As the family receives education, guidance and support, they will learn how best to support their loved one as well as themselves. Additionally, we can make referrals for family members to local therapists and support groups. We also offer an on-site Al-Anon meeting from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. immediately following our Family Program on Saturdays. Attendance at this meeting allows relatives, loved ones, friends, and any other concerned person to feel supported and talk confidentially with others who have been in the same or similar situations and is held without the clients present.

 

Addiction is a family disease that affects everyone connected to the addict. So what should family and friends do (and not do) when someone they love is addicted? 

Addiction is a disease of the body, mind and spirit from which people can and do recover. Like any other disease, no one intends to get sick or wishes it upon someone. Addiction recovery is a process of healing from the different layers of pain, disappointment, shame and guilt that come with addiction.

What not to do:

  • Do not think you can control the addict or the addiction.  Understand that the addict and the addiction are beyond your control.  You can only control yourself.
  • Do not enable the addict or alcoholic. There is a difference between helping and enabling someone.  Helping someone is doing something for someone which they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling someone is doing for someone something they can do and should do for themselves.  Helping looks at the long term benefits and consequences, whereas enabling only looks at the immediate situation or drama.
  • Do not make threats you won’t be able to follow through on. Addicts/alcoholics will continue to push any boundaries to the limits and weaken your resolve. Set limits you can keep and then keep them.
  • Do not shame or scorn the addict/alcoholic. Addiction is a shame based disease and does not need any more shaming to fuel itself. The addict/alcoholic often suffers from chronic shame which includes different levels of low self-worth, low self-esteem, self-hatred, and a distorted self-image.
  • Do not make excuses or cover up for the addict/alcoholic.  Allow them to experience the full consequences of their addiction. Do not deny or minimize the addiction or its severity. Trying to fix their problems, manage their lives or control the addict’s behaviors only prolongs the addict from learning to be accountable and responsible for their actions. They are kept from learning the valuable lessons they need in order to grow and change.
  • Do not allow your emotions to get the best of you. You have ridden a roller coaster of emotions long enough; it is now time for you to get off the ride. If you find yourself getting overly emotional in dealing with the addict/alcoholic, step away until you can be calm.  Addiction creates drama, so be prepared for how you will act before the drama begins.

What to do:

  • Be patient while the addict/alcoholic is in recovery. Recovery is a journey not a destination.  Recovery will happen in several stages and may not happen in a neat line.
  • Do what you can at the moment. There will be situations where you will be hesitant or confused about what to do. Make the best decision you can at the time and move one.  Learn what works and doesn’t work and act accordingly.  Remember to fully accept that you made the best decision at the time with the information you had available.
  • Do focus on yourself not on the addict/alcoholic. Loved ones need to focus their efforts on staying healthy. You can’t help the addict if you are not healthy and cannot help yourself. You and your families’ well-being depends on it.
  • Set boundaries for your long-term health and sanity. Lovingly (and frequently, if necessary) insist that your boundaries be respected and state the consequences for any violation of your boundaries.  Follow through on these consequences. See your follow-through as an act of love that builds trust for yourself and the addict/alcoholic.
  • Do identify and recognize the different areas of life that have been neglected as a result of your preoccupation with the addict/alcoholic and begin to rectify any damage done.
  • Do practice letting go of your need to fix, manage or control the addict/alcohol or situations and circumstances that arise from the addiction. This is sometimes called "release with love”.
  • Do seek help for yourself and other family members. Getting outside help is often critical for complete healing and growth. It can also provide a healthy perspective on your situation and interactions.  Seek out a therapist, counselor, Al-AnonNar-anon, Smart Recovery, Co-Dependents Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics or some other group that focuses on those who are affected by an addict/alcoholic.

Change will take time but will be a beautiful journey of uncovering, discovering, and recovering your lives. You will not only survive, but thrive.

Remember: Progress, not Perfection

New Hope Recovery Center provides individualized treatment for all clients.  We understand that each client is unique.  If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you can reach us at 888-707-4673 (HOPE) or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

 

 

sober thanksgivingWe are entering the time of year when parties, family get-togethers and excessive eating, drinking and merriment can create difficult or at least tricky situations for those in recovery.  Thanksgiving in particular can be a challenging time.  Family interaction is often expected and it may be the first family get-together in a while.

6 Tips for Having a Happy and Sober Thanksgiving:

1. Review the Past.  If you are planning to be with family or friends during Thanksgiving, reflect on past Thanksgivings.  Were they stressful?  Was there a great deal of drinking and partying?  Did family members fight or bring up and/or re-inflict old wounds?  Did you feel comfortable and at ease?

By reviewing the past, you can look for things that may temp you to drink or use again.  When and where do you think your buttons will be pushed? What situations or encounters led you to feel stressed, angry, sad or hurt in the past? Just because you are sober doesn’t mean that things will be drastically different.  Hope for the best, plan for the worst and be ready for everything.  Being prepared is the best thing you can do.

2. Plan Your Entrance.  Now that you have reviewed where you could feel stressed, anxious, irritated/angry or triggered, plan how you will attend.  Is it better to go early and get comfortable?  Is it better to go later, to avoid certain encounters?  Is it better to go with a sober friend or family member?

Perhaps it is better to not attend at all?  If that is the case, is there a way you can communicate with your family to express your thankfulness for them, but yet keep yourself safe?  Look for sober friends you can celebrate with.  If you decide that it would not be healthy for you to be around family and old friends during Thanksgiving, plan something special with others. 

