Lies and Drugs: Tips on How to Approach Your Teen

shutterstock_232628977When parents realize that a child is blatantly lying about something, it can be a disheartening moment. When that lie has to do with drug abuse, it can be a devastating one.

A study in the journal Pediatrics showed how common these kinds of lies can be. As reported by Val Willingham for CNN, Wayne State University researchers surveyed “high-risk urban teens” and their parents about drug use. Then they took hair samples and tested them for opiates and cocaine. A key result: “The data found that young people were 52 percent more likely to test positive for cocaine in their hair samples than they were to actually report using cocaine on their questionnaires.”

“They are giving socially acceptable responses,” said Dr. Virginia Delaney-Black, the study’s author, in the CNN story. “People are not willing to admit to drug use so freely as they are other things. … We’ve known from other studies that adults downplay their drug use. This is the first time we’ve documented it in teens.”

What can parents do when they realize their children are using drugs and lying about it? Here are a few tips. [Read more…]

How to have a stress free holiday season

shutterstock_523883950The fun and festive nature of the holiday season also comes with potential stress. And for people dealing with substance abuse issues — teenagers and adults — the holidays can significantly amplify that stress.

In a story for Psychology Today, Adi Jaffe writes that this stress “can bring even long-dormant behavior back to the surface.” And those without a strong family background “are often left feeling alone and isolated during the holidays, another powerful source of the shame and boredom that can drive addictive behavior.”

Here’s a look at some of the challenges that the holidays can present and tips on how to approach them. [Read more…]

The season of giving

shutterstock_529261663The holiday season can be a difficult one to navigate for people dealing with alcohol and drug issues, especially for those in their teenage years. It’s a festive time, filled with parties for family and friends. But the happiness inherent in many of those gatherings may be harder for addicts to embrace.

It also may be difficult for friends and family to know how to treat the addict. This can come into play with gifts: What do you get for someone who has a substance abuse problem? The first instinct is obviously to look for items that are in no way related to alcohol and drugs, and there are plenty of options there. Another way to go would be to find something that could provide a healthy experience for the addict, something constructive that can be a boost in their struggle. Here’s a look at a few suggestions. [Read more…]

Stay alert for early signs of teen drug use

Teen interventionNo parents want to believe that their teenage son or daughter is using drugs. But there can be early signs of this, and parents should be aware of sudden changes in appearance and behavior.

As most parents understand, the adolescent years are difficult for anyone to navigate. Carl E. Pickhardt examines this in a story for Psychology Today, calling adolescence “a process of separation from childhood and family, differentiation from how one was as a child, and experimentation with new (often forbidden) experiences to grow.”

This experimentation can include drugs, and as Pickhardt points out, it’s not something teenagers will openly discuss. “It will be because he has gotten caught,” Pickhardt says. “ … When adolescents start significant substance use, they usually do not confess it to a parent in words; they betray it by their actions. So parents need to know what behaviors to look for. To begin, they should pay attention to uncharacteristic changes in their son or daughter’s behavior.”

Here’s a look at several things parents should look for regarding teens and drug use. [Read more…]

Beware the dangers of halloween weekend

halloweenIt’s time again for the annual fun of ghosts and goblins, candy and costumes. Halloween can be entertaining for all ages. But as with so many other holidays and events, it can be a time to be concerned about alcohol and drug use among teenagers.

Halloween parties may be the biggest concern, whether they’re thrown at a schoolmate’s house or some other venue. Teens in costumes may feel like being more adventurous, which could lead to experimentation. And the numbers show that it’s a highly dangerous night on the roads.

Here’s a look at several Halloween-related concerns and tips for parents. [Read more…]