During the last anecdote, we discussed symptoms of a frequent user. Let’s turn our attention to understanding of the child’s behavior and actions a parent can take.
Information points and action steps
Your child is in pain: Recognize that your child is in pain and therefore your job is to add no further pain. Getting to the source and cause of pain is the hard part that will require an investment of mental energy and communication with your child. Potentially you will need to seek the help a professional counselor.
Self-defense: Your child developed some self-defense mechanism techniques. Some of the defense mechanisms include hiding her/his behavior and emotions from you. You are trying to break these defense mechanism barriers down. Breaking those barriers down will require creative thinking and deviation from the normal BAU (business as usual).
Addiction is a mental disease: Addiction is classified as a mental disease that is co-morbid with other mental diseases that may have developed due to the addiction itself. You may meet folks who are willing to share their ignorance and even sound intelligent while they lay out an argument as to why addiction is not a disease. Keep in mind that the folks conducting research on addiction, like Nora Volkow, the head of the Drug Abuse Division part of the NIH (National Institute of Health) believes that addiction is a disease and has research to back her opinion up.
Stress leads to more drug use: In general, an addicted person cannot handle stress. Stress will lead an addicted person to more drug use. Drug use, especially opiate use, not only takes away physical pain it also takes away emotional pain. We all learn from our past behavior and create patterns of behavior called paradigms of behavior. So does an opiate user and the pattern of behavior that and opiate user develop is that pain, discomfort and stress can be resolved with another dose of opiates.
Addiction hijacks the self-control mechanism of the brain: Consider the following scenario: an addicted child decides not to use drugs any longer. The child even tells you so and means it; you feel that your child means every word they said and you believe your child. Then your child goes off and uses the drug again. This behavior means nothing more than the fact that the child is addicted and lost her/his self-control. When the child told you that s/he will not use drugs any more, the child meant it and was honest about it. Due to lack of self-control the child could not resist her/himself when the drug was offered to them. Your child’s addicted friends and drug dealer will give your child drugs, free of charge, and exert pressure on your child to use drugs, just to keep the status quo. Friends would like not to lose friends, especially not a good drug-using buddy and a dealer would like not to lose a client.
Recovery, a path out of addiction: Recovery from addiction is a period of about five (5) years. Plan your child’s recovery with that time frame in mind. Preferably long-term rehab is part of the picture.
If your child had attended rehab and now out of rehab, then this is a dangerous time for your child to overdose. Rehab lasts a short period of time during which the drug is, physically, out of your child’s body, but not necessarily out of your child psychological need. Your child may have been dreaming, during rehab’s time, of using their drug of choice. Now after rehab, your child’s tolerance for the drug is not what it was before rehab and hence the danger of overdose. Even leaving your child to find their way home on their own, after rehab, could be a time for purchasing and using their drug. You need also to watch out for your child’s safety, from overdose, during the holidays and especially on your child’s birthday.
Mixing drugs with opiates can be fatal: You may care to educate your child that mixing other drugs with opiates can be fatal. If your child had engaged in use of any drug then during that day your child should refrain from opiates and vice versa, if the child used opiates, then on that day, the child should refrain from using any other drug.
Next Anecdote: We will discuss what actions a parent may take
You are not invincible—Stew Birbrower
Together we march towards a destiny