What are boundaries?
Boundaries help to create healthy relationships. Think of them as a psychological fence between people: this is you, and this is me. We are separate. Our boundaries help to establish guidelines about suitable behavior and responsibilities. Boundaries build "win-win" relationships. I can be good to both you and me through healthy boundaries. If I close the door when I enter the bathroom, I am establishing a physical and psychological boundary: Closing or locking the door means I want to be alone when I’m in the bathroom.
Boundaries are essential if your loved one is an alcoholic or addict. As you claim your power with boundaries, you raise the likelihood that your loved one gets better. Boundary setting is absolutely essential when you're dealing with addiction, particularly teenage drug abuse.
Who needs boundaries?
Everyone needs to have healthy boundaries in relationships. There are three types of people who particularly need boundaries.
1. DOORMATS~Some people have been raised to believe that martyrdom, self-denial and incessant caretaking are righteous virtues to be practiced to the point of misery. When people are doormats, they allow others to take advantage of them.
2. ENABLERS~Then there are parents who want to make sure their children have everything they didn't get, and they protected them from every problem and emotion. It's the other side of the coin and it's just as bad. These people create a sense of over-entitlement, over-protection and inflated self esteem in their children.
3. PLEASERS~ Some people focus so much on pleasing others that they don’t focus on taking care of themselves. They avoid conflict, and have no sense of who they are, what they feel, need, want, or think. They take on the feelings of others as if they are their own. Sometimes they tolerate abuse or disrespectful treatment and can’t see the flaws or weaknesses in others.
Why have boundaries?
· Boundaries are important to help protect and care for oneself. If you’re not getting the respect that you deserve, take a look at your boundaries.
· Boundaries are also an important part of raising children. You can’t be a good parent without good boundaries. Not only do you value yourself as you establish boundaries, you're teaching your children to value themselves.
· Boundaries help you to define yourself. Without boundaries, you won’t know who you are, what you want, or how you feel.
· Boundaries help to minimize stress and conflict in a relationship. With clear boundaries, there’s nothing to argue about.
Telltale signs that you need better boundaries
· You’re constantly telling him what to do.
· You’re warning him about what will happen if he doesn’t do it.
· You’re bringing up the past of what he did wrong.
· You’re giving him solutions when he hasn’t asked for them.
· You’re preaching about what people should and shouldn’t do.
· You’re criticizing.
· You’re mind-reading.
· You’re sending guilt trips.
How Do You Set Healthy Boundaries?
Setting healthy boundaries involves taking care of yourself and knowing what you like, need, want, and don’t want. It also involves (1) going inside of yourself to figure out what you feel and then (2) clearly communicating that with the other person.
Examples of clear boundaries:
1. “Yes, I’ll be happy to drive you to the mall as soon as you’re finished with your chores.”
2. “I want to hear about your day. I’ll be free to give you my full attention in 15 minutes."
3. “You can borrow my CDs just as soon as you replace the one that you damaged.”
4. “If you put your dirty clothes in the hamper by 9:00 Saturday morning, I’ll be happy to wash them for you.”
5. “Can I give Jessica a message? Our calling hours are from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. I’ll let her know that you called.”
6. “I’m sorry; that doesn’t work for me. I won’t be loaning you money until you have paid me what I loaned you previously.”
7. “You’re welcome to live here while you’re going to college as long as you follow our rules.”
8. “I’m not willing to argue with you.”
9. “I’ll be happy to talk with you when your voice is as calm as mine.”
10. “I love you and I’m not willing to call in sick for you when you’ve been drinking.”
Boundaries need to be clear, specific, and clearly communicated. You may need to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it before doing so. Practice with someone else who can help you. Good luck!
Most of this article is from NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse)
Many people do not understand why individuals become addicted to drugs or how drugs change the brain to foster compulsive drug abuse. They mistakenly view teenage drug abuse as a parenting problem and may characterize those who take drugs as morally weak. One very common belief is that drug abusers should be able to just stop taking drugs if they are only willing to change their behavior. What people often underestimate is the complexity of drug addiction—that it is a disease that impacts the brain and because of that, stopping drug abuse is not simply a matter of willpower.It's a brain disease.
