Family Help For Young People
If you are worried about a young family member call the Youth Drug and Alcohol Advice helpline on . YoDAA provides advice specifically for young people and people concerned about a young person with a substance use problem.
YoDAA’s specialist alcohol and drug counsellors can offer advice over the phone or help you find more information.
The Victorian Government funds a range of youth-specific treatment services to help young people up to the age of 25 to address their alcohol and drug use issues. These services use a family-based approach where appropriate.
How Addiction Affects The Family
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Family Involvement In Adolescent Substance Abuse
Adolescents battling an SUD are often profoundly affected by it. Since adolescents are still developing social and behavioral patterns, early substance abuse can complicate future events. For example, adolescents are more likely to struggle with a lifelong SUD if they do not get help at a young age. Adolescents may also explore many drugs, seeking strong and novel highs. They may even combine several chemicals, unknowingly increasing the risk of a fatal overdose. The role of the family is important at this stage, as they can intervene into their young loved ones life to discourage drug use.
Family members may feel frustration as the adolescent skips school, gets poor grades, or befriends other teens who abuse drugs. Parents often feel anxiety over their childs whereabouts and sudden changes in their social circles. In response, primary guardian and parental figures demonstrate a wide variety of behaviors and attitudes. Some may tune in and out, being inconsistently emotionally available for their child. Others may feel denial and misdirect their anger, sparking communication breakdowns.
It also is not unheard of for a parent to abuse drugs or alcohol in response to teens abusing harmful chemicals. In such cases, parents have to be mindful of being an example of strength for children. Strong support and connection can help encourage their teens to get clean and possibly reduce the rate of relapse.
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How To Raise The Subject
People often worry that initiating a discussion with the person with the problem will lead him or her to take drastic steps. They might make a scene in front of other family members, move out of the house, drop out of school, use more excessively, try to hide their problem, or retaliate against them or other family members. However, you might find the conversation to be a wonderfully productive experience. Perhaps the person simply hasnt noticed behavioral changes or doesnt realize that his or her substance use was or is causing a problem. And without change, the problems may become so severe that the same drastic outcomes could result.
Understanding That Addiction Is A Disease
What does drug and alcohol dependency have in common with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer? They are all chronic illnesses, with roots based in genetic and environmental causes. Substance dependency is not a question of willpower. Just like you don’t choose to have cancer, you don’t choose to be an addict.
A person with a substance dependency will keep using drugs, no matter the consequence, because of chemical changes in the part of the brain’s pleasure system: the mesolimbic dopamine system . When addicts repeatedly overuse drugs, it overstimulates their pleasure system and they lose the ability to control and satisfy their cravings.
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Family Help For Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander People
The Department of Health and Human Services funds Aboriginal alcohol and drug workers in some Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations, Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and some mainstream alcohol and drug services across Victoria. The role of these specific Aboriginal alcohol and drug workers is to work in a culturally informed way with Aboriginal people and families to address problematic alcohol and drug use.
For information about accessing Aboriginal-specific services, call DirectLine on or speak with your local Aboriginal community-controlled organisation.
Teenage Addiction Affects The Family
The CDC reports underaged drinkers have more drinks per drinking occasion than their adult counterparts. At least 19% of individuals between 12 and 20 years old drink alcohol regularly due to underreporting, the figure is most likely much higher. use is more common in teens than cigarette smoking. Teenagers deal with peer pressure in school and are also constantly bombarded with temptation.
Many are still impressionable while forming their identity. Additionally, teens who have experienced parental substance abuse are more likely to abuse substances in adulthood. Teenage addiction stems from both external factors and internal factors .
Substances like Cocaine can over-stimulate teens, causing to them sleep less and perform poorly in school. Opioids may produce euphoric effects, but consequently require frequent use with damaging side effects.
When one member is addicted, the family as a whole can be negatively impacted by phenomena such as:
- Side effects
Krystina Murray has received a B.A. in English at Georgia State University, has over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 15 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys traveling, fitness, crafting, and spreading awareness of addiction recovery to help people transform their lives.
