06 Jul 2015
Sending Your Addicted Teen To College
Sending your child off to college can be a stressful period. This is probably the first time she has been away for longer than a stint at summer camp. There are also both realistic and symbolic transitions. She is becoming an independent adult by going off to school without you. She will be on her own to go through the academic and social experiences of college life, as well as the challenges. If your teen has struggled with substance abuse the stakes are higher than normal.
For some adults, it may seem unlikely that a young person going off to college could already be an addict. The scary truth is that teens do become addicted. The earlier they experiment with drugs or alcohol, the more likely they are to get hooked.
According to surveys, among college students participating in recovery programs on campus, the average age at which they first became addicted was 15. Common addictions in teens are to alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs.
What To Do When Sending Your Addicted Teen To College
The following are several tips to help give your addicted teen the best shot when sending them to college and to help ease your concerns.
Check Out The Party Schools
You may be tempted to insist that your teen stay home and go to community college, and that might be the best choice. But if you both feel she is ready for the campus experience, make your selection carefully. You can easily find rankings of the biggest party schools in the U.S. These are best avoided.
In fact, you can find rankings that show you the opposite: the most sober schools. Brigham Young University, the Mormon-associated school in Utah, regularly tops this list. There are plenty of choices in schools that pride themselves on taking a sober stance. Of course, attending such a school cannot guarantee your child will stay sober, but it can help.
Look For Sober Living Opportunities
Regardless of which college your teen chooses, investigate their living arrangements. Many colleges now offer dorms or other types of housing for students who want to be sober. In these dorms your teen will live with other students who are in recovery from substance abuse. The support system built into this type of living arrangement can be a powerful way to resist the urge to party. Living in a dorm with students that are drinking and even using drugs may be more temptation than she can handle.
Continue With Treatment
Not all college campuses will have treatment programs for addicted students, but you can set up private therapy sessions to make sure your teen has the chance to keep up with her treatment. You can also help her look for support group meetings that she can attend. She may feel strong in her sobriety going into college, but the stresses and anxiety that come with such a major life transition may send her into a tailspin. Make sure she has support and treatment options ready in case she feels she needs them.
Also be sure that your teen has access to mental health services. Many addicted students struggle with depression and anxiety as well as other mental health issues. Check with the college’s on-campus health center to see what kinds of programs they have available, including emergency mental health services.
As you gather all of this information, be sure to keep your teen in the loop. Make her a part of her own sobriety so that she can take ownership and responsibility. You can’t be there with her forever. You have to let her go and give her a chance to be independent, but you can adequately prepare her to be successful.
Read Our Other Posts On What Parents Need To Know
01 Jun 2015
The Dangers Of Mothball Abuse
Substance use and abuse among teens and young adults often includes the huffing of inhalants. This is a practice that adults might engage in as well, but it is more common in young people because of access. Many household chemicals can be used for huffing, which is the practice of inhaling fumes to get high. Young people turn to huffing because it is an easy high. One substance in your home you might not suspect could be used in this way may be in your closet. Mothballs can be used to get high and, as silly as it sounds, the dangers are not insignificant.
What Is Mothball Abuse?
Huffing means capturing and inhaling the fumes of certain chemicals in pursuit of a high. Many products and chemicals can be used for this purpose, ranging from Freon in air conditioning units to the gases in a can of whipped cream. People who abuse mothballs typically put them in a paper bag and breathe into it for several minutes. Mothballs are traditionally made with a volatile chemical called naphthalene, but newer products use a dichlorobenzene instead, as it is less flammable. Either chemical can be huffed for a high.
Mothballs And Addiction
Mothball abuse may not sound as serious as something like cocaine abuse, but inhalant abuse can be dangerous and fatal. Users can even get addicted to the high that comes with huffing. Research on addiction to mothballs, naphthalene or dichlorobenzene is limited, but we do know that inhalant use can lead to addiction. Like any drug of abuse, inhalants cause the user to get high or experience a pleasurable sensation. With time and frequent use, the brain changes in response to this high, and quitting becomes more and more difficult. Eventually the user is hooked.
Is Napthalene Addiction Dangerous For Health?