 3. Plan Your Exit.   Before you go, plan on how long you think you can comfortably stay.  If you know from past experience that staying for a full day, or a full holiday weekend will be too much or dangerous to your sobriety, then plan your visit accordingly.  Let your family know about your plans ahead of time.  This will help you set realistic expectations and allow others to understand your plans.  Be prepared to leave even earlier than you may have originally planned if you are triggered or feel unmanageable stress, anxiety or anger.  It is acceptable to explain that you feel you need to leave early.

 4. Have Support Ready.   Let your support group and sober friends know about your plans and any difficulties that may arise or did arise in the past.  Tell them your travel days and times.  Have a person available you can call if things get difficult.  Or perhaps ask someone to go with you.

If you decide that you cannot safely attend your family’s Thanksgiving, see what sober events are available near you.  Thanksgiving can be triggering even without family and old friends around.  It can also be lonely…most restaurants and stores (although fewer each year) are closed.  So plan ahead to share your Thanksgiving with others.  One great way to spend Thanksgiving is to volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter for the day.  It can be an incredibly moving experience that will fill you with gratitude.

 5. Be Honest and Realistic.  It's best to be open about your addiction and recovery with family and friends.  At a minimum be clear about your boundaries and rules.  At a minimum tell your family that you are not drinking or using during the visit.

You should feel wonderful about your sobriety, however, don’t expect that everything within your family will be drastically different immediately.  People change and evolve in small steps, so look for tiny increments of change.  Sure, you are different, but give your family time to actually see and experience the difference.  Seeing truly is believing for family and friends, especially those you may have hurt in the past.

 6. Be Grateful and Enjoy – Now that you have planned ahead, you can relax and enjoy your Thanksgiving.  Relaxing during a holiday isn’t always easy, so remember to breathe deeply.  Thanksgiving is a holiday dedicated to being grateful, so think of at least three things you are grateful for, and try not to stop with three.  Our entire world changes when we see the world through gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you or a loved one would like help with an addiction, you can contact New Hope Recovery Center for assistance.  888-707-4673 or info@new-hope-recovery.com

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

888-707-4673

info@new-hope-recovery.com

addiction in the familyAddiction doesn’t happen in a bubble, it has a way of altering a family and the interactions of family members.  The effect addiction in the family has becomes quite apparent when we look at the dysfunctional communication roles that family members often take on.  These interactions are fittingly called The Drama Triangle.  There are three roles in the Drama Triangle and each one is reactive and manipulative instead of honest and authentic.

What Are The Roles People Play When Addiction Exists In A Family?

Victim: This person continually feels victimized for what others are doing to him or her.    They feel helpless and hopeless.  Victims typically have unrealistic expectations and feel despair, vulnerability, and suffer chronic disappointment. Victims or martyrs tend to communicate in passive ways.  The victim avoids responsibility by blaming others and trying to control them with guilt.  This person feels “less than” the persecutor and often receives pity and is taken care of by the rescuer.

Persecutor: This person acts out in order to get revenge and/or offend others, as a way of avoiding his or her own discomfort.  Persecutors often communicate in an aggressive way.  They blame and criticize others.  They see everything as win/lose and insist on “being right”.  This person feels “better than” the victim and uses intimidation and threats to feel power and try to boost self-esteem.

Rescuer: This person is a natural caretaker and very non-confrontational.  They keep secrets and enable addictive behaviors.  Rescuers provide unasked help (while neglecting themselves) and often feel tired, depleted, unappreciated, and resentful. Rescuers communicate in a passive-aggressive way.  This person feels superior to both the persecutor and the victim.  Rescuers concentrate on others in an effort to avoid turning inward.

If you see yourself in different roles in different situations, that is expected!   

People will start in one role and often move around the triangle to different roles, sometimes within one interaction.  For instance, consider an alcoholic who is out late drinking while their partner is at home worried.  The alcoholic may come home to an angry partner (persecutor role) and instantly be in the victim role but then try to turn the blame onto his/her partner (therefore reversing the roles).  The interaction may then evolve further with the partner helping the alcoholic to bed and calling into work on his/her behalf the next day (rescuing role).

Also, don’t forget this is the drama triangle, so these roles are assumed when things are going awry.  These are not permanent roles.  However, as we know as an addiction progresses things go awry more and more often.

Why Would Anyone Participate In The Drama Triangle?

We take on these roles because subconsciously there is a perceived benefit to each one.

  • The victim receives pity and doesn’t need to take full responsibility for their actions.
  • The rescuer feels superior although over time they feel unappreciated, frustrated and tired from their attempts to rescue.
  • The persecutor feels a sense of power and entitlement and demands respect from others.

But these benefits are really an illusion, Claude Steiner comments, “The victim is not really as helpless as he feels, the rescuer is not really helping, and the persecutor does not really have a valid complaint.”  All the roles have something in common: by taking on a role, you don’t have to deal with your own issues or take responsibility for your own actions.  The roles serve the purpose of getting our adult needs met but in immature ways.  All three roles share a lack of boundaries and hinder one’s ability to be intimate and/or respond to others appropriately.

How To Step Out Of The Drama Triangle?

The only person you can control is yourself.  You can begin to step out of the unmanageability of the drama triangle by:

  • Recognizing that there is a Drama Triangle that is not working
  • Setting healthy boundaries
  • Taking responsibility for your own actions
  • Speaking honestly, calmly saying what you really mean
  • Having respect for yourself and others
  • Valuing the relationships more than being right, or better than

If you or a loved one is repeatedly in The Drama Triangle because of addiction.  You can get help getting out by contacting New Hope Recover Center at info@new-hope-recovery.com or 773-883-3916.  For more information about us visit our website at www.new-hope-recovery.com.