Through scientific advances we now know much more about how exactly drugs work in the brain, and we also know that drug addiction can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs and resume their productive lives.
What happens to your brain when you take drugs?
Drugs are chemicals that tap into the brain’s communication system and disrupt the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. There are at least two ways that drugs are able to do this: (1) by imitating the brain’s natural chemical messengers, and/or (2) by overstimulating the “reward circuit” of the brain.
Some drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, have a similar structure to chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, which are naturally produced by the brain. Because of this similarity, these drugs are able to “fool” the brain’s receptors and activate nerve cells to send abnormal messages.
Other drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, can cause the nerve cells to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters, or prevent the normal recycling of these brain chemicals, which is needed to shut off the signal between neurons. This disruption produces a greatly amplified message that ultimately disrupts normal communication patterns.
Nearly all drugs, directly or indirectly, target the brain’s reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that control movement, emotion, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. The overstimulation of this system, which normally responds to natural behaviors that are linked to survival (eating, spending time with loved ones, etc.), produces euphoric effects in response to the drugs. This reaction sets in motion a pattern that “teaches” people to repeat the behavior of abusing drugs.
As a person continues to abuse drugs, the brain adapts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of dopamine receptors in the reward circuit. As a result, dopamine’s impact on the reward circuit is lessened, reducing the abuser’s ability to enjoy the drugs and the things that previously brought pleasure. This decrease compels those addicted to drugs to keep abusing drugs in order to attempt to bring their dopamine function back to normal. And, they may now require larger amounts of the drug than they first did to achieve the dopamine high—an effect known as tolerance.
Long-term abuse causes changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that influences the reward circuit and the ability to learn. When the optimal concentration of glutamate is altered by drug abuse, the brain attempts to compensate, which can impair cognitive function. Drugs of abuse facilitate nonconscious (conditioned) learning, which leads the user to experience uncontrollable cravings when they see a place or person they associate with the drug experience, even when the drug itself is not available. Brain imaging studies of drug-addicted individuals show changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decisionmaking, learning and memory, and behavior control. Together, these changes can drive an abuser to seek out and take drugs compulsively despite adverse consequences—in other words, to become addicted to drugs.
Why do some people become addicted, while others do not?
No single factor can predict whether or not a person will become addicted to drugs. Risk for addiction is influenced by a person’s biology, social environment, and age or stage of development. The more risk factors an individual has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction. For example:
The genes that people are born with––in combination with environmental influences––account for about half of their addiction vulnerability. Additionally, gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental disorders may influence risk for drug abuse and addiction.
A person’s environment includes many different influences––from family and friends to socioeconomic status and quality of life in general. Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, stress, and parental involvement can greatly influence the course of drug abuse and addiction in a person’s life.
Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a person’s life to affect addiction vulnerability, and adolescents experience a double challenge. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it is to progress to more serious abuse. And because adolescents’ brains are still developing in the areas that govern decisionmaking, judgment, and self-control, they are especially prone to risk-taking behaviors, including trying drugs of abuse.
Teenage drug abuse is a serious problem and you don't want your child to have self-destructive habits. You, in fact, did drugs yourself. You know a lot about it and you have valuable opinions. Addiction can lead to a lot of misery. A few things to consider when talking to your kid:
1. This isn't about you.
We all want to warn our kids against the dangers of drug abuse. But the single biggest reason so many of us are reluctant to start the conversation is because we're afraid we'll be asked that uncomfortable question: "Mom, Dad...did you do drugs?" So let's start by stating the obvious: This isn't about what you did or didn't do. It's about what your child is going to do or not do. So let's talk about how your personal experiences might help steer your child in a good direction.
2. Experts disagree.
For every therapist who recommends openness and honesty about your past, another advises caution. The fact is, you can say too much. A good place to start is by considering your child. Some kids demand candor. Others are happy just to talk. Use your judgment. You know your kids better than anyone.