Becoming addicted to naphthalene is extremely dangerous. Even if someone doesn’t get addicted, just using this substance recreationally is risky. Both naphthalene and dichlorobenzene are harmful, toxic substances. This is why moths stay away from mothballs. When someone inhales the fumes from mothballs, he will lose coordination, develop slurred speech, become weak in the limbs, get headaches, feel nauseated and vomit. Some users may even get a scaly skin rash.
These are short-term side effects of getting high on mothballs. The long-term health effects of inhaling these substances include kidney and liver failure, anemia, convulsions, seizures and coma. Death is also possible when huffing, no matter what substance is being used. Huffing can even be fatal on the first try because the user is cutting off oxygen supply when inhaling another substance.
The dangers of abusing mothballs are numerous and serious. If you have a teenager, make sure he knows that this habit, which may seem like harmless fun, is actually quite dangerous. If you use mothballs, make sure they are locked away to prevent access. Huffing is common among teens and an issue of which all parents should be aware.
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16 Apr 2015
Yes, People Really Do Get High On Mothballs
It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true: there is such a thing as mothball abuse. It’s mostly abused by teens, which are at the right age for trying stupid things. As silly as it seems to be sniffing the fumes coming from mothballs, the risks and the dangers are real and serious.
Teens that engage in this behavior are at risk for some pretty worrying health problems. If you have a teenager at home and mothballs in the closet, bring up the issue and make sure the consequences of abusing this household product are serious.
The Mothball High
Teens are famous for coming up with new and inventive ways to get high. These strategies typically involve some household product because access is easy. Huffing is a common way for teens to get high, and most parents don’t even think about it. Huffing refers to the practice of inhaling fumes from a household product in order to get high. The list of inhalants used is long and includes paint, nail polish remover, hairspray, scented markers, correction fluid and even mothballs.
Mothballs are solid balls that give off an odor that deters moths. They protect your clothes from the insect. The odor comes from a substance in the mothball that turns from a solid into a gas that can be inhaled. Teens sniff mothballs like a drug to get high. The substance that gives them this high is either naphthalene or dichlorobenzene. Older mothballs tend to contain the former, while newer products have the latter. Both can get you high and are harmful to inhale.
Is Napthalene Addiction Dangerous For Health?
Huffing mothballs is dangerous. Most teens won’t do it often enough to get addicted, but addiction is possible. What is more likely is that teens inhaling the fumes will experience health problems.
Symptoms Of Inhaling Mothballs
The most common and immediate symptoms of inhaling mothballs include the following:
- lightheadedness and dizziness
- stomach pains
- eye and airway irritation
- slurred speech
- loss of coordination
- mental impairment
- weakness in the limbs
- scaly skin rash
Long-term Consequences Of Mothball Abuse
There are also some very serious long-term consequences of mothball abuse. Teens who huff mothballs several times put themselves at risk for excessive:
- weight loss
- liver failure
- kidney failure
- and even seizures and coma
The effects of abusing mothballs with naphthalene are similar to those with dichlorobenzene. Dichlorobenzene is less toxic than naphthalene, which is why newer mothballs are made with it, but it can still cause the same symptoms and the same lasting damage to the body.
Talk To Your Teen About Mothball Huffing…NOW!
Mothballs made the news several years ago when teenagers in France were hospitalized for huffing them. The twin sisters were seriously impacted by their drug habit and one of the two needed a full six months to recover.
While cases like these bring exposure to a dangerous practice like mothball huffing, the story disappears before long and people forget.
Be aware that your teen might experiment with mothballs. Talk to your teen about the dangers and help him understand the risk of engaging in this serious type of drug abuse.
If you have a teenager in the house you have a lot of things to worry about. You want her to be successful in school, to have a lot of friends and to be happy. Whether you realize it or not, you also need to worry about substance abuse. You might think that your child is too well adjusted to ever try smoking, drinking, or using drugs, but you might be wrong. No teen is immune from peer pressure. Among the many worries we have as parents today, there’s a new one: e-cigarettes.
