Prescription Drug Abuse

shutterstock_53794111 Drug addiction is life changing. It changes who you are, how you act, and how you relate to others. It skews reality and your perception of who you are and what your place in the world is. It destroys relationships that have taken lifetimes to build. Prescription drug abuse is on the rise, and we are seeing more cases of this type of addiction as time goes on. This is especially true for those aged 14-25. What is even more troubling is where the drugs are coming from.

More often than not, the prescription medication that is being abused comes from the medicine cabinets in their own home. Leftover medications from surgeries, prescriptions meant for others in the family, or even things that they are being prescribed themselves, are finding their way into the hands of others.

Prescription drug abuse also seems to be taken more lightly and is generally more socially acceptable. This is largely because people don’t think of them as “street drugs”, like heroin and cocaine. The truth of the matter is that just because they aren’t street drugs, doesn’t mean they aren’t any less addictive or harmful. These medications can be extremely harmful to the body, and without the proper precautions, can cause death. The toxic effects of these medications are often unknown to those that are taking them, which is why we have been seeing an increase in prescription medication related deaths.

So how do we make the younger generations aware of the consequences of drug shutterstock_62275720addiction? Scare tactics don’t often work, and just simply telling them to say no isn’t often enough. This is where awareness and education come into play. It is so important that we are giving them the right amount of information to make good choices, but it is also important that we have open lines of communication with them. These open lines of communication will allow them to feel comfortable coming to us when they make mistakes and choose to try drugs.

Prescription drug abuse doesn’t need to happen. Addiction to these drugs is preventable. So what are some ways that you can prevent your medications from falling into the wrong hands?

Keep medications in a safe and secure place. Keep your medications out of sight. Don’t leave them in a readily accessible place for your children or others to get into them. Make sure that you keep track of how much you are taking and if some go missing.

Dispose of your medications properly. Pharmacies are more than happy to help you dispose of old and unused medication for you. By bringing your medication to them when you are finished taking them, you are reducing the likelihood that someone in your home will abuse them.

Protect those that you love. Lock up your medications and reduce the temptation. And above all else, encourage education and awareness about prescription drug abuse.

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The Codependent Relationship: Mother and Child

shutterstock_135236594  The bond between mother and child is something that no other relationship can quite match. When addiction is involved in this relationship, it is seriously damaging to the healthy functioning of all relationships.

Codependency, described simply, is when both parties are dependent on one another in order for the relationship to function. Codependency is unique between a mother and child because of the nature of the relationship. Mothers are meant to be nurturing and caring individuals. But when their child is addicted to drugs, their caring and nurturing may be doing more harm than good.

Mothers of those addicted will often times go above and beyond to make sure that their child has everything that they need. Buying food, clothes, paying rent, and giving them shutterstock_70611019money. Some go as far as buying the drugs for their child. In their eyes, they are doing well by their child, making sure that they are able to keep on living. These mothers struggle to focus on themselves in any way at all. They will put their lives aside to make sure that their child will continue to come back to them for what they need.

The child will manipulate in order to get what they want. They will say hateful and hurtful things in order to break their mother down. They will be deceptive and lie in order to get more money. The child is trying to stay sick, and they know that their mother will do anything to keep them happy and alive.

shutterstock_9303223This relationship is extremely toxic and allows for the addiction to continue. So what are some way to recover from codependency?

  • Attend family recovery programs with the addicted

  • Learn to put your interests and needs before others

  • Become aware of the signs of codependent behaviour

  • Develop strong boundaries

With these strategies and professional help, codependency is something that you and your family can recover from.

Experimenting During the Teen Years: Substance Abuse in Youth

shutterstock_107588312Adolescence is a time in a child’s life in which many changes are occurring. It can be an extremely confusing and trying time for them, as well as their parents. As their parents, it is important that you educate your children about drugs, alcohol, sex, and what it means to be “peer pressured”. Keeping the lines of communication open between you and your child is essential in order to be in the loop of what is going on in their lives.

