The NIAA Says There Are 5 Kinds of Alcoholic

An epidemiological study by the National Institute on Alcohol abuse and Alcoholism, that evaluated data on almost 1500 people who met the criteria for alcohol dependence, has subdivided the different types of alcoholics into 5 distinct subgroups. By better understanding the different types of alcoholism and how it afflicts diverse groups of people, interventions and treatments can hopefully be designed better suited to the needs of individual alcoholics.

The study reveals that more than half of all people that meet the criteria for alcohol dependence have no familial history of alcoholism, and that those most likely to ever seek out treatment were the most antisocial and most dependent of drinkers. Only about 25% of all alcoholics ever seek any form of treatment for their drinking, and much fewer than even that number succeeds in successfully conquering the disease.

What we know is that only a fraction of people with alcoholism are ever getting better; and while this may seem a very pessimistic view for the future, the fact that 75% of alcoholics avoid treatment for life means that we have a great opportunity to effect change by designing interventions and better treatments to get those people never treated into treatment, and onto the road to sobriety.

The five sub groups of alcoholics as classified by the NIAA are:

The Young Adult Alcoholics 31.5%

These people have a very low percentage history of family drinking, and a low rate of other substance use or dependency. These people are very unlikely to seek out treatment for their alcoholism.

The Anti Social Young Alcoholic

This group representing 21.5% of alcoholics started drinking heavily early, more than half have a family history of alcohol abuse, and more than half present with some form of co present psychiatric disorder (often anti social personality disorder). This group is very likely using other drugs with alcohol and about 33% of these people will seek out help for their drinking

The Functional Alcoholic

This group of alcoholics represents 19.5% of the sample, and these people are normally well educated and professionally and stably employed. About half of these people will have experienced a major psychiatric disorder at some point, and these people are unlikely to seek help for their drinking.

Intermediate Familial Alcoholics

Representing 19% of alcoholics, these people are not as successful as the functional group. About half come from families with a multigenerational history of alcohol abuse, and more than half will have suffered from a depressive disorder. About 25% of these people will ever seek out treatment.

Chronic Severe Alcoholics

This last group, representing 9% of drinkers, are mostly middle aged, and have a long history of alcoholism, normally starting out in adolescence. 80% of these people have a multigenerational history of alcoholism and also present with a high degree of criminality and other substance abuse. This group of people is the most commonly seen group in alcohol treatment, with more than 75% of these people initiating alcohol treatment at some point.

How does this information help?

Examining the classification data, we can see that very few people are ever seeking out treatment help, and that the two groups most likely to ever seek out treatment are the two group displaying the most severe alcoholism and criminality. We know that the earlier treatment is attempted the better the eventual outlook, but it seems that the vast majority of treatment is only ever initiated on people with very severe and long lasting histories of alcohol abuse and dependency.

Those people who do suffer from alcoholism but do manage to hold down jobs, and lead more "normal" lives, are the most likely to benefit from treatment, are the largest group of alcoholics by the numbers, and are also by far the least likely to ever seek or receive appropriate interventions and treatment.

Because alcoholism is a progressive and destructive disease, we need to effect better change in the people most likely to benefit from treatment, and at the earliest possible opportunity. Young adult and functional alcoholics very rarely get the treatment that they need, and interventions and outreach need to do a better job at convincing these reluctant addicts of the need and the benefits of rehab or other appropriate treatment opportunities.

The fact that we are only treating a quarter of alcoholics over their lifetimes can be presented as a great opportunity to better treatment participation percentages, and to enact real positive change for a group of people that are very likely to benefit from these offered treatments.

Interfere!!!

Families, employers, clergymen, friends and co workers, we all need to do a better job at intervening in the lives of those people that desperately need treatment, but who are statistically so very unlikely to ever initiate it. We hate to stick our noses where they don’t belong, but the benefits of intervention far outweigh a perception of interference, and we have a great opportunity to do some real good.

Be nosy, interfere, and do some real good amongst groups of people that could really benefit from available therapies.

An epidemiological study by the National Institute on Alcohol abuse and Alcoholism, that evaluated data on almost 1500 people who met the criteria for alcohol dependence, has subdivided the different types of alcoholics into 5 distinct subgroups. By better understanding the different types of alcoholism and how it afflicts diverse groups of people, interventions and treatments can hopefully be designed better suited to the needs of individual alcoholics.