Other articles you may find interesting: Family Roles and Addiction

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

 

codependent addictionCodependency is a tricky term that is often used in everyday conversation.  Although broader definitions explain the term as a general personality type, one of the original uses of codependency was the idea of a codependent individual having an unhealthy relationship with (often the spouse or child of) an alcoholic or drug addicted person.

A Codependent Personality exhibits several symptoms:

  • A compulsive and unrelenting need to be needed
  • Low self esteem
  • Putting others’ needs first, to the detriment of oneself
  • Deep fear of abandonment and rejection
  • Extreme emotions
  • Strong need for approval or recognition
  • A need to control others
  • Difficulty in adapting to changes and making decisions
  • Passive-aggressive style of communication
  • Poor boundaries and difficulty saying “no”

A person demonstrating a tendency toward codependency will exhibit these symptoms, regardless of whether or not he/she is in a codependent relationship. It is not uncommon to see these patterns emerge across many relationships and settings.  For example, a codependent person may have trouble saying no to a boss, may be preoccupied with needing friends to be happy all of the time, may have trouble telling a parent or partner when she is angry or frustrated and may have extreme difficulties setting limits with his or her child, partner, family or friends.  For a codependent person, these symptoms will be seen across nearly all relationships and over an extended period of time/across a lifespan, unless there is treatment.

A Codependent Relationship can be identified by the following symptoms/patterns:

  • Unhealthy push/pull dynamics,
  • Passive pleasing vs. aggressive demands,
  • A sacrificing of one’s self for a relationship or another’s happiness, and
  • Continuing in a relationship that is not working due to the fact that neither party is willing to give up the security of it

Much of the literature that exists regarding codependency examines the specific dynamic between a codependent and narcissistic personality.  The traits exhibited by these personality types are magnets for each other, creating a balance that, while highly maladaptive and unhealthy, serve to meet the specific emotional needs of each person.   The more the codependent strives to please, caretake and meet the needs of his/her partner, the more the narcissistic individual will take. The narcissistic person needs to be catered to, cared for and put first as much as the codependent needs to care for, please, adore and be approved of.  Once the dynamic is in motion, it becomes highly addictive, and codependency can mirror any other addiction in its compulsive, progressive nature.

As with all addictions, codependency is seen as highly treatable.  The first step is to realize and accept that you are codependent.  Once denial is dealt with and one can come to terms with the maladaptive patterns of codependency, healing can begin and one can learn to seek healthier partners and improve existing strained and unfulfilling relationships with family, friends and loved ones.  12-Step programs such as Codependents Anonymous, Al-anon, Alateen and ACOA (adult children of alcoholics) are extremely helpful for providing the lifelong support and guidance needed to come to terms with and stop acting out the painful patterns and self-denying behaviors associated with codependency.  Codependents tend to be perfectionists and reluctant to ask for help, so if going to meetings is too big a step,  Melody Beattie has written several excellent books on codependency, including Codependent No More.  This can be a good starting point for your healing.

New Hope Recovery Center, Chicago’s premier alcohol and drug addiction facility, offers treatment to those addicted to drugs or alcohol and their families.  Our family programming allows families to see how addiction has impacted the entire family.  We encourage all family members to begin their own journey of healing.

If you or someone you love is affected by addiction, New Hope Recovery Center can help. Contact us at 773-883-3916 or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Looking into addiction treatment programs (rehab) for yourself or a loved one can seem overwhelming.  Generally life is already stressful and unmanageable.  Trying to understand what options are available within the treatment world and what would work best is not an easy task.  To give you a starting point, here are 5 frequently asked questions about rehab and addiction treatment that will lead you in the right direction.

1.  How Much Does Addiction Treatment Cost?

The cost of treatment varies greatly based on the provider. It could be free or it could cost over $50,000.00. Many addiction treatment services are covered by insurance.  However, insurance coverage varies greatly by the carrier and the client's specific policy. Some treatment centers don't accept insurance, which means you may need to pay out of pocket at admission, and the provider will "Super Bill" you meaning you pay cash and they give you a bill to submit to insurance yourself. Insurance does not reimburse this amount at 100% or sometimes at all, which can be financially draining on the client and their family members. To avoid this, call your insurance carrier and ask them who is in network, your insurance company should be able to give you a list of facilities to choose from.

New Hope Recovery Center takes most major insurance and can check your benefits for you to determine what coverage you or your loved one has for addiction treatment.  Its important for treatment centers to review your insurance benefits with you and let you know if there are any costs you will need to pay prior to admission. Unexpected financial burdens can just cause more heartache during the recovery process, so if you ask the right questions up front, you should be able to alleviate unexpected bills later on down the road. Some questions that will be helpful when finding out about your insurance  coverage are: (1) Is there is a deductible and if so, how much has been met?  Are there any co-pays? (2) Is pre-certification required? (3) Do you need a PCP (primary care physician) referral (HMO policies only)? (4) If there is a maximum out of pocket cost and if so, how much has been met? (5) Is there a maximum number of sessions available? 

If you do not have insurance and cannot afford out of pocket expenses, state funded programs may be available in your area. Unfortunately, many state funded programs have wait lists and it can be difficult to qualify for treatment. The sooner you call, the sooner you can get in treatment. Always leave your name on the wait-list, they occasionally go quicker than than expected. Not all treatment centers participate in state funded options, but some may have scholarship opportunities or sliding scales. The important thing is to ask the questions about cost before your loved one gets admitted. It is important to remember, some people need to go to treatment more than once to obtain long term recovery, so find a place that fits your needs and is within your budget, paying tens of thousands of dollars on a treatment center will not guarantee your loved one will stay sober. 