3. When to lie.
In our opinion? Never. Some parents who used drugs in the past choose not to tell the truth, but risk losing their credibility if their kids discover the real story from a talkative uncle at a family party. Many experts recommend you give an honest answer--or no answer at all.
4. The whole truth?
Try to avoid giving your child more information than she or he asked for. (No need to reveal you smoked marijuana 132 times!) This is not a courtroom; it's a conversation.
5. Say what you mean to say.
Like other important conversations you'll have with your kids, the point you're trying to make is what really matters. In this case, it's crucial your kids understand that you don't want them to use drugs. Don't beat about the bush; say so. ("I don't want you to use drugs.") Then give your reasons why. ("Drugs are dangerous, expensive, unpredictable, distracting...") And yes, it's okay to have a lot of reasons.
6. What have you learned?
Before you talk, take stock. You've lived your entire life in a culture where drugs are a fact of life. From the headlines on TV to your own experiences, you've seen too many examples of how drugs can change young lives for the worse. Your own experiences with drugs are just part of the bigger picture. The real opportunity here is to share what you've learned.
7. You could say it like this:
"I tried drugs because some kids I knew were experimenting, and I thought I needed to try drugs to fit in. It took me a while to discover that's never a very good reason to do anything. Do you ever feel pressured like that?"
8. Or like this:
"Everyone makes mistakes and trying drugs was a mistake I made. It made me do some dumb things. And it's hard to look back and see that I got anything good out of the experience. I love you too much to watch you repeat bad decisions I made."
9. Or even like this:
"My experience with drugs is no guarantee that yours would be the same. Drugs affect everyone differently. So I wanted to share my experiences with you, because even if drugs didn't ruin my life, I've seen them ruin other people's lives. And God forbid you should be one of those people."
10. Don't just talk. Listen.
You can anticipate that your child's first reaction when you raise the subject of drugs will be to be quiet. So do your darndest to make it a two-way conversation. Ask what they think. Ask if it's a subject their friends talk about. Ask what they think of celebrities who use drugs. Keep asking questions. And listen to the answers.
11. Stay calm.
Whatever happens, try not to raise your voice. If you do lose your temper, try to catch yourself. It's okay to admit that these conversations aren't easy for you, either. And if things aren't going so well, suggest talking about it again another time. ("I didn't mean to surprise you or make you feel awkward. Let's talk again in a day or two.")
12. Good luck.
Yes, it's difficult to know how to talk to your kids about drugs. You don't want them to hold your history up as some kind of a precedent to follow, or as a tool to use against you. But you may be able to use your life experiences as a teachable moment. So even if you're nervous, don't put off having the conversation. This isn't about your past. This is about your child's future.
This article as been reprinted by permission from drugfree.org.
Teenage drug abuse is a growing problem. Here are some commitments you can make to help your addicted teen. These suggestions are intended to help families who are working with a therapist. The therapist can point out which commitments will be most helpful to your family.
_____I’m willing to sit down and listen to my child. Really listen. I’m willing to do this often. I’ll ask my teen what I am doing that gets on his/her nerves. I’ll listen and take notes.
_____I’m willing to give up nagging, lecturing, guilt-tripping, yelling, judging, and moralizing.
_____I’m willing to “let the cat out of the bag.” I know that it takes a village to raise a child. Therefore, I’m willing to set aside my pride, abandon secrecy (except where it would be harmful to do so), sit down with my family and extended family to explain the nature of the problem, ask for help, brainstorm solutions, and really listen to suggestions from family.
_____I’m willing to spend time with my teen every week. Lots of time. I’m willing to attend family activities that may or may not be especially fun for me. I'm willing to spend time, even though I have a lot of work to do. I’m willing to enforce time together with my teen, even if he/she doesn’t want to spend time together.
_____I’m willing to set and enforce strict boundaries about drug/alcohol usage around my family. If my teen’s friend smokes, drinks, or uses drugs, that teen will not be allowed to come to our home. I realize I can’t control what happens outside the home. If I have using friends or family members, they won’t be allowed in the home if they are drunk, stoned, or high. We will not visit them when they are drunk, stoned, or high. No exceptions.