The study reveals that more than half of all people that meet the criteria for alcohol dependence have no familial history of alcoholism, and that those most likely to ever seek out treatment were the most antisocial and most dependent of drinkers. Only about 25% of all alcoholics ever seek any form of treatment for their drinking, and much fewer than even that number succeeds in successfully conquering the disease.

What we know is that only a fraction of people with alcoholism are ever getting better; and while this may seem a very pessimistic view for the future, the fact that 75% of alcoholics avoid treatment for life means that we have a great opportunity to effect change by designing interventions and better treatments to get those people never treated into treatment, and onto the road to sobriety.

The five sub groups of alcoholics as classified by the NIAA are:

The Young Adult Alcoholics 31.5%

These people have a very low percentage history of family drinking, and a low rate of other substance use or dependency. These people are very unlikely to seek out treatment for their alcoholism.

The Anti Social Young Alcoholic

This group representing 21.5% of alcoholics started drinking heavily early, more than half have a family history of alcohol abuse, and more than half present with some form of co present psychiatric disorder (often anti social personality disorder). This group is very likely using other drugs with alcohol and about 33% of these people will seek out help for their drinking

The Functional Alcoholic

This group of alcoholics represents 19.5% of the sample, and these people are normally well educated and professionally and stably employed. About half of these people will have experienced a major psychiatric disorder at some point, and these people are unlikely to seek help for their drinking.

Intermediate Familial Alcoholics

Representing 19% of alcoholics, these people are not as successful as the functional group. About half come from families with a multigenerational history of alcohol abuse, and more than half will have suffered from a depressive disorder. About 25% of these people will ever seek out treatment.

Chronic Severe Alcoholics

This last group, representing 9% of drinkers, are mostly middle aged, and have a long history of alcoholism, normally starting out in adolescence. 80% of these people have a multigenerational history of alcoholism and also present with a high degree of criminality and other substance abuse. This group of people is the most commonly seen group in alcohol treatment, with more than 75% of these people initiating alcohol treatment at some point.

How does this information help?

Examining the classification data, we can see that very few people are ever seeking out treatment help, and that the two groups most likely to ever seek out treatment are the two group displaying the most severe alcoholism and criminality. We know that the earlier treatment is attempted the better the eventual outlook, but it seems that the vast majority of treatment is only ever initiated on people with very severe and long lasting histories of alcohol abuse and dependency.

Those people who do suffer from alcoholism but do manage to hold down jobs, and lead more "normal" lives, are the most likely to benefit from treatment, are the largest group of alcoholics by the numbers, and are also by far the least likely to ever seek or receive appropriate interventions and treatment.

Because alcoholism is a progressive and destructive disease, we need to effect better change in the people most likely to benefit from treatment, and at the earliest possible opportunity. Young adult and functional alcoholics very rarely get the treatment that they need, and interventions and outreach need to do a better job at convincing these reluctant addicts of the need and the benefits of rehab or other appropriate treatment opportunities.

The fact that we are only treating a quarter of alcoholics over their lifetimes can be presented as a great opportunity to better treatment participation percentages, and to enact real positive change for a group of people that are very likely to benefit from these offered treatments.

Interfere!!!

Families, employers, clergymen, friends and co workers, we all need to do a better job at intervening in the lives of those people that desperately need treatment, but who are statistically so very unlikely to ever initiate it. We hate to stick our noses where they don’t belong, but the benefits of intervention far outweigh a perception of interference, and we have a great opportunity to do some real good.

Be nosy, interfere, and do some real good amongst groups of people that could really benefit from available therapies.

Keeping teenagers safe from easy to get pharmaceuticals

Photo: Okko PyykkoWhat can parents do when the "pusher man" has become an easy to access online website selling potent drugs without the need for a prescription?

It’s a scary time to be a parent, and while parents of every generation may have felt the same way, with the incredibly easy access to drugs that today’s teens have, parents often feel a bit overwhelmed at how to protect their impressionable teens from dangerous pharmaceutical abuse. A quick survey of internet pharmacies proves that there is little that cannot be bought through the services of an illegitimate pharmacy located out of the country.

Oxycontin, hydrocone, xanax, and benzodiazepines are just a few of the many drugs that are but a mouse click away.

