Parenting is evolving every year, but one thing remains the same. Parents must speak to their children about drugs and alcohol use, and continue to talk to them about it. Parents must know the warning signs to look for and intervene early if need be.

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.

 

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.

 

 

Women are the fastest growing segment of the population who abuse substances, according to several research studies that have been done recently. Although more women than ever are suffering from substance abuse disorders, there still is a small number of women who actually are receiving treatment for their addiction.

Substance abuse in women is often harder to detect than in men, and can easily be overlooked by friends, family members and health care providers.  For women, a fair amount of drinking is often done at home, during hours of the day when significant others and/or children are not at home. They are also less likely to have consequences such as a DUI because they are drinking at home. Three-martini playdates are often thought of as a fun way for stay-at-home mothers to blow off the steam of being with the kids all day and as a way to bond with other moms.

Further, many women turn to alcohol and drugs in order to be able to "do it all".  Use of stimulants can help a woman raise 3 kids, do well at a high powered job, keep up the household and still have energy for the gym on a regular basis.  On top of all of this, according to the research, women are more likely than men to see health care providers on a regular basis, thus increasing their access to prescription drugs with abuse potential.  Similarly, women are just as likely as men to drink or use drugs to medicate depression and anxiety, but are more likely than men to present to a mental health provider for help, resulting in more prescriptions for benzodiazepines and sleeping aids.

Substance abuse in women is often overlooked because the abuse itself is often normalized, seen as a response to today's pressures on women.  Often women recognize the fact that they are depressed or anxious and will go to treatment for the mood condition, unaware that substance abuse needs to be addressed as well.  If and when the need for substance abuse treatment is recognized, there are often gender specific barriers to women accessing and staying in treatment.  Some of the more common and problematic barriers are:

Fear- Women with children face the very real fear of being separated from or losing primary custody of their children.  In addition, image management, while also a factor for men, can deter a woman from entering treatment due to fears about what it will look like and what others will think about her.  Women also tend to have more fears about paying for treatment as compared to men, as many women do not earn as much as men, are underemployed or unemployed.

Childcare- It is well documented in the literature that women have a harder time accessing treatment if they are the primary caregivers of young children.  Treatment initiation and retention rates are much higher for women when there is some assistance with childcare and/or when the children are allowed to stay with the mother while she is in treatment.  For many women, paying for treatment along with childcare is too much of a financial burden.

History of Trauma-  For women with a history of physical and sexual trauma, entering mixed gender treatment is often a deterrent.  Programs that offer gender specific therapy groups and therapists equipped to handle trauma increase the success of a woman entering, staying in, and ultimately being successful in addiction treatment.

Psychological/Cultural- As stated above, women often view their own substance abuse as temporary, a crutch to help deal with the pressures of working, caring for children, caring for aging parents, running a household.  Though women are more likely than men to admit to needing help, they are less likely to actually go to treatment to get the help they need. Women also suffer from shame factors that are different from men's, and admit to higher levels of suicidal ideation and low self worth directly related to substance abuse and dependence.

The more that women's issues are well understood and addressed in treatment settings, the more successful a woman can be at obtaining help and achieving long term sobriety.  Addressing each woman's specific history thoroughly in an intake procedure can ensure that the right setting is available (i.e gender specific group for a woman with a lot of male perpetrated trauma vs. a mixed gender group for a woman needing to strengthen her platonic relationships with men).  It is also important for treatment providers to continue to address these needs along the course of treatment, as they may change, and for providers and treatment centers be sensitive to the needs of each woman individually, rather than generally as women.

New Hope Recovery Center offers gender specific programming. 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.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about treatment for specific populations? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below:

Lesbians Seeking Drug and Alcohol Treatment Alcohol and drug abuse is a major concern for individuals who identify as lesbian. A reportpublished by SAMHSA in 2011 found people who identify as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) are significantly more likely than the general population to use and abuse drugs or alcohol. This same study found lesbians are significantly more likely than heterosexual women to drink alcohol heavily.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment for Latino and Hispanic People There are several things to be aware of when working with the Spanish communities for drug or alcohol addiction.  Cultural identity is one of the most important factors to keep in mind when working with the Spanish community.  For example: Cubans, Dominicans and Puerto Ricans identify themselves as Hispanics; while Central Americans and South Americans identify themselves as Latinos for the most part.

