptive. Listen to all of their questions and provide answers to the best of your knowledge. If they have incorrect information, make sure that you give them the correct information.

Try not to use scare tactics to frighten them away from drugs. Providing accurate information is the best way to dissuade children from using drugs.

Talking to Teens and Children Who Use Drugs

If you have discovered that your child is using drugs, you may experience feelings of shame, anger, or frustration. This is natural. However, it’s important that you don’t let these feelings fall squarely onto your child’s shoulders.

Make sure that you learn to communicate your emotions properly. Remember, these feelings arise because you’re concerned about your child. You want to let them know that you’re worried and that you want them to make healthy choices. Avoid shouting, accusing them, or judging them.

The words you choose and the way that you say them can have a huge impact on your child’s receptivity. Refrain from calling your children addicts, druggies, or junkies, as this is often perceived in a negative way and can lead to them distancing themselves from you.

Do your best to keep any condescending or judgmental tones from your voice, as these can also deter your children. You want to find a stable way in which the two of you can communicate.

Your goal here is not to condemn them for their choices, but rather to educate them about the possible consequences of these choices. If you approach them in a kind, compassionate, and non-judgmental way you will be more likely to reach them.

Treatment Options for Teenage Drug Users

Some teenagers use drugs briefly and decide that they’re not for them. Some become functional users and are able to maintain their grades and jobs. Others, unfortunately, become seriously addicted to drugs and their lives begin to suffer as a consequence.

If your teenager has developed a serious addiction, then the next step you are going to want to take is rehab.

What’s Involved in Rehab?

Rehab is a form of treatment that provides drug users with the skills, tools, and coping mechanisms that they need to return to life sober. There are a number of different things involved in rehab.

  • Counseling and therapy. Counseling and therapy are the backbone of addiction rehab. These treatments will help your child understand the reasons that led to them using drugs. Many children become interested in drugs because they help them overcome a mental or emotional issue that they didn’t know they were struggling with.
  • Group meetings. Many rehab centers offer group meetings to their members or encourage them to attend group meetings in the local area. Some group meetings, such as Al-Anon, can be useful for the parents of addicted children.

There are two main types of rehab: inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab.

  • Inpatient rehab is a more intensive form of rehab, generally for people who have serious addictions and who have already failed to complete an outpatient rehab program. If your child goes to inpatient rehab, they won’t be able to leave until the program’s complete. This would interfere with school.
  • Outpatient rehab is less intensive and allows patients to come and go from the facility as they please. This is a much more manageable option for most school students. You will have access to the same degree of therapy and counseling but there is much more freedom.

Conclusion

It’s important to talk to your children about drugs and alcohol. Learning how to communicate with them effectively is the best way to prevent them from developing a serious or life-threatening addiction.

If your teenager is already addicted to drugs, don’t hesitate to talk to them about it. If it’s necessary, consider checking them into a rehab facility.

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