Addiction impacts the whole family. When a parent, older sibling, or even a close friend starts using drugs or alcohol, there is a long ripple effect that can happen. For many families, it becomes necessary to have a conversation about addiction to children, both to help prepare them for what’s happening to their loved one and to help them steer clear of the same fate. There are a few things to remember when it comes to talking to children about substance abuse and mental health.
Talk About It as You Would Any Other Disease
It’s not as simple as just not using a substance. Most people face far more complications than simply not using. When you speak to children about substance abuse, then, talk to them in the same way you would about any other disease. Here are a few places to get started.
- Tell children that the person using substances is struggling with a disease. They are sick and need treatment to get help.
- Discuss mental health openly. Make sure your children know they can talk to you about what they are thinking and feeling. Be open about your own struggles especially with older children.
- Make it clear how addiction begins, such as through peer pressure and just wanting to try something new. Discuss how it impacts a person’s life making school, friendships, relationships, and futures more complicated.
- Provide information about what can be done to help a person with addiction. That may include treatment that’s away from home for a while, medications, and therapy to talk about what happened.
- Make sure your teen understands that you have a zero-tolerance policy for using drugs or alcohol. That’s important for them to understand it is not safe in any situation.
Getting Into Help
Sometimes, talking to children about addiction makes it more obvious that something needs to be done to help a loved one. That may mean encouraging them to get into a residential treatment program so they can start on the recovery process. It may also mean working with them to enter into a medication assisted treatment plan. Often, these programs have a family treatment program that can help families to learn how to overcome addiction together, rather than trying to battle this condition on their own.
If you are struggling with addiction, take steps today to get help. Offer a helping hand to those that need it today.
Are you or a loved one struggling with alcohol or other drugs? Call us to speak confidentially with a recovery expert now: (901) 521-1131 or visit our website serenityrecovery.org