Senior Citizens: Alcohol Abuse and Misuse Seniors citizens and alcohol abuse and misuse is a serious problem. With the rapidly growing senior population, it is more important than ever to stay informed about the potential mental/behavioral health threats seniors are experiencing. People seldom think of alcohol abuse or misuse to be a problem in the senior population and rarely see that they are at risk of this behavior. There are major life changes affecting this population, which leads many seniors to begin abusing or misusing alcohol (and medications), even if they never showed signs of this behavior earlier in 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.

Are you concerned your teenager or young adult is using marijuana? Below you will find 38 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.

Physical signs of pot smoking or marijuana use:

  • red bloodshot eyes, squinting or half closed eyes
  • constant, mucus-filled cough
  • rapid heartbeat
  • dry mouth (cotton mouth)
  • poor coordination
  • slow reaction time

Behaviors that may indicate marijuana use or marijuana addiction:

  • Difficulty problem solving or keeping thoughts together
  • Poor memory, particularly short term or things recently occurring
  • Extreme or unusual hunger or increased eating (especially snacks and sweets), usually called the munchies
  • Acting silly or in a giggly manner
  • Acting slow, lethargic, dazed or confused
  • Lack of motivation, enthusiasm
  • Loses train of thought, rambling, disjointed in a conversation
  • Paranoia

Finding these items on your teen, in their room or with their belongings, likely indicates frequent marijuana use:

  • Visine or other products for red eyes
  • Cigarette Rolling Papers
  • Bongs
  • Metal clips or small clamps
  • Pipes
  • Cigars
  • Cans with holes cut on side
  • Small baggies
  • Dried plant residue, looking like dried oregano
  • Frequent use of incense, air freshener, cologne or perfume
  • Small burn marks on finger tips (particularly thumb and index or middle finger), lips
  • Posters, stickers, buttons, pins, clothing or other items with marijuana leaves, or mentioning marijuana or 420
  • Increased use of mouthwash, mints or gum
  • Smelling like marijuana or a skunk-like smell on your teen, in their bedroom, on their clothes
  • Signs that a towel has been put under the door (to stop smoke and smells from getting out)
  • Hemp Items

Changes in your teen that may indicate marijuana use:

  • Sudden change in friends
  • Talking in code or odd communication with their friends
  • Interest in taking short walks, going outside for short periods of time
  • Sudden drop in education or job performance
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyed activities, pursuits, hobbies
  • Absences from school or work
  • Frequent requests for money with nothing tangible to show
  • Lost valuables or semi-valuable items from the house

If you observe several of these warning signs, it is likely that your child is using marijuana. Finding any of the paraphernalia items, such as bongs, pipes, rolling papers, etc. is a very good indication that he/she is smoking pot frequently.

Marijuana can sometimes have lasting effects on young adults because a young adult’s brain does not fully develop until age 26.  If you are concerned about your teen’s use of marijuana or other drugs, it is important to get help immediately. Brief interventions are very beneficial resources along with individual counseling and therapy when necessary.

New Hope Recovery Center treats chemical dependency for adults 18 years of age or older, however if you know a teen that is struggling with drugs or alcohol, please call New Hope Recovery Center at 773-883-3916 or contact us via email at info@new-hope-recovery.com and we can direct you to the proper resources that can be of help for teens or adolescents.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

The holiday season is stressful time for everyone. In this audio interview from Big Oldies 93.7 Dial-a-Doc, Charles Brookover MS, LCPC, CADC speaks about how to best handle holiday gatherings and properly set your expectations for holiday celebrations. Charlie Brookover works at FHN Family Counseling Center - Jo Daviess County at 300 Summit Street Galena, IL 61036.

FHN Website: http://www.fhn.org/

FHN Contact Number: 815-777-2836 (Galena Location)

 

As 2013 comes to a close, we wanted to review our most popular articles during the year.  In reviewing the most viewed articles, four major themes emerge as the top concerns and focus of our readers during this year.

