Protecting Kids From Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Children are often exposed to the temptation to try drugs and alcohol long before parents suspect. Sometimes at the age of 10 or 11, or even younger, kids are experimenting with drinking. The fact of the matter is that parents often have their “heads in the sand” when it comes to their precious children using drugs and alcohol. By the time we find out, it can be too late.

Some possible clues early on:

Lower than normal grades
Rebellious behavior
A new friend or friends (especially when their time is being totally monopolized)
Depression or other behavior problems

Steps to take before children get to the age of temptation:

Develop good self esteem in your child (building self confidence)
Get involved in your kids’ lives
Establish basic rules early
Develop a stable home life as much as possible and teach good coping skills which helps to prevent stress and anxiety
Give them a good focus for their life, such as the church or sports, or career goals
Develop an interest or passion for something healthy, such as music or collecting, or animals
Set good examples when they are little, such as “no drugs or alcohol in the home”
Make a “no drugs policy” perfectly clear to them as soon as it’s appropriate

If you suspect your children are experimenting:

Set up deterrents for breaking the family rules, such as drug testing, drug screening or a breathalyzer test (alcohol test) after going out with their friends or when they particularly want to be trusted
Impose punishments which fit the “crime”
Try some volunteer work at a homeless shelter or drug rehabilitation center to give them a different perspective on life
Visit someone in prison
Try diverting their attention to a new interest or passion (away from the problem)
Reward good behavior

If you know they are doing drugs or abusing alcohol:

Counseling with a mental health professional may help
Take them to AA meetings or similar (go with them)
Drug rehabilitation if the problem is further along
Make a regular date (suggest weekly or more often) with them for a “one on one” meeting to talk about what’s going on in their life (a dinner out works well, but you can do this at home also)
If possible, sometimes changing schools or moving to another address can be helpful

From my life:

I know these things from experience, as I was one of those parents with “my head in the sand”. I had no idea what was happening to my daughter at school everyday. I really thought she was still a “little girl”. It started in middle school when she was about 12. She was 14 when she overdosed on alcohol at a party. This was a party where parents were present and in the next room! Her friends brought her home and deposited her on the front doorstep. She was limp. I was shocked. We called an ambulance and she went to emergency. There she tested positive for marijuana, meth, barbiturates and heroin! We were fortunate, she eventually recovered. After that we tried a lot of different things including extensive drug counseling, therapy, threats, meetings, punishment. I set up a regular weekly dinner out for just the two of us. At first she fought me about going. For weeks she sat there and said nothing. Slowly she began to open up about things in her life a little at a time and eventually she told me she looked forward to our dinners out. What worked better than anything as a deterrent, was buying a breathalyzer. If I had known this would work so well, I would have bought it first thing. We also tried some drug tests, but getting the results in a week or even a few days is too long. Now the drug tests work faster and don’t usually have to be sent into a lab. The breathalyzer results were immediate and she knew it was there waiting for her to try when she came home! It’s also affordable and easy to use. I would recommend it to any parent of a teenager who suspects alcohol abuse.

Just as a followup, my daughter is 20 now. She’s fully recovered. It wasn’t easy. I was very persistent and I prayed a lot. She has her own successful business now and is doing well.

If You Want to Overcome Alcohol Abuse, Here Are the Best Strategies for a Successful Recovery

The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that one in six people in the U.S. struggles with alcohol abuse. It is very likely that you are related to or know someone who is affected by alcoholism. The first step to making a change is realizing that change is needed. If you want to overcome alcohol abuse, here are the best strategies for a successful recovery.

Overcoming alcohol abuse and dependency is a step-by-step process that often includes: taking the time to understand the disease of alcoholism; planning and staging an intervention; getting the appropriate treatment, rehab and counseling; and continuing long-term recovery with after care

Understanding the Disease of Alcoholism

Understanding the disease of alcoholism is a vital first step in getting better and overcoming alcohol abuse. It is a commonly misunderstood (and accepted) concept that because alcohol is legal that it is harmless. Scientific research however shows that alcoholism is a disease and it has real outcomes. Furthermore, the Mayo Clinic defines alcoholism as a progressive and chronic disease with psychological and physical consequences.