Pharmaceutical abuse is rising, and while yesterday’s teens may have raided the family liquor cabinet, today’s teens can easily supply their own drug needs through online ordering or even through the misuse of over the counter medications. These drugs are pretty scary too; some of them are very addictive, and some of them are very risky for dangerous overdoses, especially when taken in conjunction with other pills or with alcohol, which research indicates is a very common practice. The misuse or abuse of these pharmaceuticals is misperceived as relatively safe and harmless, and does not carry the stigma associated with the usage of "illicit drugs" such as heroin, marijuana or LSD; but these drugs are just as dangerous as illicit drugs, and are also very addictive, and with an estimated 6 million Americans currently addicted to pills, the danger of a crippling and potential destroying addiction is very real…and very scary.

So what can we as parents do?

Try to monitor your teen’s internet activities, and be very suspicious of any activity at online pharmacy websites, or drug info related sites. Most teens get the information on dosages that they need from the internet, from sources that may or may not be providing credible and safe information. Be aware of any pharmaceutical paraphernalia. Empty bottles of cough syrup, empty pill wrappers, or other such medication related debris are not normally carried around, and probably indicate at the very least some experimentation with pharmaceuticals. Educate your teens as to the risks involved with using pharmaceuticals, and make sure that they are aware of the dangers and the possibility of death. Don’t keep a lot of old and unused medications hanging about in the medicine cabinet. If you’re finished with the pills but have some remaining, dispose of them properly. Also, be aware of the quantities of medicines used regularly, and if you seem to be refilling prescriptions for certain drugs more often than you think that you should…this may indicate a problem.

Be involved and try to be a part of your teen’s life. It can be difficult to determine whether changes in behavior are a normal part of adolescence, are in fact caused by something more sinister, but by staying active in your teen’s life, you are in a better position to spot trouble before things get serious. We as parents can only educate our kids as to the dangers, be on the lookout for trouble, and hope for the best. It is truly a frightening time to be the parent of a teenage kid.

Photo: Okko PyykkoWhat can parents do when the "pusher man" has become an easy to access online website selling potent drugs without the need for a prescription?

It’s a scary time to be a parent, and while parents of every generation may have felt the same way, with the incredibly easy access to drugs that today’s teens have, parents often feel a bit overwhelmed at how to protect their impressionable teens from dangerous pharmaceutical abuse. A quick survey of internet pharmacies proves that there is little that cannot be bought through the services of an illegitimate pharmacy located out of the country.

Oxycontin, hydrocone, xanax, and benzodiazepines are just a few of the many drugs that are but a mouse click away.

Pharmaceutical abuse is rising, and while yesterday’s teens may have raided the family liquor cabinet, today’s teens can easily supply their own drug needs through online ordering or even through the misuse of over the counter medications. These drugs are pretty scary too; some of them are very addictive, and some of them are very risky for dangerous overdoses, especially when taken in conjunction with other pills or with alcohol, which research indicates is a very common practice. The misuse or abuse of these pharmaceuticals is misperceived as relatively safe and harmless, and does not carry the stigma associated with the usage of "illicit drugs" such as heroin, marijuana or LSD; but these drugs are just as dangerous as illicit drugs, and are also very addictive, and with an estimated 6 million Americans currently addicted to pills, the danger of a crippling and potential destroying addiction is very real…and very scary.

So what can we as parents do?

Try to monitor your teen’s internet activities, and be very suspicious of any activity at online pharmacy websites, or drug info related sites. Most teens get the information on dosages that they need from the internet, from sources that may or may not be providing credible and safe information. Be aware of any pharmaceutical paraphernalia. Empty bottles of cough syrup, empty pill wrappers, or other such medication related debris are not normally carried around, and probably indicate at the very least some experimentation with pharmaceuticals. Educate your teens as to the risks involved with using pharmaceuticals, and make sure that they are aware of the dangers and the possibility of death. Don’t keep a lot of old and unused medications hanging about in the medicine cabinet. If you’re finished with the pills but have some remaining, dispose of them properly. Also, be aware of the quantities of medicines used regularly, and if you seem to be refilling prescriptions for certain drugs more often than you think that you should…this may indicate a problem.

Be involved and try to be a part of your teen’s life. It can be difficult to determine whether changes in behavior are a normal part of adolescence, are in fact caused by something more sinister, but by staying active in your teen’s life, you are in a better position to spot trouble before things get serious. We as parents can only educate our kids as to the dangers, be on the lookout for trouble, and hope for the best. It is truly a frightening time to be the parent of a teenage kid.

