How to Support your Loved One’s Recovery at Holiday Parties

Holiday SeasonThe holidays are a stressful time for everyone, but maybe especially hard for someone in recovery from a substance use disorder. With triggers typically present at holiday parties – normalized over-indulgence, staying out late, and the other various and bold rituals of celebration – it can be a challenge for those fresh in recovery and even those in long-term recovery, to maintain their sobriety. If your loved one in recovery takes on the challenge to attend a holiday party this season, please consider the following:

Worry about your own cup. Do not pressure others to drink with you. If you notice that someone does not have a drink in-hand or has something clearly non-alcoholic, let them be. The questions “What are you drinking?” and “Where’s your drink?” etc. are anxiety points for people in recovery, so much that they may disguise their non-alcoholic beverage in a tumbler or wine glass to avoid those encounters.

Do not question someone arriving late and leaving early. Not giving in to temptation requires a certain motivation that can be emotionally taxing. Respect your loved one’s limits and do not “guilt-trip” for them coming late and leaving early. It is also helpful to welcome their sponsor or sober guest for support.

Have non-alcoholic options ready. If you are hosting a holiday party, accommodate those that wish to not consume alcohol by having soft drinks, teas, lemonades, etc. on hand. It is also special to prepare non-alcoholic specialty drinks, or “mocktails”, so all can enjoy a drink that is festive.  It is also a good rule of thumb to not set the dining table with wine glasses. Offer the wine separately so it does not appear as an obligation to guests.

Try not to be offended if your loved one chooses to skip the holiday party overall. As a family member or friend, you may think that adverse pressures only come from your notion of bad influences; however, they can originate from something as simple as a holiday social. Have patience this holiday season and stay thoughtful of those in recovery.

If you or your loved one needs help during the holidays, or any time of year, Gateway’s treatment programs are always here to help.

Beware of THC-Laced Candy

Gummies in bulk in glass containersAmong all of the gummy candies, gummy bears are among the most beloved. However, many parents are now opting for other favorites due to the rise of THC-laced gummies. The rise of THC gummies, or candies made with tetrahydrocannabinol (the psychedelic property found in marijuana), have become increasingly popular in the medical marijuana market, which may be why increasing numbers of young people are arriving at emergency rooms, ill from high dosages of the drug.

Many medical marijuana users prefer to ingest THC with edibles like gummies and baked goods rather than to smoke marijuana. According to Dan Anglin of the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, drug-infused edibles comprise approximately half of Colorado’s legal cannabis market.

House Bill 1366, passed in 2014, required state regulators to devise laws on edible cannabis products so they are more identifiable when out of their packaging and less appealing to young people. However, kids who are not typically instructed to check for an identifying stamp or emblem on candies may accidentally ingest THC-laced candies. Children are also still at risk to be enticed by the unmarked THC gummies in circulation due to homemade production.

Unmarked gummies may have been at play when 12 Naperville North High School students ingested THC gummies and were sent to Edward Hospital for their accelerated heart rates, agitation, dizziness, and dry mouth. The two teens who distributed the weed gummies were charged with the delivery of marijuana. Another case of THC illness was reported when 11 Indiana teens ate less than one gummy bear each. “The strength is so strong that it caused an adverse reaction in 11 people – not one person, not three – it wasn’t just a small batch or a bad batch”, said Indiana Police Capt. Kellems.

The effect of THC is accelerated when eaten rather than smoked, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. Most edible marijuana is metabolized by the liver, which then produces a kind of THC that has a bigger psychedelic punch than the THC that reaches your blood plasma when you smoke it. The high will last much longer too, up to 12 hours.

The best thing you can do to keep your child safe this Halloween season is to carefully inspect your child’s candy. Here are a few rules you can follow to keep THC laced candies from your children this Halloween:

  • Discard candies printed with a marijuana leaf emblem on the packaging or on the candy itself.
  • All candy packaging should appear to be straight from a factory. Do not allow candies that have been hand-packaged.
  • Be wary of abnormally sized and shaped gummy bears. The gummy bear molds often used to make THC gummies are larger than the typical gummy bear size.
  • When it doubt, throw it out!

 

Blog Series for Parents: There’s No Place like CLOSE to Home

Beautiful latin family smiling at the camera outdoorsThere are many decisions to make as you decide on the best place to receive substance use disorder treatment for yourself or your child. When it comes to the decision of where, it’s all about you. While there are pros and cons to both in- state and out-of-state treatment, we will focus on the advantages of staying in state; close to home.

