A Parent’s Guide to Helping Kids Through Substance Abuse

Kids suffering from drug abuse
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  • Substance use is a serious problem among adolescents, with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reporting that around 10 million people aged 12 and older reported illicit drug abuse annually.
  • Parents should talk to their children openly about support to encourage positive lifestyle changes.
  • Professional help can provide evidence-based treatments and holistic therapies for addiction recovery.
  • Finally, parents should be there for their children during recovery, showing support and encouragement throughout their journey toward sobriety.

Children and teens are particularly vulnerable to substance abuse due to the various psychological, environmental, and developmental factors that come into play during this stage of life. Teens may use drugs to cope with emotional distress, to fit in with peers, or for other reasons related to their struggles. Additionally, adolescents often lack the necessary life experience and coping skills to make informed drug use decisions.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), approximately 10 million people aged 12 and older reported abusing an illicit drug annually. This is a concerning statistic considering that early-onset substance use has been linked to long-term development problems such as a higher risk of addiction later in life. Furthermore, statistics from NIDA also reveal that around 5.3% of 8th graders were using some form of illicit drugs, while 37.7% of 12th graders reported using illegal drugs during the same year.

Parents need to be aware of the risks of adolescent drug use and be prepared to take action if their child is at stake. Here are a few steps to take when you suspect your child is suffering from substance abuse:

Talk to Your Child

Talking with kid about substance abuse problems

Talking honestly with your child if you think they are using drugs is essential. Talking openly will help them understand why it is terrible and how they can avoid drugs. It can also help you figure out what other things they might need, like support or help with problems in their life. A study by the National Institutes of Health found that parental involvement was associated with a decreased risk of drug use in teens. When approaching your child, you will have to consider a few steps, including these:

Avoiding Judgment

Judgment can be counterproductive when trying to help your child. It is best to be understanding and supportive instead of focusing on blaming them for their choices.

Finding the Right Time and Place

It is essential to find the right time and place to talk. Make sure you are both in a comfortable space without outside distractions or pressures.

Listening More Over Talking

When talking with your child, it is crucial to listen more than you talk – even if they don’t reveal much at first. This will show them that you care about what they say and want to understand their point of view.

Identifying Helpful Solutions

Unfortunately, you might be unable to solve the problem alone. You can talk to your child to help you if it is beyond your scope.

Seek Professional Help

Professional help is essential for addiction treatment because it provides specialized knowledge, expertise, and resources that can help individuals recover from substance use disorders.

Professional help offers more comprehensive care than family or friends can provide. Addiction treatment centers are staffed with trained professionals who specialize in helping individuals overcome addiction, providing evidence-based treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or medication-assisted therapies (MAT). These interventions address the underlying causes of addiction and teach the individual skills to manage triggers and cravings better.

Professional help also allows clients to access holistic therapies such as yoga, mindfulness practices, equine therapy, art therapy, or music therapy. Such activities can supplement traditional treatments in helping clients make positive lifestyle changes and learn healthy coping skills. Additionally, professional support can be an invaluable source of motivation for those struggling with addiction; therapists can offer encouragement and remind clients that their goals are attainable.

Being Present for Your Child

A child with substance problems isolated and sad

Unfortunately, relapse is possible for those with substance use disorders. If this happens, it is essential to be there for your child and remind them that they are not alone in their journey toward recovery. You can also help by researching different treatments or resources available to assist them on their path to sobriety.

You should also be present for your child during recovery, as this can be difficult and emotionally trying. Celebrate their small successes with them and offer emotional support when needed. A child might feel more motivated to stay on the path to sobriety when they know their parents are supporting them and cheering for them.

Final Thoughts

Overall, parental involvement is critical to helping children struggling with substance abuse. By being aware of the risks and having open communication with your child, you can take steps that will help guide them safely back to sobriety. Additionally, seeking professional help can provide a complete approach to addiction treatment that may offer tremendous success in recovery. Finally, be present for your child during this challenging time and remind them that they are not alone in their journey toward sobriety. With supportive parents by their side and proper professional assistance, there is hope for those struggling with substance use disorders.

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