2.  How Long Does Treatment Last?

Treatment will depend on the severity and/or type of addiction(s) a person suffers from. Treatment may range from:

  • Hospital based detoxification – Generally 3 to 7 days
  • Residential treatment program – 30 to 60 days
  • Partial Hospital Program (Day Program) – 1 to 4 weeks
  • Intensive Outpatient Program – 4 to 6 weeks
  • Aftercare Program - 6 to 24 months 

Providers offer different levels of treatment, you may need to go to a hospital for detoxification, and then transfer to a residential facility for treatment depending on the provider's continuum of care. Many treatment programs works with each other to ensure a smooth transition from one treatment center to another. 

3.  How Do I Know What Treatment Program Will Work For Me?

Treatment will only really work for you if you work it. Most addicts exhibit impulsive, compulsive, and obsessive thoughts and behaviors which will need to be overcome in order to succeed in rehab.  Also other areas of life can directly affect the chances of a successful treatment outcome. Having supportive friends and family, living in a safe environment, devoting time to your recovery can all  increase the chances of a successful recovery.  It is essential to be open, honest and willing to do whatever is necessary to begin living a sober life. What you put into it will be what you get out of it. It is important to put recovery first.

When looking into a treatment program, ask what the program consists of, visit the location, meet with counselors and staff. Most treatment centers will offer a free assessment to determine what level of care is most appropriate. The best treatment facility for you is one where you feel comfortable, where you feel welcomed and where you will want to stay.

4.  What Kind Of Family Involvement Is Needed?

For the best possible treatment results, family involvement is crucial. Addiction is a family disease, which means treating one member of the family will not ensure long term recovery for the family.  It affects everyone in the family and so the family must work toward wellness.  Even if there have been previous treatment episodes, family involvement is one of the most effective ways to heal the family and its members. Some providers have extended family programs which include support groups, such as, Al-anon and Family Anonymous.

5.  What Is The Process For Getting Into Rehab For Addiction?

The process begins by calling and speaking with an intake person and/or a certified alcohol and drug counselor who can answer any questions you may have. If you and the treatment center feel there is a good fit based on your situation, there will usually be an assessment to establish the severity of the addiction and other problem(s) and to determine what level of treatment is necessary. Information about the process at New Hope Recovery Center: Admissions Process.

Addiction is a progressive and fatal disease.  The longer an addicted person remains in treatment, the better the outcome.

For more information about finding a treatment center right for you, contact New Hope Recovery Center. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, it is important to call and go in for an assessment with a professional.  All assessments at New Hope Recovery Center are confidential with no obligation for further treatment. Recovery is possible, let us help. Call us at 888-707-4673 or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

If you are considering addiction treatment, you may find these articles helpful as well:

Prescription Drug Rehab: 5 Important Questions to Ask

Overcoming the Fears of Going to Addiction Treatment

Intensive Outpatient Treatment: The New Standard?

Drug or Alcohol Addiction Rehab in Chicago

How to Find the Best Treatment Center in Chicago

 

From all the research that has been done in the field of addiction over the past 30-40 years, we know several factors are involved in the development and continuance of addictive behavior.   Within the disease model of addiction, we understand the development of an addiction stems from the genes we have inherited.  Once these particular genes are activated, the disease progresses, from the point of onset to chronic and often fatal stages, unless it is treated.

Through this medical model, we learn that addiction is a biopsychosocial disease, with many factors contributing to the development of an addiction including our biology or genetics (bio); our thoughts, feelings and emotions (psycho); and our personal histories: the way we were raised, the environmental and cultural cues and messages we are exposed to (social).

Traditional learning theory (specifically operant conditioning) states that we tend to repeat behaviors that are pleasurable, thereby setting up a pattern of action, reward, repeated action.  Our brains are hard-wired to be able to learn this way, as it is critical for our survival.  For example, when we eat, dopamine is released in the brain, sending the message to repeat the behavior.  The concept of making associations is key to learning theory as are the concepts of reinforcement and punishment.   Getting a pleasurable response to a behavior (i.e. feeling satisfied after eating a tasty meal) increases the chance that we will seek opportunities to repeat the behavior.  On the contrary, being punished after doing a behavior (i.e. getting burned from touching a hot stove) drastically reduces the likelihood we will repeat the behavior.

When looked at against the backdrop of addictive behavior, it is easy to understand how one can get caught up in the cycle of repeating certain behaviors.  Although in time, addictive behaviors come with negative consequences (punishments), they are initially paired with the experience of pleasure.  In the case of certain drugs and routes of administration (for example shooting heroin), the behavior is paired with extreme pleasure.  In learning theory, the stronger the experience of pleasure, the stronger the association will be and therefore, the more likely one will want to repeat the behavior.

Classical conditioning, another subset of learning theory, can explain why formerly neutral stimuli become paired with the anticipation of pleasure as they become cues for the target behavior.  Environmental cueing and classical conditioning are theories that account specifically for relapse.  For example, a previously neutral or even negative stimulus such as a needle can in and of itself set off the phenomenon known as craving in an individual who is addicted to heroin or crystal methamphetamine.  In this case, one may experience intense psychological cravings without even coming into contact with the actual drug, only with the stimuli that have become paired associations with the drug.  These intense cravings can easily lead to relapse, if not addressed and dealt with properly.

Further, social learning theory, first explained by Albert Bandura in 1961, also explains addiction in terms of the biopsychosocial model.  Social learning theory posits that we can learn and make associations in a social context, simply by observing and imitating the behaviors of others.  The behavior(s) being observed are most likely to be repeated if reward is part of the observation.  For example, a person watching his/her peers drink, laugh and have fun will pair that association and increase the likelihood that he/she will attempt the behavior as well.  This is known as vicarious reinforcement.