_____I’m willing to educate myself about becoming a drug-free family. I’m willing to read website articles, research areas where I know I’m weak, talk to other parents about the problem, humble myself so that I can listen for help, and ask for resource materials if I can’t find any. I’m willing to attend therapy or classes so that I can learn.
_____I’m willing to improve my parenting skills so that I’m an appropriate parent—not a drill sergeant, not a helicopter, not a marshmallow, and not a friend. I need to be firm, fair, and friendly. If necessary, I’ll sign up for a community class on parenting. I’ll read books on the subject, watch videos, research the internet, and listen to audiobooks. I realize that a strong, healthy relationship with my teen is absolutely vital.
_____I’m willing to look at my own addictions. If I smoke, drink alcohol in excess, or use drugs (even excessive reliance on prescription medications), I’ll get the help I need so that I can quit. If I have other addictions, such as being a workaholic, churchaholic, rageaholic, foodaholic, or even chocaholic, I’ll get myself into treatment so that I can stop. I want to set a good example for my teen. Addiction runs in families. Ultimately, there are no secrets in a family. Sooner or later everyone knows anyway. Better to be honest if I want my teen to be honest.
_____I’ll look at my codependency. I realize that everyone in the family plays a role in the problem. Therefore, I have a role in this also. I’ll seek to find out what my role has been, and how I can change it. Perhaps I’ve been an enabler. I will take the problem seriously and work very hard to quit enabling. I’ll seek help from others, perhaps attend Al Anon, and ask how I can stop enabling.
_____I’ll look for community resources to address our family needs. If I’m a single parent, I’ll find a substitute parent of the opposite sex, a role model, to spend time with my teen.
Copyright © 2009 Kathie Keeler, All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, or transferred by any print or electronic means without the express written consent of the copyright owner. Thank you!
Relapses are Painful
"Relapse should not be viewed as a failure; it is part of a learning process that eventually leads to recovery," says Susan Merle Gordon, Ph.D. Even though relapses are painful for the addict and hurtful to the addict’s loved ones, a relapse can often help the addict discover where his efforts have been incomplete. Unfortunately, many people are under the mistaken impression that a relapse with drugs means that the program failed. Let’s examine why this belief is mistaken.
Addiction is a Disease
Although addiction starts with a choice to use drugs or alcohol, it can progress to disease proportions in many people. Addiction is a pervasive, progressive, chronic disease. Pervasive means that it affects every area of the person’s life. Progressive means that it gets worse and worse over time. Chronic diseases are diseases of long duration and generally slow progression. Examples of chronic diseases and conditions are heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias, and cancer.
Three Dog Nightmare
Chuck Negron, vocalist and founding member of the band, Three Dog Night, is a good example of how the disease of addiction can progress. Although he’s an extreme case, his struggle with addiction is illuminating. Remaining in the grip of addiction for nearly 20 years, Negron wasted away to 126 pounds and went through 36 rehab programs. In his book Three Dog Nightmare, he details his ordeal with this painful disease. He sold his gold records to subsidize his $2000 a day heroin habit. He talks about overdoses, car crashes, gun play, suicide attempts, and contracting hepatitis C. Did he hit bottom? Many, many times. And yet the disease of addiction ruled his life for decades. He has been clean and sober since his 37th rehab. That doesn’t mean that the 36 prior rehabilitation programs were a waste of time and money. He clearly states that he learned important things from each one of the recovery programs that he went through. And he slowly made important life changes that helped him on his journey to sobriety. And as he matured, he began to look at his selfish, self-destructive path with more clarity. Each one of those 37 rehabs played a part in his recovery and helped him to look at himself.
How Many People Relapse?
