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.

July is Purposeful Parenting Month

 

teens-drugs-alcoholPurposeful parenting is being an active, engaged parent who strives to give their child the best life possible. Purposeful parenting is also about building strong, positive, functional families and recognizing the importance of meaningful relationships between parents and children.

This July, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers, aims to highlight some tips you can use to talk to your child about drug and alcohol use. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, starting the conversation isn’t always easy, but research suggests that the majority of teens – around 80% – feel parents should have a say in whether they drink alcohol.

A PARENT CHECKLIST FOR TALKING TO TEENS ABOUT DRUGS AND ALCOHOL

  • ENCOURAGE OPEN DIALOGUE

If you’ve been talking to your child openly throughout the years then you’ve formed a solid foundation for an open dialogue. However, as your child matures even the most communicative child can close up. It’s up to you to keep the lines of communication open and non-judgmental.

  • SET ASIDE ONE-ON-ONE BONDING TIME

Sometimes your child needs to be reminded despite the preoccupations of everyday life for the both of you – work, school, after-school functions, siblings and family obligations – he or she still matters and is being listened to. Try to get some one-on-one time with each of your children.

  • JUST LISTEN

When you talk with your child about drinking and drug use, listen and respect what they have to say. These are conversations you’ll want to have many times over the years and if they shut down initially, it may be more difficult to get them to open up later.

  • DISCUSS DRUGS AND ALCOHOL IN A WAY THAT REFLECTS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE TOPIC

A quick chat in between texts or on the drive to soccer practice may not be sufficient to signal the gravity and importance of drug abuse. We know it’s hard to find the right time to have a conversation with your children, but this is an important message to share.

  • SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS

Make clear your expectations to your child – that drinking and using drugs is unacceptable. Let them know your expectations will be enforced.

For more information, download our Free Guide to Understanding Drug and Alcohol Abuse at www.RecoverGateway.org/Teens.

National Safety Month a Good Time to Talk to Teens about Drinking Alcohol and Drug Use

talking to teens, drinking alcohol, drug useJune is National Safety Month, which also coincides with the end of the school year. It’s a time of year when many young people have extra time on their hands and for some, temptation can be right around the corner.

In keeping with National Safety Month, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers would like to remind parents to talk with their kids about drinking alcohol and drug use.

Start the Conversation

The power of conversation should not be underestimated – adolescents really do listen to what their parents say about smoking, drinking alcohol and drug use. It can be a challenge to find the time to have a sit-down, face-to-face conversation with your children, but it’s well worth the effort. Once a conversation has been initiated, it should become an ongoing dialogue that you will revisit and reinforce over the years.

Communicating Effectively

Parents may be unsure how to begin talking to their children about alcohol and drugs. The following tips can help:

  • Listen to your child and respect what he or she has to say. A child who feels judged is less likely to share their concerns with you.
  • Be clear about your expectations of no drinking alcohol or drug use and let your child know these expectations will be enforced.
  • Talk about the dangers of drinking alcohol and drug use, including laws, potential repercussions and health-related outcomes.

Know the Dangers

The brain of an adolescent is not yet fully developed. Drinking alcohol damages the development of the executive function of the brain, which is how we make decisions, defer gratification, and plan now for a reward that’s down the road.

Marijuana also affects the development of the adolescent brain, causing changes that may result in learning issues, memory problems and IQ loss.

“If parents want their children to grow up to realize their full potential, they should not condone drinking alcohol or smoking pot,” explained Dr. John Larson, Gateway’s Corporate Medical Director.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), following marijuana and alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter drugs have become the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older. Once a person becomes dependent on opioids such as Vicodin and Oxycontin they may eventually switch to heroin because it is easier to access and much less expensive.

Many parents like to believe their child is not vulnerable to alcohol or drug abuse, but sadly, this isn’t so. There is a wide variety of alcohol and drugs available to young people, who are often just looking to have some fun. Establishing open communication is one of the most powerful tools parents have to positively influence their kids’ decisions, during National Safety Month, and throughout the year.

For a Parent’s Checklist for Talking to Teens about Drugs & Alcohol visit RecoverGateway.org/ParentChecklist

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