With a pattern of addiction, social learning is often responsible for the initiation of drug/alcohol related behavior.  Once the addictive process has taken over, social factors fade out and become largely irrelevant to the maintenance of the addiction.  As the addiction progresses, opportunities to learn from healthy individuals engaged in healthy or adaptive ways of coping with stress become scarce, as healthy people begin to disengage from the addict and as the addict associates almost exclusively with other addicts or users.

Learning theory, including operant and classical conditioning and social learning can be applied to recovery as well.  In recovery, we re-learn the associations made in the brain during our addiction.  We pair craving and/or stress with picking up the phone and reaching out to our sober network.  We learn to avoid things, people or situations that will lead us back to using.  We make daily associations such as waking up in the morning and praying or meditating.  And finally, we learn socially acceptable behavior from our sober mentors, family and friends.

New Hope Recovery Center is an alcohol and drug rehab treatment center located in Chicago, IL. We provide Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient, and Aftercare. We also have a LGBTQI specific addiction treatment program entitled "New Hope With Pride.” We offer personalized, holistic treatment by examining the whole person: mind, body and spirit.  Our small intimate setting caters to your specific needs and we provide place of support, nurture and safety leading to hope and healing. If you are interested in a confidential assessment, or you know someone who is, call 888-707-4673 to talk to a staff member.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

The risks and detrimental effects of alcohol abuse by young adults under the age of 25 can have life-long consequences.  In a recent survey, nearly 80% of 17-18 year olds had consumed alcohol, with over 47% of these 17-18 year olds using alcohol regularly.

To help your young adult/teenager get the fullest from life, it is important to have an honest discussion about alcohol and its effects.  But what do you say and how do you do it? Here is a helpful guide on how to talk to your teenager about drinking.

First, don’t expect to only have one big discussion on alcohol, the subject should come up many times as your child grows.  Start young by creating regular, open, honest communications with your child.  Be casual and relaxed.  Be open to what your teen says, truly listen.  Keep your emotions in check (remember deep breaths if you hear something upsetting or irritating).  If your child feels comfortable talking with you, your discussions will be more effective.

Once you have good regular communications, you can begin to discuss alcohol.

  • Start with asking what your teen thinks about alcohol?  What does s/he know about it?  If your teen has used alcohol, calmly asked what they thought? Why they used it?  What was the result?
  • Share facts about alcohol.  It is a powerful drug.  Regular drinking by teenagers can create many problems:  teens have the highest rate of traffic accidents and alcohol use increases these risks; drinking affects coordination, the ability to think and make decisions; teens who drink are more likely to be the victim of violence; as well as experience longer term injury or damage to their brain. Point out the teen brain is still developing and alcohol affects normal development.
  • Talk about any perceived attractions or myths about drinking:  Does your teen feel peer pressure to drink?  Do they think drinking will let them be more social or fit in better?  Discuss alcohol commercials on TV and ads in magazines, where everyone is fit, beautiful, having fun.  What do they think alcohol will do or does do for them?
  • Point out that alcohol is a depressant and although it may seem to provide happy or pleasant feelings, these feelings don’t last and often people feel down, sad or even depressed after drinking.
  • Drinking is illegal, and there are serious consequences for teens arrested for drinking alcohol.
  • Be prepared to discuss your own drinking and history.  Your teen will likely ask.  Even if they don’t, it is best if you volunteer things you learned about drinking.  Share consequences you have experienced from drinking.
  • Also discuss any family history with drinking. If you have a family history of alcoholism, let your teen know that this means s/he is much more likely to become addicted, its in the family genes.
  • Ask about your teen’s friends.  What do they think about drinking or drugs?  Do they drink? Has your teen had any experience with people drinking?

All this may not happen in one conversation.  Always thank your child for the talk and for sharing. Appreciate their insights and their honesty. It is important to let them speak and feel open with you, but do not blur the lines on the parent/child relationship. Never allow your teenager to drinking at your house. It is illegal and it portrays the wrong message. Never drink with your teenager, even at family gatherings, its illegal, inappropriate, and damaging to their health.

Finally, be a role model.  Your actions speak much louder to your teen than words. If you drink, do so in moderation.  When discussing alcohol, don’t state it is good or helpful.  Also emphasize that for those older than 21 and particularly over 25 experience less brain impairment from alcohol.  Discuss the rules you have for yourself: never drinking and driving, setting limits on your own drinking either by quantity or days or amount of time, only drinking with friends or family, etc.

If you know or suspect your teen has a problem with alcohol, there are resources available that can help you and your teen. Early interventions are proven to be a helpful resource for many teenagers. If your teenager is over 18 years old, you may schedule an appointment with New Hope Recovery Center for a confidential assessment.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about young adults and addiction? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 

Warning Signs Your Teen is Drinking Alcohol Although drinking in moderation can be safe for adults, drinking by anyone under 21 can be a serious issue and should not be ignored, dismissed or minimized.  There are, of course, the immediate risks and harms a young adult may experience from drinking alcohol: they are more likely to have driving accidents, experience death from alcohol poisoning (excessive drinking), have violent behavior, be the victim of violent crime, to have unprotected sex, and to have depression and anxiety.

Long Term Impact of Alcohol and Drug Use on Emerging Adults Emerging Adulthood, the period of life from approximately age 18 to the late 20's, is not only a critical time for psychological and social development, but also for physical brain development. Contrary to a popular assumption that the brain is mature by the age of 18, recent studies have shown that profound brain growth and change still occur during Emerging Adulthood. [Studies]  The heavy use of drugs and alcohol during this time frame can inhibit a person’s brain development and have long term consequences.