Terence Gorski, internationally-famous lecturer and author on relapse and addiction states: “Relapse is not necessarily a sign of treatment failure. Between one half and two-thirds of all patients treated will relapse, but at least one half of all relapsers will find long-term recovery. The belief that relapse means that treatment failed ignores the fact that, for many patients, recovery involves a series of relapse episodes. Each relapse, if properly dealt with in treatment, can become the learning experience which makes the patient less likely to relapse in the future."
A woman that I’ve seen off and on in psychotherapy for the past 10 years has made great progress in addressing her chronic disease. Her path in addressing obesity has been typical of so many recovering addicts. She gained and lost well over 1000 pounds. She would diet, then binge. She felt sabotaged by every social event, birthday party, special holiday and Sunday dinner. She “cheated” on her diet (a relapse in recovery terms) many times and gave up on herself many times. As we slowly worked on her self esteem and identity, she made baby steps in changing her habits. Today she is at her ideal weight and has been at that weight for three years. Has she completely conquered obesity? Heavens, no. She’ll need to be vigilant about her habits the rest of her life. But she is absolutely not sabotaging her health the way that she was ten years ago. “Cheating” today involves eating a 1 inch square of birthday cake (rather than the whole cake ten years ago).
This Disease is Complex
The disease of addiction is extremely complex. Overcoming it involves learning new skills, new habits, allowing the brain (and organs) time to recover, making new friends, and learning how to make self-enhancing choices. This takes time—often years. Parents who take teenage drug abuse seriously and get help for their teens are helping this process to begin. Any stepping stone along the path to recovery is helpful.
Recovery is a Process
And this process takes time. Recovery is not an event. That's why you don't hear people in AA say, "I'm a recovered alcoholic. They say, "I'm an alcoholic." They don't know what tomorrow will bring. None of us want them to relapse, but it's not uncommon if it does happen.
The ultimate purpose of treatment is to keep the patient alive until the addiction is finally controlled. Addiction too often results in suicide or accidental death by overdose, experimentation, or contaminated products.
Copyright © 2009 Kathie Keeler, All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced, stored, or transferred by any print or electronic means without the express written consent of the copyright owner.
There are a lot of misconceptions about drug abuse and treatment. Here are a few of them:
MYTH #1: You have to want treatment for it to be effective.
FACT: A very small percentage of people voluntarily seek treatment. People get into treatment for two reasons: either they were court-ordered into it or because loved ones urged them to do so. One research study after the next shows that people who enter treatment in which they face "high pressure" to confront their addictions do better in treatment than those who don't. The reason that they sought treatment in the first place is relatively insignificant.
MYTH #2: People don't need treatment. They can stop using drugs if they really want to.
FACT: People who are addicted find it extremely difficult to achieve and maintain long-term abstinence. Long-term drug abuse actually changes a person's brain function, causing them to crave the drug even more over time. In the case of teenage drug abuse, it is absolutely critical to intervene and stop substance abuse as early as possible. This is because children become addicted much faster than adults. Consequently, they risk greater physical, mental, and psychological harm from illegal drug use.
MYTH #3: You have to hit "rock bottom" in order for treatment to be effective.
FACT: There are many things that can motivate a person to complete substance abuse treatment before they hit bottom. For teens, parents and the schools are often the driving forces in getting them into treatment once problems at home or in school develop. Pressure from family members and employers can be powerful motivating factors for individuals seeking treatment.
MYTH #4: Drug addiction is voluntary behavior.
FACT: Drug use starts as voluntary behavior. That's a fact. But as time passes, the brain changes. The person goes from being a voluntary drug user to a compulsive drug user. Sometimes this happens in very dramatic ways, and sometimes it happens in very subtle, slow ways. The end result is that drug abuse becomes compulsive behavior; the use is out of control and sometimes even uncontrollable.
MYTH: #5: Treatment just doesn't work.
FACT: Treatment can help people. Studies show that treatment reduces drug use by 40 to 60 percent and can significantly decrease criminal activity during and after treatment. There is also evidence that drug addiction treatment reduces the risk of HIV infection and improves the prospects for employment, with gains of up to 40 percent after treatment.