“One might ask; who wouldn’t jump at the chance to go to a warm state during the cold Chicago winter?” states Gina Howard, Program Director at Gateway Foundation. “When I speak to patients and families about the right place for treatment it’s really about the individual. There is no ‘One Size Fits All’ substance use disorder treatment. Florida may sound great if you’re in Wisconsin in January, but what you really need to consider is the quality of treatment you need.”

Having the support of family and friends during your treatment and recovery process is significant to success. Choosing a treatment facility near family and friends will keep them involved and keep you in the comfort of familiar surroundings.

“Some may find that staying in the same surroundings where they faced their substance use disorder challenges is difficult. For them, there may be too many distractions created by the familiarity of their surroundings. Others however, find that the comfort of a familiar setting, coupled with the participation of close friends and family, is a very effective support system. Those that choose out of state treatment should be reminded that when or if they return home, those home-based challenges will still need to be addressed,” states Gina Howard.

In many cases, your insurance provider can drastically reduce the out of pocket costs of treatment. However, there may be restrictions on the type of facility at which you can obtain services. There can also be restrictions on going out of state if your own state offers similar or better treatment services than what is offered elsewhere. Check with your insurance provider or treatment facility to get the best idea of what to expect with regard to cost.

When looking for treatment facilities evaluate your personal situation to determine the best facility for your needs. To learn about what Gateway offers, visit www.recovergateway.org.

Blog Series for Parents: Know the Signs

Teen ProblemsIn our last blog series post we discussed delayed adulthood and substance use disorder. This post raised a question: How do I know if my child has a substance use disorder?

There is statistical evidence that teens are getting involved in drug use as early as 6th to 8th grade (12–14 years old). “In many instances the parents become aware of the substance use long after it has begun and circumstances have grown more threatening” said Katie Stout, Executive Director at Gateway Carbondale.

Parents need to know the signs of substance use disorder and take immediate action before the problem grows worse.

 

The signs:

  • Frequently tired
  • Depressed
  • Hostile behavior
  • Withdrawn
  • Change in friends
  • Neglect with grooming or hygiene
  • Decline in academic performance
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Change in eatin
  • g habits
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Weight changes
  • Deteriorating relationship with family and friends

Many signs may be overlooked as parents may believe them to be a normal part of growing up. “I encourage parents to discuss their concerns with a physician, school guidance counselor or substance use disorder treatment provider. These professionals can help you determine if there is reason for concern,” said Katie Stout.

Parents seeking treatment for their child can reach out to Gateway Foundation at 877.505.HOPE (4673) or visit recovergateway.org. Be sure to look for our next blog in the series on the topic of choosing treatment close to home.

Blog Series for Parents: Delayed Adulthood and Substance Use Disorder

blogIt is not uncommon in today’s world to have twenty-somethings living at home, holding off on marriage and family, and exploring many career options. This “delayed adulthood” stirs mixed attitudes among parents. Parents often struggle and feel conflicted in supporting young adults but also encouraging independence and self-sufficiency.

While some parents may be more or less focused on a particular age a child should be “on their own”, most parents agree: The end goal is to raise a self-sufficient adult. Sometimes an adult child may be experiencing some behavioral health issue which may be keeping them home and unsure of their next step.

At Gateway Foundation Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers, many parents reach out for help with a twenty-something who is living at home, unemployed or under employed. Parents worry that their child’s alcohol use or use of other substances is impacting their functioning, success, and happiness.  At this age, some young adults begin to show signs of a developing Substance Use Disorder because this time period in their life is usually filled with significant life changes, increased freedoms, and societal pressures. .

“Young adults we see in a treatment setting often desire independence, stable relationships, educational and career success, and fulfilment of goals and dreams.  When struggling with a Substance Use Disorder, it becomes difficult to see past the next day, and to take meaningful steps forward.  Time slows down, and people feel stuck or even hopeless that their dreams can become reality.” said Bennie Haywood, Program Director at Gateway Foundation.

According to “The Truth About Marijuana: International Statistics” of adults 26 or older who used marijuana before age 15:
62% went on to use cocaine at some point in their lives
9% went on to use heroin at least once
54% made some nonmedical use of mind-altering prescription drugs

“Addiction has an impact on every member of a household. I encourage parents to take an active role and educate themselves first about substance use disorder and then about the types of treatment available,” recommends Bennie Haywood.

You never stop loving and looking after your child, regardless of age.  Help in the launch to adulthood by staying informed. In our next Blog Series for Parents post, we will discuss the signs of addiction and what every parent should know.

Gateway is a recognized leader among behavioral health care providers in offering substance use disorder treatment, as well as treatment for individuals that are diagnosed with a co-occurring mental illness. To learn more about our treatment programs visit us at RecoverGateway.org.

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