Risks of Taking Ecstasy in a Hot Club Environment

Spanish researchers at the University of Navarra have conclusively linked increased ambient air temperatures with an increase in the neural damage done by consumed ecstasy.

Taking ecstasy in a hot club environment increases the risks of neural damage. Heat makes it worse. The ambient temperature at which ecstasy is taken influences the neural damage done by the drug. Using animal model studies in which rats were dosed with ecstasy at temperatures ranging from 15 to 30 degrees centigrade, and examining the resultant neural damage, researchers have causally linked the ambient air temperature during consumption with an increased risk for neural damage and deficits.

They explain that if ecstasy were somehow dosed directly into the brain, there would be no risk of neural damage, and the damage caused seems to be induced by the bodily metabolism of the consumed drug. Higher ambient air temperatures increase the speed and extent of the metabolism, and the higher the ambient air temperature, the greater the risk of neural damage. The problem for drug users is that people most often take ecstasy in a club setting, in which many people may share a poorly ventilated and confined space, greatly increasing ambient temperatures. A heated club environment exacerbates the neural damage done by increasing the metabolism of the consumed drug.

The seratonergic systems, those that regulate mood, memory and sleep, seem most affected and damaged by ecstasy; and researchers who have long known that heavy ecstasy consumption can induce serious neural deficits, now also realize that even occasional and minimal consumption does also induce some damage. If you take ecstasy, even once, you do likely suffer some degree of neural consequences, and the more you take it, the greater the permanent damage done.

It now seems that damage can be alternatively minimized or increased depending on the temperature in which the drug is taken. Hard dancing ecstasy consumers, already at risk for fatal hyperthermia through a loss in internal temperature regulating mechanisms, have another reason to fear the heat of the dance club. If you must take ecstasy…do it in the snow!

Spanish researchers at the University of Navarra have conclusively linked increased ambient air temperatures with an increase in the neural damage done by consumed ecstasy.

Taking ecstasy in a hot club environment increases the risks of neural damage. Heat makes it worse. The ambient temperature at which ecstasy is taken influences the neural damage done by the drug. Using animal model studies in which rats were dosed with ecstasy at temperatures ranging from 15 to 30 degrees centigrade, and examining the resultant neural damage, researchers have causally linked the ambient air temperature during consumption with an increased risk for neural damage and deficits.

They explain that if ecstasy were somehow dosed directly into the brain, there would be no risk of neural damage, and the damage caused seems to be induced by the bodily metabolism of the consumed drug. Higher ambient air temperatures increase the speed and extent of the metabolism, and the higher the ambient air temperature, the greater the risk of neural damage. The problem for drug users is that people most often take ecstasy in a club setting, in which many people may share a poorly ventilated and confined space, greatly increasing ambient temperatures. A heated club environment exacerbates the neural damage done by increasing the metabolism of the consumed drug.

The seratonergic systems, those that regulate mood, memory and sleep, seem most affected and damaged by ecstasy; and researchers who have long known that heavy ecstasy consumption can induce serious neural deficits, now also realize that even occasional and minimal consumption does also induce some damage. If you take ecstasy, even once, you do likely suffer some degree of neural consequences, and the more you take it, the greater the permanent damage done.

It now seems that damage can be alternatively minimized or increased depending on the temperature in which the drug is taken. Hard dancing ecstasy consumers, already at risk for fatal hyperthermia through a loss in internal temperature regulating mechanisms, have another reason to fear the heat of the dance club. If you must take ecstasy…do it in the snow!

Should parents be drug testing their kids?

Cheap, reliable and accurate – drug tests give you peace of mind, and also let you get them the help needed quickly, should a test come back positive.

There is nothing an adolescent hates more than an intrusion into their privacy, and drug tests are certainly intrusive, but they are also very accurate, and can be a very useful tool for parents concerned about substance use and abuse. I don’t think that drug testing is necessarily appropriate as a preventative measure for kids without a history of abuse, and if they have acted responsibly they should be rewarded for that behavior with increasing levels of trust; but for kids with a history of abuse, I feel that they are a valid parental tool.

About half of all kids who enter a residential treatment program will relapse back to some degree of drug or alcohol abuse at some point, and the earlier this use is detected, the earlier help can be arranged and the greater ultimate probability of success. Kids who have a history of drug and alcohol abuse should be informed that drug testing is to become a regular part of the family life, and there should be no exceptions made once this announcement is made.