What Are E-Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are electronic devices that deliver nicotine in water vapor instead of in cigarette smoke. Inside each device is a battery that warms up a vial of nicotine dissolved in water. The user inhales nicotine and exhales water vapor. Supporters of e-cigarettes say that the devices can be used to help smokers quit. It gives a smoker a safer alternative to use in order to be weaned from nicotine. Smoking an e-cigarette is called vaping.
Are E- Cigarettes Harmful?
One of the main problems with e-cigarettes is that they are new and not fully tested. While proponents say that they are safe and that even the second-hand vapor is safe, we really don’t know for sure. What we definitely know is that an e-cigarette delivers hits of nicotine, a mind-altering, highly addictive substance. They may be free of all the toxins in cigarette smoke, but if your teen vapes she will become addicted to nicotine. We also know that nicotine can cause cognitive defects in young brains that are long lasting.
Another concern is the possibility of e-cigarettes acting as gateway drugs. Research has shown that people who abuse drugs or are addicted follow a pattern. They start with cigarettes or alcohol, and then move onto illegal and harder substances. Teens using e-cigarettes because vaping seems cool and largely safe put themselves at risk for future substance abuse.
Are Teens Using E- Cigarettes?
It may seem unlikely that teens would be interested in a device designed to help smokers quit, but the statistics say otherwise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a quarter of a million young people used e-cigarettes in 2013. This number represents only the teens who had never smoked a real cigarette before. This means that e-cigarettes are responsible for getting a huge number of teens hooked on nicotine who may never have tried smoking otherwise.
How Can I Protect My Teen From E- Cigarettes?
The best way that you can protect your teens from the potential dangers of e-cigarettes is to talk to them. You can’t always be watching and guiding them, but they do value your opinions. You have the potential to influence their choices, even when you aren’t by their side. Let them know that you don’t want them to vape or use real cigarettes.
By talking to your teens about e-cigarettes you also give them the power of information. Many teens start using these devices with the false assumption that they are perfectly safe. They may be safer than cigarettes, but they are not safe and there are many risks involved. Educate your teens and help them to be aware of the risks and you will empower them to make better decisions. E-cigarettes are likely here to stay, and they are useful tools for smokers, but they pose risks to our young people. By spreading awareness we can all do our part to protect them.
E-Cigarettes Being Secretly Used To Hide Drug Use – See How They’re Getting Away With This!
16 Feb 2015
Drug-Testing Your Teen – Can You And Should You?
Drug use is a big problem among young people today. They have more access than ever before and as a parent you have reason to worry. No teen is immune to the pressure to use drugs, not even the star athletes or the academic achievers. Doing your best to prevent your child from abusing drugs is important. You have a big influence over him and the choices he makes. Should your preventative measures include drug tests? There are plenty of drug tests on the market and you can do home tests or have your child tested at your doctor’s office.
The Dangers Of Drug Use In Teens
As a responsible parent you should be concerned about drug use, even if you feel like your teen would never make that choice. Teens face a lot of pressures and many turn to drugs, even the ones you would never suspect of doing so.
And the dangers of using drugs are great for young people. They run the risk of developing a life-long habit. They may have accidents while under the influence and hurt or kill themselves or others. Drug use may lead to psychiatric problems, antisocial behaviors, and poor academic performance. With so many potential negative consequences, it might seem like drug testing is the only way to truly protect your child.
Drug Testing: The Options
You can find home drug testing kits easily online or at a drugstore and most of them use urine to test for the presence of drugs. These home kits have some limitations, though. Most urine tests don’t detect all illegal drugs, including party drugs like LSD, ecstasy and ketamine. They also fail to detect inhalants, a common way that teens get high on household chemicals, steroids and alcohol. These tests are also imperfect in their accuracy. They can produce both false positive and false negative results. Your other option, which is likely to produce better results, is to have a test done by your pediatrician and analyzed in a lab.
Should I Drug Test My Teen?
Whether you choose to use drug testing as a preventative measure is personal. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly opposes using involuntary drug tests. In other words, if you choose to go this route, make sure your teen understands your reasoning and agrees to be tested. Forcing your teen to be tested for drugs can be damaging to your relationship.