MYTH #6: Treatment for drug addiction should be a one-shot deal
FACT: Addiction tends to be a progressive, chronic, and pervasive disease. Certainly some people can quit after deciding to or after entering a treatment program. But most of those who have a drug abuse or drug dependent disorder require longer-term treatment and, in many cases, repeated treatments.
MYTH #7: Drug addiction is a moral problem, a character flaw.
FACT: Drug addiction is a brain disease. Changes in the brain range from changes in the molecules and cells that make up the brain, to mood changes, to changes in memory processes and in such motor skills as walking and talking. And these changes have a huge influence on all aspects of a person's behavior. The drug becomes the single most powerful motivator in a drug abuser's life. He or will do almost anything for the drug. This happens because drug use has changed the person's brain and its functioning in critical ways. (See Addiction--The Hijacked Brain)
MYTH #8: You can't force someone into treatment.
FACT: Treatment does not have to be voluntary. People forced into treatment by the legal system can be just as successful as those who enter treatment voluntarily. Actually, they sometimes do better, as they are more likely to remain in treatment longer and complete the program. Nearly half of the teens in treatment are there because of the criminal justice system.
MYTH #9: People can successfully finish drug abuse treatment in a couple of weeks if they're truly motivated.
FACT: Research indicates a minimum of 90 days of treatment for outpatient drug-free programs and residential programs, and 21 days for a short-term inpatient program to have an effect. To maintain the treatment effect, followup supervision and support are essential. In all recovery programs the best predictor of success is the length of treatment. Clients who remain at least a year or more than twice as likely to remain drug free, and a recent study showed teens who met or exceeded the minimum treatment time were over one and a half times more likely to abstain from drug and alcohol use. However, completing a treatment program is merely the first step in the struggle for recovery that can extend throughout a person's life.
MYTH #10: Drug addicts are hopeless.
FACT: Drug addiction is a chronic disorder; relapse does not mean failure. A relapse can be triggered by so many things: playgrounds where they have used previously, playmates that they have used with previously, and playthings that trigger subconscious memories, in addition to family problems, work stress, and school stress. Recovery is a long process and frequently requires multiple treatment attempts before complete and consistent sobriety can be achieved.
Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Health; Dr. Alan I. Leshner, former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse; “The Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide” (October 1999); The Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
- Minimizing-- “It’s not so bad. He only smokes pot.”
- Accepting the Con-- Your child manipulates you. You choose to believe him or her.
- Ignoring the Advice of “outsiders” “It’s none of their business.”
- The Blame Game--(to your ex) “I hope you’re happy now. Look what you’ve done to your son.”
- Looking for Another Cause--“Tell me it’s anything but drugs.” A learning disability, depression, a health problem, ADHD
- Kids Will Be Kids--“When I was his age, I used drugs, too. I turned out OK.”
- Everything’s Fine-- If I ignore this situation, maybe it will all go away.
- Rationalizing “He’s had a hard life because he has diabetes.”
Sometimes when parents come out of the fog of denial, they become very hard on themselves and start blaming themselves excessively. For those parents who are blaming themselves, my advice is this:
It won't help the situation to blame yourself. Did you bend her little elbow to take that first drink? Did you hold his fingers to hold that first joint of marijuana? No matter what problems exist in the family, ask yourself this: WHO USED? Your teen used OF HIS OWN FREE WILL. Don’t forget that. He did it knowing that it violates values and rules in our society. He did it knowing right from wrong. He did it FEARING that he would be caught. HE did it. Not you. He didn’t do it because you were too strict with him or because his parents got a divorce or because you work too hard. He probably first did it because his friends told him it felt good and he was curious. Or maybe he just wanted to be liked. Blaming yourself will NOT help your teen.
Denial--It ain't just a river in Egypt. These questions may help you to pull your head out of the sand (in case it is). With teenage drug abuse being the enormous problem that it is now, any of these questions could strike a nerve; you may have a problem. If several of them seem frighteningly familiar, you probably do have a problem. And if you recognize them, you could need further help.