Planning and Staging an Intervention

In some cases it is necessary to plan and stage an intervention especially when the individual does not realize the effects their alcohol abuse. Interventions may be formal or informal should not be aggressively confrontational. The most effective interventions are calm and include family members and friends expressing to the person with alcohol abuse how their drinking is affecting them.

Detox Treatment

Some people cannot stop drinking on their own no matter how hard they try, and will need to seek assistance from a professional medical detox facility. A residential medical detox will allow the individual to check into a facility and receive 24/7 care and treatment to remove the toxins from alcohol use.
The method used during the detox treatment will make a difference in how comfortable the patient is throughout the process. If the patient is not comfortable during detox, they will likely walk out before the treatment is complete.

Rehab Programs

Rehab programs are designed to help the individual develop a better understanding of alcoholism, while at the same time teaching them how they can have a happy and productive life without alcohol; as well as tips on how to avoid relapse and what to do should it occur.

The great thing about rehab is that there is a program to accommodate many different circumstances. If checking into a residential center for 6 weeks or longer does not fit, there are outpatient centers that will allow the individual to participate during the day or evening and still be able to attend to their home responsibilities.

After Care for Long-Term Recovery

The fact is that alcohol recovery is a life-long process. After detox and rehab end, most find that participating in a community-based support group can help them be successful in recovery. The good news is that there are many different support groups to choose from, including 12-Step, holistic, etc… there really is something for everyone.

The Facts About Substance Abuse Treatment

Entering a substance abuse program is the best way to overcome your drug or alcohol addiction. Your program may be versatile, understand that you may need to detoxify and then enter a rehab treatment or alternative program. Making the decision to get help is not a temporary fix for your problem; however by changing your habits and behavior and the way you think about drugs and alcohol, it can be a step toward a new life that offers freedom from drug and alcohol abuse and addiction.

You May Need Detox

Depending on how much substance abuse you have; how long you have been using and the frequency of your use, you may need to enter a detox program before you go to a rehab treatment or alternative program. Detoxification will clean your system of the toxic chemical from your drug or alcohol abuse. Most doctors agree that medical detox is the best option for many drug and alcohol addicts, with IV therapy medical detox being the most preferred.

IV therapy medical detox allows the medication to be changed as the withdrawal symptoms change for an immediate effect. The patient remains comfortable throughout the process, which allows them to stay and complete the detox. Patients who attend this type of program are more likely to be successful in sobriety than individuals that use other programs.

Residential or Non-residential

A substance abuse rehab treatment program or an alternative program can be a non-residential program and a residential program. The accord is that residential programs seem to be more effective because they offer the individual a place to get away from the stress of everyday life and to rest and learn how to have a life that does not include alcohol and drug abuse. Further, the programs that seem to obtain the most success are the ones that build self-confidence, while inspiring hope and helping the individual plan for their future.

There are non-residential substance abuse rehab treatment programs that implement medical detox in the program. Most of these require that the individual also participate in a 12 step program such as A.A., N.A. or one of the other types that traditional 12 step offers. The individual would self-report to the doctor’s office or medical facility to receive medication to help with the detox and then report to the rehab for the meeting. The benefit to this type of program is that the individual can continue their daily routines while they are getting treatment.

The Program Philosophy is Important

Issues to consider in substance abuse treatment may be linked to the type of program: residential or non-residential, but also the philosophy of the program should be thoughtfully considered. If the program teaches that you have an incurable disease and that you are going to fail in your efforts to have a life that is free from substance abuse; you might want to reconsider the program. You want a program that will give you support and encouragement in your new life and not a program that will give you a feeling of defeat, use labels and judgments.

A New Life

Regardless of the method that you choose to use, the important thing is that you are ready to get the help that you need and you are closer to beginning your new life, free from drugs and alcohol abuse and addiction.