When it comes to drugs and alcohol, and your family, there is a lot that you can talk about. One important thing is that people need to realize that alcoholism and drug addiction are mental issues, not just a social or behavioral issue. This realization may help you understand the issue better, and it can also make it an easier thing to talk about.
Addiction And Dual Diagnosis
Often a person will become addicted to a substance of some sort, including alcohol, after they’ve used it to self-medicate for some other mental issue/illness. This is when a dual diagnosis is made, one diagnosis for the addiction and one for the underlying cause. Those causes can be fairly diverse. It could be depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or even schizophrenia.
Alcohol and drugs (of different kinds) do different things to the different individuals that take them. For some people, the first drink of alcohol can lead to a life of alcohol abuse. Some people simply seem to have a gene in them that makes them more likely to be an addict.
Talking To Your Family About Addiction
Use that knowledge when it is time to talk to your children about the risks of addiction. Anyone can try a drug once and become addicted, and getting clean will take a lot of time. Is it worth that risk? It’s really not, and going over all that it takes to get clean may help them realize how bad of an idea doing drugs is.
Most kids will be exposed to the idea of drugs at any school age, even kindergarten. It’s a scary thought, but it’s the reason you need to start talking to them as soon as you think they can understand what you’re talking about. Most tips will say not to tell them about your personal experiences, maybe because they’ll think it’s OK to try something because you did and didn’t become addicted.
However, you do want to show them what addiction does to people. There are many ways you can do this, starting with a good search of certain types of drug users to show them the pictures of what drugs make people look like (try meth as one of your first searches and it’s sure to scare them). You might always want to reach out to a rehab facility in your area and find out if they have any programs for at-risk kids, good for a child who thinks drug use is OK, even if they haven’t experimented, yet.
Just don’t wait until it is too late to bring up the subject of drugs, alcohol, and addiction. You could save your child’s life, or they could have a hand in saving the life of one of their peers.