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
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Tips To Cope With An Addicts Manipulation
When you recognize that the addict in your life is manipulating you, its important to remember that you have every right to protect yourself from harm, physically, emotionally, and mentally. You are entitled to voice your own opinions and needs, and you deserve to be treated with respect. Although the person attempting to manipulate you will not like to hear these things, its essential that you start by setting boundaries.
You can still love your addicted friend or family member without sacrificing your own happiness or giving in to their manipulative ways. In fact, by standing up for yourself and refusing to be manipulated, you may even help them realize that they need to change and should seek help for their addiction.
Here are a few different ways you can immobilize the manipulation of an addict:
Get Help For Yourself First
Being in a relationship with a person who has an addiction is often stressful. It’s important that you accept that what you are going through is difficult and seek support. You also need to develop stress management strategies, which is an important step in helping your loved one as well as yourself.
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Avoid Lecturing/guilt/intimidation As A Way Of Coping
An addiction is a disease that requires professional help, counseling, and lots of work to uncover the underlying causes of the behavior.
Complicated family relationships and issues are sometimes a factor in destructive behavior.
Making your loved one feel hurt, scared, or undermined can only aggravate the situation and cause a vicious cycle of more self-medication especially if the person is not willing to admit they have a problem yet. Drug treatment requires love, support, and empathy, but also willingness on the part of the addict/alcoholic.
Actions For This Page
- Dealing with harmful drug or alcohol use can affect all members of the family.
- It is normal to feel stress and concern as a result of a family member’s drug or alcohol use.
- Talk to your doctor, counsellor or social worker as a starting point to find help for your family, or call DirectLine, Victoria’s 24-hour alcohol and drug counselling service, on 1800 888 236.
- If you are concerned about a young family member call the Youth Drug and Alcohol Advice telephone helpline on 9415 8881.
- You can learn skills and strategies to help you cope with a family member’s addiction. Call Family Drug and Gambling Help on 1300 660 068 for more information.
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Physical Activity For Coping
Engaging in physical activity can also act as a coping skill for staying on the path of sobriety. Physical activity such as walking or other exercise can strengthen the ability to remain on the path to recovery from alcohol or drugs.
Engaging in exercise can boost mood levels by stimulating the brain. Research shows that exercise can promote the formation of blood vessels in the brain and enhance repair of neural tissue. These benefit your mood and can help in the recovery process.
Drug & Alcohol Use Statistics
Drug and alcohol abuse affect millions of adults ages 18 and older in the United States. The results of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health provide the following data on drug and alcohol use:
- In 2005, 7.7 million Americans, age 12 and older, reported current use of illicit drugs.
- In 2015, an estimated 27.1 million Americans, age 12 or older, were currently using illicit drug.
- There were 138.3 million Americans aged 12 or older, in 2015, who reported current use of alcohol. Out of this group, 66.7 million people reported binge drinking in the past month..
- In American, 22.2 million people, aged 12 or older, in 2015 were current users of . Out of this group 8.3% reported using marijuana in the past month.
- About 1.6 million adults ages 18-25 and 4.3 million adults age 26 and older, in 2015, reported use of psychotherapeutic drugs, which included prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, and stimulants, for non-medical reasons.
Many of these adults are involved in some type of cohabiting relationship, and these partners are feeling the painful repercussions of alcohol or drug abuse. Whether this relationship involves marriage, a domestic partnership, or a more informal living arrangement, substance abuse affects everyone in the home, not just the individual who is addicted. Effective therapeutic interventions involve both partners as well as their children.
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It Can Be Incredibly Helpful For Parents Of Drug Addicts Coping With These Problems To Go To Therapy On Their Own
As a contributor for Advanced Recovery Systems, Renee Deveney is passionate about helping people struggling with substance use… read more
Anytime a loved one is struggling with drug addiction it can take a tremendous toll on you. You may feel like youre on a constant emotional roller coaster, full of mostly downs but some ups as well. When you love an addict, you will likely start to feel hopeless, or even blame yourself and the family and friends of drug addicts tend to experience personal negative consequences, such as depression.