Emerging Adults – Time of Stress, Change, and Possibly Addiction The period after high school through the late 20's is now considered a unique developmental phase, Emerging Adulthood.  For Emerging Adults life is typically filled with an unprecedented amount of change and a time for asking many deeply-personal life questions. Robin Marantz Henig discusses some of these changes in her New York Times Magazine article. Emerging Adults frequently change residences (slightly more than 30% move every year); change jobs (averaging seven jobs during their 20's these changes can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety.)

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse Parents of Emerging Adults (ages 18-late 20′s) are important partners in the prevention of drug abuse. In New Hope Recovery Center’s continuing efforts to assist parents, we want to pay special attention to a serious problem impacting Emerging Adults: prescription drug abuse which is the intentional use of medication without a prescription.  Parents may not be unaware of how serious this problem has become, so we want to share 5 must-know facts for parents of Emerging Adults.

Student Drug Abuse Warning Signs Young adults face many temptations and opportunities to use and abuse drugs and alcohol.  As a parent, it is important to allow for appropriate independence and growth for your student or young adult, but also to keep a watchful eye looking for warning signs or symptoms of drug or alcohol use/addiction. Part of growing up involves making mistakes and hopefully learning from them.  These teachable moments allow students and emerging adults to learn how to respond better in the future.  Students and emerging adults may not always be able to quickly identify and correct mistakes or difficulties they face. They also are more susceptible to peer pressure or having their viewpoints shaped by outside influences. For this reason, parents need to be closely aware of what is happening in their young adult’s life.

Fighting Peer Pressure: 3 Ways To Limit Addiction Risk in Young Adults Do you remember growing up and wanting to be liked and included in your peer group?  One of the hardest parts of growing up is feeling excluded from peer groups and while this can be challenging, it is also a normal part of the development of an Emerging Adult.  If it did not come naturally, you might remember changing your attitudes, values or behaviors to belong a certain peer group, which is exactly where your Emerging Adult may be developmentally.

 

Although drinking in moderation can be safe for adults, drinking by anyone under 21 can be a serious issue and should not be ignored, dismissed or minimized.  There are, of course, the immediate risks and harms a young adult may experience from drinking alcohol: they are more likely to have driving accidents, experience death from alcohol poisoning (excessive drinking), have violent behavior, be the victim of violent crime, to have unprotected sex, and to have depression and anxiety.

Equally concerning, a number of reports and studies indicate that drinking by young adults (anyone under 25 years of age) can have serious long-term consequences as well. It is now understood that the human brain is still developing and growing until the mid-20s.  Heavy drinking before the brain has completed its development can cause numerous long-lasting problems.  A recent study by neuroscientist Susan Tapert of the University of California, San Diego compared the brain scans of teens who drink heavily with the scans of teens who don't.  Tapert's team found damaged nerve tissue in the brains of the teens who drank. The researchers believe this damage negatively affects attention span in boys, and girls' ability to comprehend and interpret visual information.

According to a national survey of 43,093 adults, published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 47% of those who begin drinking alcohol before the age of 14 become alcohol dependent at some time in their lives, compared with 9% of those who do not drink until at least age 21.

In a study comparing the brains of youth ages 14 to 21 who did abuse alcohol with those who did not abuse alcohol, researchers found that the hippocampi of drinkers were about 10% smaller than in those who did not drink.  The hippocampus is the area of the brain critical for regulating emotions, for storing and recovering memory, in particular long-term memory and for spatial navigation.  Damage or stunting of the hippocampus can lead to loss of memory and difficulty in establishing new memories. For example with Alzheimer's disease the hippocampus is one of the first regions of the brain to be affected, leading to the confusion and loss of memory.

Drinking by young adults is a serious issue and can have potentially life-long consequences. So, how can you tell if your teen is drinking or abusing alcohol?  Here are some of the warning signs to look for:

Physical Warning Signs Of Alcohol Use And Abuse

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Shaking, tremors or seizures without a history of epilepsy
  • Poor personal grooming, hygiene and physical appearance
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination
  • Injuries or bruises that your teen can’t remember how they happened
  • Smell of alcohol on breath, body, or clothing
  • Sudden use of breath mints or gum
  • Incoherent or slurred speech
  • Finding alcohol in your teen’s room or with belongings
  • Alcohol missing from house, discovering watered-down bottles of alcohol

Behavior Warning Signs Of Alcohol Use And Abuse

  • Missing school or classes
  • Drop in grades
  • Getting in trouble at school, or with the law
  • Increase in arguments, fights, accidents
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, hobbies or sports
  • Missing money or valuables or frequently asking for money
  • Increased isolation, silence, being withdrawn
  • Increase in secretive or suspicious behaviors
  • Refusing to discuss new friends, activities
  • Locking doors
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts
  • Using eye drops to hide bloodshot eyes
  • Unexplained change in personality and/or attitude
  • Sudden mood changes, irritability, outbursts

Many of the items listed are common in all teenagers.  Nearly all teens will be irritable and have abrupt mood changes due to the hormonal changes they are experiencing.  However, if several of these warning signs occur, be alert for more.  If you do find your teen is drinking or abusing alcohol, talk to them about it.  Explain to them the new findings on what alcohol does to teenage brains and its lasting impact.  See our article on “How to Talk to Your Teen About Alcohol” for more suggestions.

Finally, if you discover your teen is regularly drinking and the drinking is having consequences, look into treatment options for help.  New Hope Recovery Center can offer treatment suggestions for your teen/young adult. The early you intervene on teen drinking the better. Call 888-707-4673 to set up a confidential assessment.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about young adults and addiction? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 

How to Talk to Your Teenager About Drinking To help your young adult/teenager get the fullest from life, it is important to have an honest discussion about alcohol and its effects.  But what do you say and how do you do it? Here is a helpful guide on how to talk to your teenager about drinking.