Today’s testing kits, particularly urine testing kits, are inexpensive, very reliable and accurate; and provide an easy way for parents to be sure of their kid’s use or non use. The fact is that all kids will lie to their parents at some point, and kids with drug or alcohol abuse problems are even more prone to lying to cover their abusive behaviors; but a drug test does not lie, and teens will also know in advance that if they use, their parents will know. The ideal result for the introduction of family drug testing is not to catch teens in the act as such, but to keep them from indulging, knowing that if they do they will certainly be caught.

The consequences for a positive test result should be made clear in advance, and if a test does come back positive, parents must have the strength to implement whatever treatment or consequences had been pre agreed to. If a kid knows that a positive drug test means another session at a drug rehab facility, that may be enough to keep them from using. Kids are pretty clever though, so you have to be sure that the test you are using is reliable, and as well be aware of any possible ways to "fool" the test.

Kids get the information they need to beat drug tests from the internet, but that info is there for you too. Speak with an addictions specialist on the best way to implement reliable and accurate drug testing into your family’s routine. Your kids will hate it, but it might just be enough of a deterrent to use that it will keep them safe…and they’ll thank you for it later. Parenting an adolescent is never easy, and when your teen is using or abusing drugs or alcohol, this transitional period is especially complex. Drug testing can help.

Cheap, reliable and accurate – drug tests give you peace of mind, and also let you get them the help needed quickly, should a test come back positive.

There is nothing an adolescent hates more than an intrusion into their privacy, and drug tests are certainly intrusive, but they are also very accurate, and can be a very useful tool for parents concerned about substance use and abuse. I don’t think that drug testing is necessarily appropriate as a preventative measure for kids without a history of abuse, and if they have acted responsibly they should be rewarded for that behavior with increasing levels of trust; but for kids with a history of abuse, I feel that they are a valid parental tool.

About half of all kids who enter a residential treatment program will relapse back to some degree of drug or alcohol abuse at some point, and the earlier this use is detected, the earlier help can be arranged and the greater ultimate probability of success. Kids who have a history of drug and alcohol abuse should be informed that drug testing is to become a regular part of the family life, and there should be no exceptions made once this announcement is made.

Today’s testing kits, particularly urine testing kits, are inexpensive, very reliable and accurate; and provide an easy way for parents to be sure of their kid’s use or non use. The fact is that all kids will lie to their parents at some point, and kids with drug or alcohol abuse problems are even more prone to lying to cover their abusive behaviors; but a drug test does not lie, and teens will also know in advance that if they use, their parents will know. The ideal result for the introduction of family drug testing is not to catch teens in the act as such, but to keep them from indulging, knowing that if they do they will certainly be caught.

The consequences for a positive test result should be made clear in advance, and if a test does come back positive, parents must have the strength to implement whatever treatment or consequences had been pre agreed to. If a kid knows that a positive drug test means another session at a drug rehab facility, that may be enough to keep them from using. Kids are pretty clever though, so you have to be sure that the test you are using is reliable, and as well be aware of any possible ways to "fool" the test.

Kids get the information they need to beat drug tests from the internet, but that info is there for you too. Speak with an addictions specialist on the best way to implement reliable and accurate drug testing into your family’s routine. Your kids will hate it, but it might just be enough of a deterrent to use that it will keep them safe…and they’ll thank you for it later. Parenting an adolescent is never easy, and when your teen is using or abusing drugs or alcohol, this transitional period is especially complex. Drug testing can help.

Red Bull cocktails…you don’t feel drunk but you are!

Energy cocktail drinkers don’t feel drunk, but they are, and they may very well be the people piloting the car home after a night of drinking.

Two recent studies, one Canadian, and one Brazilian, when taken together paint a slightly ominous picture of current club culture, and its implications for impaired driving.

Brazil

The first study, out of the Federal University of Sao Paulo, investigated the effects both perceived and actual of mixing alcohol with energy drinks (such as red bull)…which are popular cocktails throughout the world’s bars and clubs. The stimulant nature of the energy drinks seem to reduce perceptions of some of the alcohol’s depressive effects, and people consuming red bull cocktails reported feeling less tired, less un coordinated, and stronger than those people who had consumed normal alcoholic cocktails. Popular for inducing an ability to dance all night, these cocktails seem to mask some of the perceived symptoms of intoxication, and people drinking energy drink cocktails underreport their level of intoxication as compared to people drinking conventional alcoholic drinks.

