How parents can help their addicted children towards treatment
Do you think that your child is addicted to drugs or alcohol? If you do, you probably want to believe them when they tell you they can quit any time they wish. They keep promising not to hang out with the wrong crowd and to do better in school, and you want to believe in them. If you are like a lot of parents, you will go along with it until they cause a car accident, get pregnant, or get arrested. According to a study done in 2005 by the NCAAA at Columbia University, alcoholism usually begins in the teen years and levels off at about age thirty, when the person gets treatment. If the treatment was started earlier, the addict would have had a better shot at recovery.
In treating a child or teen's addiction, it helps to think of the issue as a disease where there is no blame assessed. Addiction can cause physical and mental deterioration, damage to organs, and death if not treated. However, teens don't understand the risks a lot of times, because they think "in the moment" and not about what will happen in years to come. A big component of treating addiction in kids and teens is to get them to understand the physical consequences of the disease, such as:
*Delayed puberty and reproductive abnormalities
*Physiological changes that cause cravings
*Panic attacks, psychosis and seizures. Drugs like ecstasy are linked to heart and liver problems, PCP and LSD can damage memory permanently.
*Damage to stomach lining from alcohol; it can also cause mouth and esophageal cancer as well as liver damage
Teens that abuse drugs and alcohol aren't concerned with their health in general. They don't eat right, sleep enough or take care of their bodies because they are unaware that subpar nutrition inhibits muscle and bone growth. Drug and alcohol addiction also puts teens at risk for STDs, unplanned pregnancies and car accidents.
Substance use is often a method of self-medicating treatment for low self-esteem and depression, but the street drugs used in place of actual treatment are unregulated and dangerous, often containing toxins that can be deadly. Overdoses are quite common when teens combine drugs or take those they are not familiar with.
It's important to realize that addiction doesn't get better by itself- it usually gets worse as the teen develops a tolerance for the drug. The longer your child is addicted, the more their personal development is inhibited. The teen years are a time of change, as teens learn about life, the opposite sex and how to grow up. Those years spent in addiction cause the teen to put their real life on hold while they are chasing a high. However, there are many effective treatments for addiction; they are especially effective if your teen stays the course. Treatments such as animal therapy, individualized instruction, drug replacement, counseling and family intervention have all been shown to be effective. Your teen CAN get better and live a full life, free of drug and alcohol addiction.