Warning Signs

It is clear that many people are interested in determining if they or a loved one suffers from addiction.  Several of our most-read articles dealt with warning signs for various potential addictions.

 

Heroin, Heroin, Heroin

If there was one prominent addiction theme during 2013, it was definitely heroin.  Heroin received both local and nationwide focus.  Its availability and low price seemed to put it at the forefront for many addiction treatment centers.  Sadly, too many lives were lost due to heroin use this past year, including Cory Monteith from Glee.  Many Chicago-area counties have seen a large increase in the number of heroin/opiate related deaths. Several of our most reviewed articles dealt with heroin.  In addition to the Heroin Abuse Warning Signs mentioned above, these two articles were also very popular:

 

Parents Concern for Their Children

Another area that received the many readers involved articles written for parents about their children's addiction.  The number of late teens and early twenties in treatment has been drastically increasing in recent years.  The following were our most popular articles geared toward parents:

 

LGBTQI

The final area of our most-read articles dealt with LGBTQI issues and concerns:

All of us at New Hope Recovery Center wish you a Healthy and Happy New Year.  We are looking forward to 2014 and will continue to provide helpful articles on current issues and concerns seen by us and our clients and their families. You can reach New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707-HOPE (4673), or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

The stages of change are a conceptualization that change is not a singular event; rather it is a series of steps someone progresses through.  The idea can be applied to any number of behaviors but it is especially helpful to view it through the lens of addiction.  Change is difficult.  People get comfortable with where they are at and it is much easier to stay immersed in that life, even if it is a destructive and detrimental one.  Learning more about how change comes about can be a helpful push in raising self-awareness and normalizing the recovery process.

Precontemplation

In this first stage the person affected by addiction does not see their problem and therefore does not have any consideration for changing.  Loved ones, coworkers, and health professionals may perceive the need for change but the person with the addiction feels safe with the status quo so they are resistant to recognizing the problem. They will most likely justify their behavior because they don’t see their actions as problematic.  The most viable option for others during this stage is to try to raise awareness about the risks of the problem.  The hope is that by expressing doubts and increasing education on the topic it will assist the person in becoming more self-aware about their addiction and consider changing.

Contemplation

If the person starts to consider change they have moved from precontemplation to contemplation.  The individual might start to notice that they have a problem but by in large they are still ambivalent about actual change.  They may be experiencing anxiety and avoidance about the idea of changing.  A common tool to address the ambivalence surrounding change in this stage is to write out or discuss the pros and cons about changing.  This may be enough to tip the scales for the individual if they believe the benefits outweigh the costs. Some people spend their entire lives in the contemplation stage because they do not see the costs as costly enough.  At the very minimum it will allow for a discussion about where the individual sees barriers to change.

Image Credit Found Below.

Preparation

This stage is evident once the individual makes a conscious decision to do something to change.  This stage is crucial and often overlooked because people jump right into action without realizing the energy and commitment it will require to change.  An effective preparation stage involves reaching out for help and researching worthwhile options of assistance.  It is essential to address the individual’s anxiety about change because during this stage the idea of changing becomes more concrete and it can be overwhelming.

Action

When the individual is ready to put their plan into place and pursue it they are actively working towards change.  This overt effort comes down to willpower and determination by the individual.  If the individual truly does not want to change they will revert back to an earlier stage, often contemplation.  Change is uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing but if the individual can receive proper support while addressing their addiction real change may start to come about.  It is important to recognize even the smallest of changes because seeing progress can be motivation for continued improvement.

Maintenance

The ongoing goal of this stage is to sustain the positive change in the individual’s life long term.  Change is fluid and therefore it is important for the individual to have an awareness of their triggers and subsequent coping mechanisms in order to address new challenges as they arise.  Acquiring new skills to avoid relapse is ongoing however relapse does still occur.  Relapse can be discouraging but it is not the end of the road.  No matter how spiraling the relapse may be a person can re-enter the cycle at any stage of change.  The knowledge and insight gained about the addiction is not erased in a relapse and therefore all is not lost.  Recovery is life-long and the path is not straight and narrow, there are detours.  It is helpful to continuously be mindful of one’s needs in order to not become complacent.  Working an active recovery program by staying connected with a sober network are good tools for achieving long term sobriety.

