Talking to Children about Drug Abuse

From a young age, children’s eyes are open. They are aware of much—the good and the bad. Sadly, they begin to see lying, hurtful behavior, fighting, yelling, and more. We do not live in a perfect world, and neither do our children.

Whether or not our own family members or friends are struggling with addiction, it is important that we talk to and educate our children on addiction and drug abuse. They will see it eventually, and as parents, role models, guardians, etc., it is our job to make sure that they are aware of the dangers.

Here are some simple guidelines to follow when talking to your children about drug abuse:

Start early.

We all love and hate the stage when children start to ask a lot of questions. “What is that? Why is it called that? What does it do?” Some children may start to ask these questions over and over as they realize how much the world has to offer. It depends on the maturity of your child, and what they are exposed to, but it is never too early. You simply have to adjust how much you tell your child. You could simply tell your 10-year-old, that sometimes people do things that they are not supposed to. You could use cigarettes as an example, and explain to your child that they hurt your body, yet many people still use it. Tell your child that if they are offered something that they are not familiar with, they should politely decline it and then talk to you about it after. Your child needs to understand the boundary between safe and unknown. Make it clear.

Listen.

As adults, it’s easy to feel like you completely understand the world, especially in comparison to a young child who is just starting to learn. Nonetheless, it takes listening to understand a person, no matter how much knowledge or understanding you may have already. Listen to your children so that you can know what is going on in their life. If you don’t listen, they may stop talking.

Make rules.

When children become teenagers, they understand that certain things must not be done. There are rules and consequences. Talk to your child to make sure they understand your house rules. Set limits and consequences.

Be affirmative, yet warm.

Don’t let your child doubt your love. Inform your child that you set rules because you care and want them to be safe. Let your rules be a firm discussion, something that becomes a bonding point, not something to fight over. You want your rules to be something you both agree on, so that you can proudly watch as your child follows them. If rules are broken, continue to be supportive and loving as you enforce the consequences.

Be open.

Remember that it is a young child’s questions that start discussion. You need to allow the child to grow up, continually asking questions and trusting you. You want that trust, but really, you need that trust to be there when they may be more consistently exposed to drugs.

Be individual.

Lastly, do not forget to parent individually. If you have multiple children, each child may require a different approach to addiction education. Be aware of the differences, and ready to make a game plan so that you and your child/children will be ready to say no to drug abuse.

If your child asks about recovering from drug addiction, take a look at our website. You can learn how we help people recover from addiction and alcohol abuse.

Battling Drug Addiction with Nutrition

When facing addiction, being nutritious may hardly be on the forefront of your mind. But some studies and articles show that nutrition may help to heal the body.

According to some experts, along with the many effects of addiction, comes malnutrition.

Jenny Smiechowski from thefix.com said, “The very act of ingesting drugs or alcohol wreaks havoc on the body. Alcohol, for example, impedes nutrient breakdown and assimilation resulting in nutritional deficiencies.

Moreover, Smiechowski noted that, “In addition to the purely physiological implications of drug and alcohol abuse, there is another factor that results in a less than stellar nutritional report card for addicts: lifestyle. A person consumed by addiction is less likely to eat healthfully. Some drugs cause you to eat too much, others too little.”

As Smiechowski made evident, addiction can override health in multiple ways. But eating healthy could result in a stronger battle against drug addiction.

Medline Plus of the U.S. National Library of Medicine said, “When a person feels better, they are less likely to start using alcohol and drugs again. Because balanced nutrition helps improve mood and health, it is important to encourage a healthy diet in a person recovering from alcohol and other drug problems.”

However, it is important, as Medline Plus said, to prioritize sobriety over sticking to a diet.

What is suggested then, if one is to attempt a healthier diet as they recover?

Medline Plus suggested regular mealtimes, foods with lower fat, more protein, and perhaps vitamin and mineral supplements. On top of this, physical activity and rest are also important factors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle on the road to recovery.

Recovery and dieting are battles in of themselves, but together, they may allow for a stronger you.

If you or a family member are struggling with recovery, these healthy tips may help. Talk to your doctor to see what changes you or your loved one should make, or come to Steps where we can help with recovery.

Common Reasons Alcohol and Drug Addictions Start

For family members and whose loved ones are struggling with addiction it can sometimes be difficult to understand how a person becomes addicted to these substances. It can be even harder to know what to do to help them once they have become addicted. With drug abuse becoming more common, it’s important to understand some of the reasons behind the problem to be better able to help those you love.

Mental Illness

Perhaps one of the most common reasons that a person might start abusing drugs or alcohol is to help them overcome the feelings of suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Taking drugs or drinking alcohol can temporarily relieve the pain associated with the suffering, helping a person feel more “normal” for a period of time.

Exposure

Another common reason people start taking drugs or drinking alcohol is simply being exposed to it in their daily lives. When friends, family members, and others around them are participating in these activities it is easy to rationalize the activity as completely normal. When a person is younger it’s called peer pressure, but it can happen at any age.

Boredom

Teens and young adults who abuse alcohol might start to do so out of sheer boredom. Since they are less likely during this time to have steady jobs, bills to pay, and other obligations, it’s a time when they might be inclined to try something that seems exciting.

Not Realizing the Dangers

In recent years some of the most commonly abused drugs are those prescribed by medical professionals—prescription drugs. The most popular are opioids, such as OxyContin® and Vicodin®; depressants, such as Valium® and Xanax®; and stimulants, such as Adderal® and Ritalin®. People often mistakenly believe that a drug prescribed by a doctor and legal to consume is safer than illicit drugs, so they engage in dangerous behaviors like mixing drugs and alcohol, or sharing drugs prescribed to others. Getting hooked on prescription drugs can also be unintentional, following a legitimate reason that they might be taking these drugs, such as chronic pain or a serious injury.

Trauma

Drugs and alcohol are also commonly used to try and forget or overcome trauma from things that happened in the past, both physical and emotional. When other options—such as speaking with a psychologist—are not available or do not seem to help, a person might turn to substance abuse as a way to bury their painful memories.

A person doesn’t necessarily have to do drugs for a long period of time to become hooked. Since they overload pleasure sensors in the brain, it can be one of the highest highs a person ever feels, but can also be one of the lowest lows when they are not on the drugs. This cycle often leads to “chasing” the feeling you had that first time, and is extremely hard to overcome. If someone you know is addicted to these substances, there is help available through recovery programs in Utah.