- Does your child have red eyes most of the time? Does he have his own supply of eye drops?
- Are you ignoring changes in your child’s behavior? Changes in his personality? Changes in his grades?
- Do you attribute unacceptable behavior to “being a teenager”?
- Do you blame your spouse or “the divorce” for your child’s problems?
- When your spouse or outsiders suggest that your child may have a problem with drugs or alcohol, do you listen? Or do you just get mad at the accuser?
- Are you feeling like a failure as a parent?
- Do you buy your child’s story that the drugs and/or paraphernalia that was found in his room or his car “belongs to a friend”?
- If you are a working mother, do you blame yourself for your child’s problems because you’re not in the home? If you’re a working father, do you blame yourself for your child’s problems because you have to work such long hours or you’re on the road a lot?
- If you went into your child’s room right now, would you find any signs of drugs? What would you do if you did?
- Are you blaming divorce or the absence of one parent in the home for your child’s behavior?
- Are you feeling anxious about the problems your child is having adjusting to growing up?
- Has your child admitted to trying marijuana? Will he talk to you about it?
- Does your child say that he only “smoked pot”? Do you believe him?
If you have answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may want to seek the help of a therapist.
Teenage drug abuse is rampant. One of the protective factors that you can add is setting the rules for having a drug-free family. If you choose to have a drug-free family, here are the six basic rules:
1. No illegal drug use by anyone in the family or anyone who comes into the home
2. No misuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs by anyone
3. No alcohol use by minority-age kids in the family
4. No routine use of alcohol or cigarettes by adults—that is, no use pattern that communicates drinking or smoking as an important or necessary daily function
5. No intoxication by adults
6. No use of drugs to lose weight, gain weight, go to sleep, relax, or wake up
HOW TO SPOT AN ABUSER
Acts as a depressant, dehydration, hyperactivity, nausea, headache, heartburn, thirst, giddiness
Insomnia, delirium, hallucinations, convulsions, loss of memory
Puffy face, red eyes, depressed, disoriented
|Inhalants—gasoline, lighter fluid, wite-out, aerosol cans of any type||
Very alert, keen senses, possible hallucinations, dizziness, tightness in the chest.
Hands become dry, chapped and may peel, brain damage, death
Slow mental and physical response to conversations, scrambled words, disconnected sentences, teen smells like the substance used
Noctec, Somnos, Nembutal, Seconal, Valium, Miltown, Quaalude, Ativan
Slurred speech, loss of coordination, disorientation, drunken behavior
Shallow breathing, cold and clammy skin, dilated pupils, weak and rapid pulse, coma, death
The appearance of drunkenness without the smell of alcohol. Sedated behavior
Marijuana (pot, grass, bud, joint, reefer)
Euphoria, relaxed inhibitions, disoriented behavior
Fatigue, paranoia, possible psychosis
Abusers may appear exhilarated or very relaxed, stare off into space, be hilarious without apparent cause, have an exaggerated sense of their abilities. Red eyes.
Hallucinogens (LSD, PCP, Peyote, Mescaline)
Poor perception of time and distance, Illusions and hallucinations
Longer and more intense “trip” episodes, psychosis, death
May undergo personality changes, “see” smells, “hear” colors. They may try to fly, brush imaginary insects from their body. Irrational behavior. Marked depersonalization
Cold sweats accompanied by hallucinations
Stomach cramps, nausea, blackouts
Beady eyes, nervous, uptight, erratic behavior, sweaty, laughing and crying
Opium, morphine, heroin, Dilaudid, Paregoric, Percodan
Euphoria, drowsiness, respiratory depression, constricted pupils, nausea
Slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, death
Constricted pupils, calm, inattentive, “on the nod,” with slow pulse and respiration
Stimulants: Cocaine, methamphetamines, dexedrine and others
Increased alertness, excitation, dilated pupils, Increased pulse rate and blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite
Agitation, hallucinations, convulsions, psychosis, death
Increase in activity, abnormal cheerfulness, jumpiness, irritability, hallucinations, paranoid tendencies