Its easy to feel like you have completely lost a loved one to drugs when theyre an addict, and theyre no longer the person you once know. As hard as all that is, it can be even more difficult when its your child. As parents we want to protect our children, help them make the right choices and keep them safe, but how do you do that when theyre an addict?
As parents of drug addicts coping mechanisms are essential to preserve your own wellness, but you also need to be able to set clear boundaries in order to most effectively help your addicted child.
Why Dont Families Get Help For Drug And Alcohol Addiction
Families dont know what to do in the face of addiction, and often end up in a holding pattern. When faced with a literal life and death decision, not making a decision is better than making the wrong decision, right?
Wrong. The problem that ends up happening after a family sits in said holding pattern is that families become comfortable in the uncomfortable. Before, you wouldnt be okay with your loved one using drugs in your home, but now you begin to rationalize it.
Learn As Much As Possible About Addiction
Education can help families escape the blame game. Rather than believing that the persons addiction stems from weakness, willfulness or stubbornness, it might be helpful to understand how it actually stems from changes within the brain. Understanding that addiction is not a choice might help you let go of anger and resentment you may be feeling about your loved ones addiction.
There are many online resources that can help families learn about addiction. Most bookstores also offer a wide selection of books about the chemistry of addiction and the science behind addiction treatment.
Additionally, every day, research teams are conducting in-depth studies about drugs. Theyre learning more about how substances interact with the cells inside the brain, and theyre using that knowledge to develop new treatments that might one day either treat or prevent addictions.
Thats the sort of knowledge that can help boost a familys sense of hope. With each advancement, you can feel more confident that the addiction can be treated and conquered.
Stay In Touch With Personal Joy
Managing expectations is a little easier when individuals are responsible for their own bliss. That means every member of a recovering family needs to take time to do something thats relaxing and fulfilling. This could include:
- Playing an instrument
These activities and others like them can make the participant feel happy, preserve a sense of efficacy and worth and help boost mental health.
For example, an author for Psychology Today reports that knitters get a boost of calming chemicals in their brain cells when they sit down with needles and yarn. The hobby is repetitive, but these actions can be soothing. Its a form of meditation that allows people to slow down their active brain cells. At the end of a knitting session, people have a product to show for the time theyve spent. When life is full of activities that seem hard to complete and progress is difficult to see, a hobby that produces something tangible can be a great comfort.
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Tips For Living With A Person In Recovery From Addiction
Once your loved one has left rehab or stopped doing drugs for a significant period of time, theyre considered a person in recovery. This means theyre still vulnerable to relapses, so its important to continue offering support and building trust so your loved one can come to you if they feel the urge to use substances again.
It can take time to trust a loved one again, especially if theyve lied, exhibited harmful behaviors, or stolen from you. You may need to work with a therapist to help you both reestablish the much-needed trust your relationship needs to thrive.
Also, dont be afraid to directly ask your loved one how theyre doing in the recovery phase. Asking them about any possible urges can help them talk out their feelings rather than giving into their impulses.
Symptoms Of Alcohol Use Disorders
When someone has a substance use disorder, there are symptoms that the person displays your loved one may exhibit a few, or even all of these, which include:1
- Using more of a substance than was originally intended.
- Trying to stop using or cut back on using substances, but not being able to do so.
- Continuing to use a substance, despite being aware that the substance causes a physical or emotional problem to get worse.
- Experiencing cravings to use a substance.
- There is interpersonal conflict due to the persons use of a substance.
- The persons use of a substance results in them not fulfilling their responsibilities at work, school, or home.
- The person uses substances in high-risk situations, such as driving or swimming.
- The person spends a lot of time seeking out substances and using them.
- They will give up things that were once important to them, such as hobbies, in favor of using substances.
- The person develops tolerance to a substance, which means that they need more and more of a substance to keep getting the same effects from it.
- If the person stops using certain substances, they will experience physical symptoms of withdrawal.
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