ADOLESCENTS & THE ROLE OF FAMILY & FRIENDS IN ERADICATING THIS SOCIAL EVIL DRUG ADDICTION.
What does Alcohol & Drug Abuse do to us?
Reduced senses of right and wrong leading to high risk behaviours and sexual activity.
It affects the perception and impairs ability to process. This can cause negative consequences
Addiction of drugs leads to sex
Sharing needles and syringes put them on high risk of STD like aids
Illicit drugs used often carry bacterial and fungal contaminants.
Poor nutrition, and an imbalanced state of health further increase the risk of disease and infection.
If someone dear to you is trapped with addictions (Alcohol/drugs) your care and support can make a difference !
WHO NEEDS SUPPORT
Any person who uses drugs/alcohol has relatively high chances of progressing to drug abuse & even addiction.This can occur so insidiously that sometimes he/she may not realise that their drinking/drugging has become a real problem for themselves and those around them. A drug addict may experience some or a combination of the below symptoms at one point or another.
Craving for drugs/alcohol.
Difficulty in controlling the level of use.
Experiencing withdrawal when not taking drugs/alcohol.
Increasing the quantity used.
Neglecting of other activities.
Continuing use of the drugs despite clear evidence of harmful consequences.
Not realizing the reality around him or her.
WHAT TYPE OF SUPPORT:
The kind of support may vary between individuals based on their personal behavioural traits and the drug/alcohol of abuse.
Support from family/friends/peers.
Motivation for accessing support services.
HOW DO YOU SUPPORT:
Some points to ponder:
Focus on the person and his feelings.
Respond to the circumstances as they exist/may occur.
Be patient & compassionate.
Be active and get involved.
Stay friendly, supportive and non threatening.
Communicate, acknowledge, reflect and reassure.
ROLE OF FAMILY:
Families play an important role in influencing the course and outcome of the substance use problems. In an Indian scenario, where family systems are much more intact than in Western societies and families do have say in the matters of individuals, it is important to involve the family members in the process of treatment and recovery. Often the family members have been adversely affected as a result of adverse inter personal, psychosocial or financial consequences of drug use.They may have little or no trust in the treatment efforts of the substance user and may not be willing to extend the help or support required by the patient. Continued familial conflicts are likely to create a high risk situation for an early relapse and fail to provide the resources necessary to work towards the goal of recovery. It is therefore important to psychoeducate the family members about the various aspects of the drug substance use and it’s treatment.
WARNING SIGNS OF TEEN DRUG ABUSE:
Having bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils, using eye drops to mask these signs.
Skipping classes ,declining grades, suddenly getting into trouble at school.
Acting uncharacteristically isolated, withdrawn, angry or depressed.
Dropping one group of friends for another, being secretive about the new peer group.
Loss of interest in old hobbies
Demanding more privacy, locking doors, avoiding eye contact, sneaking around.
STEPS PARENTS CAN TAKE:
Lay down rules and consequences: Your teen should understand that using drugs comes with specific consequences.
Don’t make hollow threats or set rules that you cannot enforce.
Make sure your spouse agrees with the rules and is prepared to enforce them too.
Monitor your teens activity, know where your teen goes and with whom he/she hangs out; it’s also important to routinely check potential hiding places for drugs as for example in backpacks, between books, in a shelf.
Explain to your teen that this lack of privacy is a consequence of him/her having been caught using drugs.
Encourage other interests and social activities
Expose your teen to healthy hobbies and activities, such as team sports
Check if there has been recent major stress in a family like a move/divorce/death
Get help: Teenagers often rebel against their parents but if they hear the same information from a different authority figure, they may be more inclined to listen.Try a sports coach, family doctor, therapist, drug counselor, homeopath, physician, psychologist to seek help.
SOME OF THE WAYS IN WHICH FAMILY CAN BE OF HELP ARE:
Try to reduce the loneliness and boredom of the patient during the process of recovery
Engage him in pleasant activities as a reward for sobriety and behaviour change.
Try to spend quality time with the patient and encourage him/her to persue alternate hobbies and interests.
Offer support and talk to patients when they are experiencing craving.
Avoid discussing the past behaviours which might have hurt the family members
Avoid unnecessary criticism and blaming of the patient for past behaviours and instead focus on future goals.
Acknowledge patient’s efforts and support his/her self-efficacy (which means to tell the patient that he/she has the ability to reduce their alcohol/drug use. Tell them that whenever he/she feels like using alcohol or drugs, that they should tell themself: ‘I can do it’.
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