The AAP also believes there are better ways to prevent drug use or to monitor a teen who is displaying signs of possible drug use. Start by talking to your child about drugs. Talk about how harmful they can be and how your teen can say no to friends who are using. Make it clear that you will not tolerate drug use and why. Talking openly is a powerful way to stay connected with your child and to influence the choices he makes.
One situation that may be more appropriate for drug testing is if you have a teen that has been through a treatment program for substance abuse. It may be an important part of his recovery to test him regularly. That way you can catch a relapse before it gets out of hand. If he is serious about his recovery, he should agree to the testing.
Drug use in teens is a scary situation to contemplate. Young people are vulnerable to peer pressure and they can suffer so much damage from drug use. Do your best to influence your teen’s choices and to monitor his behavior for signs of drug use. Just remember that you are not a police officer. You are a parent who cares about your child.
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09 Feb 2015
Are You Enabling Your Partner’s Addiction?
If your partner is using drugs or alcohol, there is a chance that you are enabling his habit. It may sound ridiculous at first. Why on earth would you want him to use? Why would you encourage him? The truth is that enabling is subtle, and you may be doing it in ways that even you don’t realize. Take the time to consider your role in the relationship and decide if you are an enabler or if you could be doing more to help him stop using.
What Is An Enabler?
An enabler is rarely overt. You’re probably not feeding your partner drugs or alcohol. You’re not likely to actively encourage him to go out and drink or to spend more money on drugs.
In most cases an enabler is someone who is more subtle. This is someone who takes away the consequences of drug or alcohol use so that the user doesn’t experience the full costs of his choices and behaviors. Enablers often believe that they are helping their loved ones, when in fact they are causing more harm. It is those consequences that should be an addict’s biggest motivation to stop using.
Signs Of Enabling
How can you tell if you are enabling your partner’s habit? Think about your actions and how you respond to his drug use or drinking. Consider whether the choices you make minimize the consequences he should be experiencing. Here are some concrete examples of what you might be doing if you are an enabler:
- You give your partner money when he’s desperate. Money is the fuel for his addiction. If he runs out and you give him more, he will never experience the total loss of money caused by his habit.
- You make excuses for him. When he misses appointments, days of work or school, or when he behaves inappropriately, there should be consequences. If you make excuses for him, he won’t feel the repercussions.
- You drive him wherever he needs to go. Whether he lies about it or not, chances are you are driving him to places where he uses or buys drugs.
- You help him when he gets into legal trouble. Legal problems are often a consequence of drug use or excessive drinking. If you help get him out of it, you’re enabling his habit.
- You keep quiet and don’t confront him about what worries you. Not talking to him about how often he passes out, how badly he behaves when high or drunk or how he is draining your bank account isn’t helping.
How To Stop Enabling And Start Helping
If you recognize yourself in the signs of enabling, you need to stop supporting your partner’s habit and start helping him get over it. Know that it isn’t easy to change your own behaviors, but it is crucial. Stop actively doing things that help him use, such as giving him money, transporting him, or making excuses when he messes up. He will be hurt, upset and even angry with you, but you have to remain strong in the face of his pushback.
Once you have made it clear that you will no longer be actively helping him use, sit your partner down for a frank talk and provide options for him to get help. If you are struggling with this or if you are afraid you’ll back down, enlist the help of other people who care about you and your partner. There is strength in numbers. It will be difficult, but if you are persistent your loved one will eventually feel the consequences of his habit and will have no choice but to make a change.
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When you have a loved one battling addiction, especially if it is someone close to you, it is all too easy to get wrapped up in his problems and his needs. As you support him, stand by him and care for him, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Caretakers often lose sight of who they are and become stressed, overwhelmed and sometimes even physically ill from the strain of caring for someone else. Take time for your own needs while still supporting your loved one and you will stay healthy and sane and better able to care for him.
Tips For Caring For Yourself As You Support A Loved One In Recovery
Lending Support In Recovery – Make A Plan
What does healthy support look like? If you have never stood by someone through such a difficult period of healing and transition, and if you have never watched while someone else played the role of caregiver and supporter, you may not know what is appropriate. What works for you and for your loved one is up to the two of you to decide. You need to decide if you should be living with this person, how much time you will spend with him and what form your support will take.