Long Term Impact of Alcohol and Drug Use on Emerging Adults Emerging Adulthood, the period of life from approximately age 18 to the late 20s, is not only a critical time for psychological and social development, but also for physical brain development. Contrary to a popular assumption that the brain is mature by the age of 18, recent studies have shown that profound brain growth and change still occur during Emerging Adulthood. [Studies]  The heavy use of drugs and alcohol during this time frame can inhibit a person’s brain development and have long term consequences.

Emerging Adults – Time of Stress, Change, and Possibly Addiction The period after high school through the late 20s is now considered a unique developmental phase, Emerging Adulthood.  For Emerging Adults life is typically filled with an unprecedented amount of change and a time for asking many deeply-personal life questions. Robin Marantz Henig discusses some of these changes in her New York Times Magazine article. Emerging Adults frequently change residences (slightly more than 30% move everyyear); change jobs (averaging seven jobs during their 20s); move back with parents (more than 40% move back in with their parents at least once during their 20s); and often spend time living with a romantic partner (66%).  These changes can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety.

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse Parents of Emerging Adults (ages 18-late 20′s) are important partners in the prevention of drug abuse. In New Hope Recovery Center’s continuing efforts to assist parents, we want to pay special attention to a serious problem impacting Emerging Adults: prescription drug abuse which is the intentional use of medication without a prescription.  Parents may not be unaware of how serious this problem has become, so we want to share 5 must-know facts for parents of Emerging Adults.

Student Drug Abuse Warning Signs Young adults face many temptations and opportunities to use and abuse drugs and alcohol.  As a parent, it is important to allow for appropriate independence and growth for your student or young adult, but also to keep a watchful eye looking for warning signs or symptoms of drug or alcohol use/addiction. Part of growing up involves making mistakes and hopefully learning from them.  These teachable moments allow students and emerging adults to learn how to respond better in the future.  Students and emerging adults may not always be able to quickly identify and correct mistakes or difficulties they face. They also are more susceptible to peer pressure or having their viewpoints shaped by outside influences. For this reason, parents need to be closely aware of what is happening in their young adult’s life.

Fighting Peer Pressure: 3 Ways To Limit Addiction Risk in Young Adults Do you remember growing up and wanting to be liked and included in your peer group?  One of the hardest parts of growing up is feeling excluded from peer groups and while this can be challenging, it is also a normal part of the development of an Emerging Adult.  If it did not come naturally, you might remember changing your attitudes, values or behaviors to belong a certain peer group, which is exactly where your Emerging Adult may be developmentally.

 

Prescription drug abuse and addiction is something frequently over looked. Stigma is guided by perception and in the field of addiction there is a hierarchy of stigma.  A common stigma easily identified is the public perception surrounding licit and illicit drugs.  Alcohol is perceived as a lesser evil because it is a legal substance, whereas heroin for instance is perceived as one of the most dangerous and hardcore drugs because it is illegal. Alcohol is in fact one of the most dangerous and toxic substances that people abuse and yet it continues to carry less of a social stigma. Prescription pills are perceived as more socially acceptable because they are legal substances that are prescribed by doctors.  However, prescription pills often get acquired illicitly and subsequently abused.

Prescription drug abuse is defined as taking a prescribed drug for non-medical use or not as prescribed.  Prescription pills come in almost every class of drug with the most commonly abused being pain killers (Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin), Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium), and amphetamines (Adderall & Ritalin).  Women and teenagers are two populations significantly affected by the prescription pill epidemic.  The CDC reports that the rate of deaths cause by prescription pill overdoses has more than tripled from 1999-2008.  There is a public notion that since prescription pills are legal, and people get them from a doctor, that they are in fact safer than illegal drugs.  This is not true. Many first time users and careless consumers will take a higher dosage than prescribed or mix combinations of drugs and/or alcohol which can lead to overdosing. In some cases overdose can occur without the presence of an addiction.

It is estimated by National Survey of Drug Use and Health that around 60-70% of prescription drug abusers get the pills from family members or friends, about 17% have a prescription of their own, and about 5-10% get them from dealers or the internet.  The accessibility of prescription pills being around the house of family members and friends entices a lot of curious first time users to experimentation, especially adolescents.  The public’s perception may blur the lines on the acceptability of using prescription pills recreationally or for self-medication but in actuality the line is clearly drawn.  Using prescription pills for nonmedical use or using someone else’s prescription for one’s own use is in fact drug abuse and needs to be addressed.

If you or a loved one needs help for prescription drug abuse, New Hope Recovery Center is here to help. If you would like information about our programs, contact us at 888-707-4636 (HOPE), info@new-hope-recovery.com or visit us in person.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about prescription drugs? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse Parents of Emerging Adults (ages 18-late 20′s) are important partners in the prevention of drug abuse. In New Hope Recovery Center’s continuing efforts to assist parents, we want to pay special attention to a serious problem impacting Emerging Adults: prescription drug abuse which is the intentional use of medication without a prescription.  Parents may not be unaware of how serious this problem has become, so we want to share 5 must-know facts for parents of Emerging Adults.

More Pain Pills Prescribed In Suburbs Than Chicago People living in Chicago’s suburbs are prescribed up to four times as many pain pills per person as those who live in the city, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis shows. In the southern tip of Illinois, it’s up to seven times as much, according to the analysis of federal Drug Enforcement Administration records of the numbers of prescriptions written for the two most popular prescription pain drugs — Oxycodone and hydrocodone. Oxycodone, the more powerful of the two, is the key ingredient in the brand-name prescription painkillers OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan. Hydrocodone, which like oxycodone is an opiate-based drug, is the main ingredient in Vicodin, Norco and Lortab.