No matter which of the five stages you or a loved one are currently in, New Hope Recovery Center can be a resource and an agent for change.  Please call for more information 1-888-707-4673.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Image Credited to: Adult Meducation. American Society on Aging and American Society of Consultant Pharmacists Foundation; adapted from DiClemente and Prochaska, 1998. Photo. <http://www.adultmeducation.com/FacilitatingBehaviorChange.html>

Read related posts about Addiction:

Family Roles and Addiction

Addiction and Family: Acceptance as a Step Towards Healing in Treatment

Addiction: Shame, Guilt & Dodgeball

Restoring Trust Damaged by Addiction (Part 1)

Restoring Trust Damaged by Addiction (Part 2)

Restoring Trust Damaged by Addiction (Part 3)

What role are you?

Families operate as a system, no matter how functional or dysfunctional that may be perceived to be.  Each family member has a role.  It is not necessarily an assigned role, it is often an assumed role based off of learned actions and reactions.  Families which have one or more members who suffer from addiction will most likely find the entire system to be organized by the disease.  When someone is suffering from addiction it is often the family members who notice and experience the consequences first before the actual person does.  The consequences felt by others are real; they are not perceived and therefore in an effort to adapt family members begin to change their role to lessen the consequences they experience.  Change is slow, especially for the one suffering from the disease, so as a result the family balance begins to shift.  Think of it as a baby’s mobile above a crib, not all the toys hanging from the mobile hold the same weight yet it hangs in the balance in its own unique way.  What this looks like in real life is a family which is trying to increase consistency and structure in a system which is becoming more and more unpredictable and chaotic.

This manifestation of specific roles is not always noticeable while it is happening; incremental change is hard to see while it is happening.  A common way a family comes to realize this shift is once the family member suffering from addiction decides to start on the road to recovery.  They may go off to treatment and be ready to work a program only to come back to their family and realize the new role they want is not conducive to how the family system was functioning before.  A similar example is a veteran who returns home from war and has trouble reintegrating into their family and society.  The family and the individual do not always know how to adjust, even if the desire to change is positive.  Claudia Black Ph.D. has taken the work of Virginia Satir on family roles and adapted it to the addictive family.  People do not always fall into one category or another cleanly; sometimes family members take on different roles for different situations.  Where do you see yourself fitting into these categories and what implications can you draw from them?

FAMILY HERO (RESPONSIBLE ONE)

Strengths:

1. Successful

2. Organized

3. Leadership Skills

4. Decisive

5. Initiator

6. Self-disciplined

7. Goal-oriented

Deficits:

1. Perfectionist

2. Difficulty Listening

3. Inability to Follow

4. Inability to Relax

5. Lack of Spontaneity

6. Inflexible

7. Unwilling to Ask for Help

8. High Fear of Mistakes

9. Need to be in Control

 

PLACATER (PEOPLE PLEASER)

Strengths:

1. Caring/Compassionate

2. Empathic

3. Good Listener

4. Sensitive to Others

5. Gives Well

Deficits:

1. Inability to Receive

2. Denies Personal Needs

3. High Tolerance for Inappropriate Behavior

4. Strong Fear of Anger or Conflict

5. False Guilt

6. Anxious

7. Highly Fearful

8. Hypervigilant

 

SCAPEGOAT  (ACTING OUT ONE)

Strengths:

1. Creative

2. Less Denial, Greater Honesty

3. Sense of Humor

4. Close to Own Feelings

5. Ability to Lead

Deficits:

1. Inappropriate Expression of Anger

2. Inability to Follow Direction

3. Self-Destructive

4. Intrusive

5. Irresponsible

6. Social Problems at Young Age

7. Underachiever

8. Defiant/Rebel

 

LOST CHILD  (ADJUSTER)

Strengths:

1. Independent

2. Flexible

3. Ability to Follow

4. Easy Going Attitude

5. Quiet

Deficits:

1. Unable to Initiate

2. Withdraws

3. Fearful of Making Decisions

4. Lack of Direction

5. Ignored, Forgotten

6. Follows Without Questioning

7. Difficulty Perceiving Choices and Options

 

MASCOT

Strengths:

1. Sense of Humor

2. Flexible

3. Able to Relieve Stress and Pain

Deficits:

1. Attention Seeker

2. Distracting

3. Immature

4. Difficulty Focusing

5. Poor Decision Making Ability

 

As mentioned, roles are assigned and assumed based off of learned behavior in the past.    It is important to understand how roles can be restricting in our life.  The label alone has implications for how someone is perceived by others and in turn views themselves.  There isn’t a specific role which someone should strive to be, each role has strengths and deficits.  It is more beneficial to be self-aware of our own strengths and shortcomings so we can attempt to use the information to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives in our day to day life.  The disease of addiction affects the whole family, there are some things one can control and there are others that one cannot.  If you are a loved one of someone who suffers from addiction consider reaching out to a 12-step fellowship near you such as Al-Anon or Families Anonymous:

www.al-anon.alateen.org

www.niafg.com

www.familiesanonymous.org

At New Hope Recovery Center, we involve family and friends as a key component of addiction treatment. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact us at 773.883.3916.

You may also be interested in reading: Addiction in the Family: The Roles We Play

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

 

For the college student struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, things can look bleak, but there is hope. Over the years we have seen many college students who were forced to drop out of school due to their addiction. We also saw others that were struggling to maintain their grades due to their addiction to alcohol and/or drugs. Based on our evidence based treatment methods, with the right treatment program, increased support and refocused priorities, these students were able to start living healthy, happy sober lives and are continuing with their education.

College Student If you are a college student who has experienced or are experiencing consequences because of your use of drugs or alcohol, look into treatment options immediately. Addiction does not get better on its own. There are a number of options available that can fit your schedule and your life. The first step is to get an assessment done by a local treatment center. They can then inform you of the options that will fit for you and explain why. Any person who is 18 years or older is able to go into any treatment center and get an assessment with full confidentiality.

Parent of College Student Does your student shows signs of addiction? If so, realize that getting help early is best.  Most schools understand students having a semester or two away. This is more preferable than your student being asked to leave. If your student is asked to leave, talk with them about their struggles. If addiction to drugs or alcohol is present, treatment is the next step.

College Counselor College counselors may be the first to recognize addiction issues in a student. It is not easy to determine the difference between addiction and normal college behavior. You can help your students to having possible resources and options available for them to consider. These options can range from drug and alcohol education, to assessments, to short intervention treatments, to local treatment facilities.

Addiction Treatment Options for College Students

  1. Residential Treatment involves living at the treatment facility in a closely monitored environment. This treatment is most helpful for students who need the close scrutiny of treatment staff.
  2. Partial Hospitalization involves full day treatment with the student living at a sober living facility or other safe environment. This treatment is best for students who are already in a safe, sober living environment already.  It provides them with the full treatment of Residential Treatment, but allows more integration with the world outside of treatment.
  3. Intensive Outpatient includes treatment during a portion of the day generally for 3-4 days per week. This option can be an excellent choice for the fully committed student who is still in good standing at college. The treatment can usually fit in a normal class schedule.  For example, at New Hope Recovery Center we offer both morning and evening IOP programs.  Being in an IOP program not only requires strong commitment and dedication but also a good level of      self-awareness. The student must understand and be willing to change the areas of their current living that must be changed for sober success.

If you are a college student who is experiencing negative consequences from using drugs or alcohol, or you are the parent, counselor, or friend of such a college student, explore options for addiction education and treatment in the area.  With successful treatment and continuing support, the student can resume their path of education.

New Hope Recovery Center is Chicago’s premier alcohol and drug addiction treatment facility.  We have experience treating all adult age groups including college students.  We also have a treatment program New Hope With Pride that provides specific programming for our LGBT community members. If you would like guidance or help in handling your own addiction or that of a loved one, please contact us at 773.883.3916.

See these articles for guidance and assistance:

1. Student Drug Abuse Warning Signs

2. 5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse

3. Alcohol or Drug Addiction Healthy Boundaries for Parents

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center