If, for example, you are caring for a child in recovery, you might want to stay with him until he is well enough to be independent. On the other hand, if you are supporting a friend, living together may not be an option. Instead, you may visit her every day, drive her to support group meetings or be on call as needed. Devoting all of your free time to supporting someone you care about is not necessarily feasible or appropriate. Set limitations and decide how much you are able to give.
Prepare A Support System For You
There are support groups for loved ones of addicts for a reason. Helping someone who is battling addiction, even if that person is getting professional help at the same time, isn’t easy. Knowing how tough this may be, get your own support system together. Let some of your friends or family members know what is going on in your life and that you may need to talk over a cup of coffee. Also consider picking up meeting schedules for support groups. Talking with people who have been where you are can be powerful.
Get Others To Assist
It may be that your loved one has few other people to whom he can turn for support. He may be relying solely on you. Ideally, though, you can call on others to fill in when you can’t be there. Ask trustworthy people who also care about him to spend at least a little time with him. Even just an hour here and there can be a great relief to you.
Take Time Off And Take Care Of Yourself
You can’t be there for your loved one 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s not practical and it isn’t good for you. When you feel overwhelmed, take a break. Whether this means taking a walk outside for an hour, spending a day pampering yourself or taking a quick weekend trip to relax and de-stress, do it. Get plenty of sleep each night, eat well, make time for exercise and fun and take time away from your duties. No one can be there for a recovering addict all of the time. If you take care of yourself, you will be better able to help the one you love overcome his struggle.
Discover Why You Should Join A Support Group As The Loved One Of An Addict – You Need Help And Healing Too!
22 Dec 2014
How To Drag A Family Out Of Denial
Denial is a powerful force, not for change, but for maintaining the status quo. We tend to think of the addict as being the one in denial, but often the people around her are also heavily in denial about the problem. Denial is something that can be useful at times. It may keep us sane in the face of something terribly traumatic. Most of the time, however, denial keeps us from making positive changes.
If you have an addict in the family and everyone else denies that there is a problem, make an effort to drag them out of their inertia to help your loved one.
Denial And Addiction
Denial is a common feature of addiction. It allows the addict to make excuses and keep using. Addicts often keep themselves in denial and can’t get help until they fully admit to having a problem.
On the other side of the coin are the loved ones in denial. It’s understandable to see this happen. Parents, for instance, may find it impossible to admit their child is a chronic drug user or an alcoholic. Other members of the family may be in denial because conflict within the family changes the dynamic and upsets the balance.
These family members may think they are keeping everything on an even keel, but the truth is they are only enabling the addict. They are making the situation worse and allowing the addict to continue on a downward spiral. If you are the one family member not in denial, it may be very difficult to speak up. You are the one rocking the boat and everyone else reacts as if you’ve lost your mind.
How To Break Through Family Denial
If you really care about your loved one and your family, you can try to break down the wall of denial. Remember that you may not be successful. You can only do so much, and you can’t force people to change. The best you can do is to try to change their minds, convince them to see the truth and offer your love and support to the addict.
- Show that you are serious – It isn’t easy to go against what everyone else is seeing. If you have been quietly putting a bug in the ear of anyone who will listen, it’s time to step up and take a bolder stand. Hold a family meeting without the addict. Confront your family head on and show them that you mean business. This straightforward approach may jolt some of your family members out of complacency.
- State the facts – Before you hold the meeting, prepare a list of facts. Present your family with concrete examples of how your loved one displays the signs of addiction. Lead with facts rather than emotions and they may take you more seriously.
- Remain calm and be patient – Give your family time to let the facts sink in. If no one gives up his or her denial immediately, don’t get frustrated. Let it go for a few days and then come back to family members individually. You may find that some are prepared to listen to you now.
- Offer help – When all else fails and your family remains in denial, give your love and support to the addict. You can’t always change minds, but you can offer your help. Tell your addicted loved one that you are there for her when she is ready and have resources for treatment prepared.
Denial may be powerful, but so is the care and love you have for your family. Do what you can to break through the denial, but recognize when you can do no more.
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