Your child may decide to experiment with any combination of the above listed, however, there comes a time when drug/alcohol use shifts to drug/alcohol abuse. How honest they are, if they come home intoxicated regularly, if they spend a lot of spare time at parties, and the friends that they choose to surround themselves bullyingwith are all great indicators of substance abuse.

Lying or hiding things may be an indication that your child is using or abusing substances. This is not true in all cases. It is normal for them to want their space and private life. However, when they are lying about large things (where they are, where they are going, what they are doing) it can be cause for concern. If you and your child have a healthy and functioning relationship in which they are comfortable communicating with you, they shouldn’t feel the need to hide from you. It is important to approach them from a loving and caring place, avoiding accusatory statements. Give them the opportunity to open up to you.

If your child is coming home intoxicated on a regular basis, it could be an indication that they are abusing substances. Using substances may be a way for your child to escape the emotional turmoil they are experiencing. However, using substances as a coping strategy is not healthy. This is another reason it is very important that you keep an open line of communication with your child.shutterstock_70611019

Older adolescents are fairly likely to attend parties. It is naïve to not think that at some (if not all) of these parties alcohol will be served and drugs will be offered, especially if there is not appropriate supervision. Your child may opt to spend more time than not a parties. It is important that you educate your child about the dangers of participating in underage drinking as well as drug use of any kind.

The friends that your child chooses to spend their time with is a good indicator as to whether or not they will be pressured to try alcohol and/or drugs. Now it is impossible to judge a book by its cover, however, it is important to know the other children your child associates with. Knowing who they are and what they are like will give you a good indication of the likelihood that they consume alcohol/use drugs. Again, it is extremely important to educate your child about peer pressure and the dangers of consuming alcohol/drugs.

It is impossible to completely protect your child from being exposed to alcohol and/or drugs. With the normalization of alcohol and/or drug use during adolescence, it is becoming harder and harder for parents to make their children understand the risks and repercussions that their activities can have on their lives as well as the lives of others. The best thing that you can do is give them the facts, and encourage them to make good choices.

ACOA: How Alcoholism Effects Your Children as Adults

Alcohol abuse in a family deeply effects how the children in the family will respond to alcohol. One path these effects could take is your children also abusing alcohol and other drugs. This is because it would become a learned and acceptable coping strategy for your children when faced with difficult situations. The other path that these effects could take is that your children would avoid use of alcohol all together. This avoidance can go as far as fear of becoming addicted themselves. It is important to be aware of the effects that your drinking has on your family members, especially your children. Children learn mainly through observation. If they see alcoholism, they are more likely to become alcoholics themselves. So what can you do to ensure that your children receive the treatment that they may also need?

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Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA) is a branch of Al-Anon (support group for family members of alcholics) that focuses specifically on the adult children of alcoholics. ACoA exists to help educate and heal; educate about alcoholism and heal the scars left by their parent’s substance abuse. ACoA is a peer based support group, aimed at helping recovery within the family.

ACoA gives these children the opportunity to focus on their own recovery, all while their family member works on their own recovery. Often times, individuals will reach out to ACoA before their parent has decided to seek help. This is because they feel the need to know more about alcoholism than their family member has told them. They want to see past the drinking, and the other behaviours, into the causes of the alcoholism. Sometimes they just want support in making decisions regarding their relationship with their alcoholic parent.

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Recovery is something that the entire family must go through. It is impossible for the addicted parent to have a successful recovery, if they are coming home to the same environment that they left. The children are responsible for learning what the triggers and warning signs are, to help their parent work through a relapse or help to prevent one from happening. Part of this recovery process is learning about codependency and what role they may have played in enabling the parent’s behaviours. It is also a time to reflect of manipulative behaviours that have been exhibited in the past. By doing so, they can learn a better way in which to handle these situations.

