Teen Drug Addiction and the Family

Parents and families face some of their most difficult battles in our society; that is raising their teenager’s drug free. The goal of this article is to help families realize that they are not alone and that there is help and support available. These support systems include valuable resources, which stress prevention and ways to cope with their teens when facing addiction.

Most of us know that anti-drug efforts alone are not enough. Our youth need effective tools and support to make correct choices. Learning what works in preventing the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs will help you by showing what to look for in the users. Look for any self-destructive behavior, such as:
Teenagers coming home intoxicated or high.
Anorexic behaviors – not eating right or excessively thin.
Gambling with friends every day or night.
Always on the computer without any breaks.
Playing video games all the time.

Please place the responsibility for the way your teen lives into the proper perspective and allow them to be accountable for their choices. Love them no matter what is going on in their life, but do not enable them by allowing these destructive behaviors to continue.

Catching and punishing teens does not always work; most teens seem to become more surly, rebellious, and defiant. In order to tackle the problem of substance abuse, we need to identify, help, and listen for new ways to explore and fight the use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco products. Please keep in mind that the disease of addiction is a family disease. The alcoholic/ addict is obsessed with doing the drug, and the family is obsessed with the problem.

Some people may think that just mentioning drugs to a teenager will make them want to explore usage even more. According to research, this idea is a myth. What is encouraged is that the parents talk to their children about addiction and how it affects people’s lives in negative ways.

One of the best tools found to help families in crises is effective communication skills. By keeping communication an open door, you will find that it is very useful for putting together a plan of action that you and the family can agree upon. Try addressing this issue toward kids and as if you are the audience. We as parents are either part of the problem, or part of the solution. What is your position going to be? Look at the here and now, what can I do right now?

Move on to the future and find things that you can do right now to help your teen. Try not to live in past; this will make the person you are trying to help agitated or upset. With addiction comes a lot of damage; material and emotional. In the wake of the episodes that the addict can create, remember that you are not alone. There are people around you that care. Those that have been and are in the trenches of this disease can help the addict when no one else can.

By allowing your child to interact with a third party you will find that recovery often goes better, because often times the family is too emotionally close to the addict to be of any real help. Please realize that you are the parents and you are not responsible for the disease of addiction. Get help before it is too late. Remember that this disease does not discriminate against anyone or anything.

Mary Barr. Stephen J. Murray, NICD Director. “My son/daughter is Using Drugs- Am I to Blame” http://www.nicd.us/adaskresourcespartnine.html

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