 

 

Heavy teenage marijuana use could damage brain structures critical to memory and reasoning and the effects may be long lasting. Heavy pot use during teenage years is also connected with lower IQ.  It is well known that the human brain is not fully developed until 25-28 years of age.  Chronic or heavy pot use by teenagers may affect the brain as it develops, perhaps permanently.  A number of interesting recent studies look at marijuana use by teens and the possible effects it has on brain development.

Marijuana and Memory

According to new research by Northwestern Medicine, the brains of heavy marijuana teen users were altered in regions that involve memory and reasoning. Young people with such alterations performed worse on memory tests than the non-using control subjects, despite the fact that the heavy users had not used marijuana for more than two years, on average, before the testing.

The study looked at MRI brain scans of several areas of the brain.  Heavy pot users showed greater brain abnormalities than those who had not used marijuana. The researchers found that memory-related brain structures appeared to shrink and collapse inward. These findings could indicate long-term detriments to chronic marijuana use during the teen years.

Although this study doesn't prove causation, it does provide evidence of a need for caution.  It also showed that the earlier or younger the pot use began, the greater the brain’s abnormalities.

Mental Illness and Marijuana Connection

In June 2013, an Australian study showed that prolonged use of cannabis or marijuana by young adults was linked to a higher risk of developing psychosis.  The highest risk was for those who started using the substance in their teens, and continued using it for 6 years or more into adulthood. For this group, the risk of developing psychosis was more than double that of those who never used marijuana.

Marijuana and Dopamine

A recent study by Imperial College London revealed that long-term use of cannabis depletes dopamine, the feel-good chemical in the brain that inspires a spirit of get-up-and-go.  The study found greater dopamine depletion if marijuana use was heavier and if the first initial use was at an earlier age.

Marijuana and IQ

A long term study in New Zealand indicates that early and long term marijuana use may cause IQ to decrease.  The study measured IQ prior to age 13 and then surveyed over 1000 participants from a single city born in the same year over a period of decades.  According to the study, IQ decreased an average of 7-8 points by age 38 for those who used marijuana heavily at some point in the 25 years between ages 13 and 38, with greater decreases in IQ for those with longer periods of heavy marijuana use.

Conclusions

All of the studies show correlations and not actual direct cause.  However, we are seeing that heavy marijuana use in teens could be creating possible lasting changes in the brain.  The earlier heavy use begins, the greater the changes to the brain.

New Hope Recovery Center is Chicago’s premier addiction treatment facility.  If you would like information about our programs, including our New Hope with Pride program, contact us at 888-707-4636 (HOPE), info@new-hope-recovery.com or visit us in person or online.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about marijuana or young adults and addiction? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 

Marijuana Warning Signs: Is Your Teen Smoking Weed? Are you concerned your teenager or young adult is using marijuana? Below you will find the warning signs and symptoms for marijuana use. Marijuana use is very controversial across the nation, but something that cannot be denied, is the detrimental effect it has on young adults. It has been proven that young adults/teenagers who use marijuana have more problems with memory, attention and learning. They also struggle with their school performance, have an increased risk of problematic behaviors, and are more likely to suffer from depression and or anxiety.

Marijuana and Addiction Treatment All too often people enter treatment for addiction from a variety of substances with the belief that marijuana is not a drug.  “Alcohol is my problem, not marijuana” or “Marijuana is not addictive” – the list of justifications people use could fill an entire page.  We have all heard the term “gateway drug” in reference to marijuana but often the thought process is that this occurs early in the stages of addiction. However, we have seen that marijuana can be a gateway drug at any point in addiction or recovery.

Fighting Peer Pressure: 3 Ways To Limit Addiction Risk in Young Adults Do you remember growing up and wanting to be liked and included in your peer group?  One of the hardest parts of growing up is feeling excluded from peer groups and while this can be challenging, it is also a normal part of the development of an Emerging Adult.  If it did not come naturally, you might remember changing your attitudes, values or behaviors to belong a certain peer group, which is exactly where your Emerging Adult may be developmentally.  Something that young adults may do to fit into a certain peer group is use drugs and alcohol as a means to fit in.  You can help them avoid drug or alcohol abuse and the risk of addiction by teaching useful skills for handling peer pressure and maneuvering this critical period of life.

Student Drug Abuse Warning Signs Young adults face many temptations and opportunities to use and abuse drugs and alcohol.  As a parent, it is important to allow for appropriate independence and growth for your student or young adult, but also to keep a watchful eye looking for warning signs or symptoms of drug or alcohol use/addiction. Part of growing up involves making mistakes and hopefully learning from them.  These teachable moments allow students and emerging adults to learn how to respond better in the future.  Students and emerging adults may not always be able to quickly identify and correct mistakes or difficulties they face. They also are more susceptible to peer pressure or having their viewpoints shaped by outside influences. For this reason, parents need to be closely aware of what is happening in their young adult’s life.

Long Term Impact of Alcohol and Drug Use on Emerging Adults Emerging Adulthood, the period of life from approximately age 18 to the late 20s, is not only a critical time for psychological and social development, but also for physical brain development. Contrary to a popular assumption that the brain is mature by the age of 18, recent studies have shown that profound brain growth and change still occur during Emerging Adulthood. [Studies]  The heavy use of drugs and alcohol during this time frame can inhibit a person’s brain development and have long term consequences.