Alcoholism often has a greater effect than we sometimes realise. It is important that all parties are considered when dealing with the recovery process. Ensuring that all family members, including the adult children, have a place to seek support is very important. Without recovery within the family, true recovery may not be successful within the addict.

Addicted at Birth: Children of Mothers That Abused Drugs During Pregnancy

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Purity. Innocence. Gift.

These are just a few of the many words that are used to describe children. However, for some children a lifelong battle for survival begins before they are born. There are debilitating diseases and gene mutations that can cause a child a great deal of pain and suffering. Some of these children are born to mothers that choose to abuse drugs during their pregnancy.

Now while we are all told that drugs will ruin our lives, we have only been given the reasons that affect us (malnutrition, addiction, infection, overdose, etc.). It is important to remember that when we abuse drugs, we are putting not only our own lives at risk, but potentially those of our unborn children.

Drugs cross our blood-brain barrier (BBB), which is how they produce the effects that they do. Drugs will also enter the placenta, and in turn the fetus, having harmful effects. In some cases, the drug is so addictive that the baby will become dependent on it before birth and need to be helped through withdrawal symptoms after birth.

Depending on the drug there are varying effects on the unborn child. These effects include:

  • Placental rupture
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Oxygen deprivation leading to low birth weight and/or brain damage
  • And if used frequently, serious birth defects

It is important to consult a healthcare professional throughout your pregnancy, especially if you are using/abusing drugs. Sometimes your doctor will put you on methadone until the baby is born to reduce the risk of miscarriage/placental rupture.shutterstock_135236594

When pregnant, it is important that you take care of your body not only for yourself but for your unborn child. While it may seem impossible, it is necessary to help ensure that you will have a happy and healthy baby. There are many programs that will offer support and guidance for pregnant women as they face a unique struggle.

Our future lies in the hands of those that come after us. In order to have a bright future, we must raise a generation in which strong morals and sense of purpose are instilled. Give your child a fighting chance to be a future leader by preventing and/or discontinuing drug use during pregnancy.

Learning Disabilities

It is hard to watch someone you love struggle. It is especially hard to watch someone you love struggle with something that many others find easy. A learning disability is something that will last a life time, however, with the right interventions and assistance it does not have to be debilitating.

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So what is a learning disability? A learning disability is a classification that covers severe learning problems. These include: Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and Dysgraphia.

It is difficult to produce the exact number of cases of those with learning disabilities as some cases go undiagnosed for several years. An undiagnosed learning disability can present in more than one way. It can include:

·         Being unable to adequately participate in class

·         Being unable to adequately complete assignments

·         Frustration with reading and/or writing

·         Difficulties completing specific tasks

·         Inadequate development of language, speech, and other academic skills

It is important that these are not always tell-tale signs that a learning disability is present. It is important that a correct diagnosis is made by a professional. It is also important to keep in mind that no two cases are the same. So how it presents in your loved one may be completely different from another person.

Those who struggle with a learning disability often times also struggle with another co-occurring disorder. These disorders include (but are not limited to) ADHD, anxiety, as well as depression.  It is important that your loved one also receives treatment and support for these disorders as well.

So what can we do? Well, often times there is support for those who are struggling with a learning disability. Checking in with your child’s school may be a good place to start. It could give you a better idea of what kind of resources their school has and what kind of resources you will have to seek out on your own.

There are so many different things that you can do as a parent to help your child succeed. Keeping them goal-focused is so important. Making sure that they know they are loved and supported will allow them to feel confident and thrive. Educating them about their learning disability and helping them accept it is an important step in the right direction. And making sure that they are prepared with the right tools to cope emotionally with their learning disability in a healthy way is essential to molding  a successful young person.shutterstock_112519676

Many parents and educators struggle with the stigma that is attached to a learning disability. Keep in mind that the attitude you model will affect how the young minds around you model their attitude. Positivity and acceptance are the keys to learning and living with a learning disability.