But when university researchers compared the reflexive and physio motor reactions of both the energy drink consuming and regular cocktail consuming groups, they found that although the energy drink group reported feeling less intoxicated, they performed equally poorly on measures of coordination and reactions times.

Canada

The second study, out of the University of Alberta, examined designated driver practices and compliance amongst young bar going people in the province. The study found that although many people do use designated drivers responsibly (rotating between members of a group) a significant percentage of bar goers do not; and fail to plan for the drive home before entering the bar to drink. The strategy employed by almost 1 in 5 is to simply select the seemingly least impaired person to perform the driving duties, whether actually impaired or not.

When you combine the results of the two studies, you seem to have a group of people drinking alcoholic energy drink cocktails, who do not realize how drunk they truly are, and these same people too often simply selecting a designated driver who appears most competent at the moment…a recipe for disaster to be sure.

But what’s to be done?

I don’t think that anything but enforcement carried much impact over drinking and driving behaviors, and to that effect law enforcement need to continue policing the late night roads, on the lookout for people who may be a lot drunker than they think they are. If you drink red bull or other energy drink cocktails, be aware that the stimulant effects of the energy drinks mask some of the depressive effects of the alcohol…but they do not lessen the physical effects of consumed alcohol, and you may be in worse shape than you think you are. Use a designated driver, call a cab, walk…don’t take foolish chances that can end a night of fun in tragedy.

Energy cocktail drinkers don’t feel drunk, but they are, and they may very well be the people piloting the car home after a night of drinking.

Two recent studies, one Canadian, and one Brazilian, when taken together paint a slightly ominous picture of current club culture, and its implications for impaired driving.

Brazil

The first study, out of the Federal University of Sao Paulo, investigated the effects both perceived and actual of mixing alcohol with energy drinks (such as red bull)…which are popular cocktails throughout the world’s bars and clubs. The stimulant nature of the energy drinks seem to reduce perceptions of some of the alcohol’s depressive effects, and people consuming red bull cocktails reported feeling less tired, less un coordinated, and stronger than those people who had consumed normal alcoholic cocktails. Popular for inducing an ability to dance all night, these cocktails seem to mask some of the perceived symptoms of intoxication, and people drinking energy drink cocktails underreport their level of intoxication as compared to people drinking conventional alcoholic drinks.

But when university researchers compared the reflexive and physio motor reactions of both the energy drink consuming and regular cocktail consuming groups, they found that although the energy drink group reported feeling less intoxicated, they performed equally poorly on measures of coordination and reactions times.

Canada

The second study, out of the University of Alberta, examined designated driver practices and compliance amongst young bar going people in the province. The study found that although many people do use designated drivers responsibly (rotating between members of a group) a significant percentage of bar goers do not; and fail to plan for the drive home before entering the bar to drink. The strategy employed by almost 1 in 5 is to simply select the seemingly least impaired person to perform the driving duties, whether actually impaired or not.

When you combine the results of the two studies, you seem to have a group of people drinking alcoholic energy drink cocktails, who do not realize how drunk they truly are, and these same people too often simply selecting a designated driver who appears most competent at the moment…a recipe for disaster to be sure.

But what’s to be done?

I don’t think that anything but enforcement carried much impact over drinking and driving behaviors, and to that effect law enforcement need to continue policing the late night roads, on the lookout for people who may be a lot drunker than they think they are. If you drink red bull or other energy drink cocktails, be aware that the stimulant effects of the energy drinks mask some of the depressive effects of the alcohol…but they do not lessen the physical effects of consumed alcohol, and you may be in worse shape than you think you are. Use a designated driver, call a cab, walk…don’t take foolish chances that can end a night of fun in tragedy.

3 Things That Kids With Addicted Parents NEED to Know

Kids deserve to know the truth about addiction in the family, and they suffer with feelings of guilt and shame if their concerns and fears are never appropriately addressed.

It’s too bad that children get drawn into the whirlwind of family substance abuse, but when one or more parents is abusing drugs or alcohol, the effects on kids in the home can be profound, detrimental and lasting. Kids, even young kids, know something is wrong, and there is no way to shelter them from the realities of the household, and no way to spare them from the pain of the truth.

Children know there’s a problem, but younger children especially very likely don’t understand what it is, why it’s happening, or whose fault it is. The greatest risk is that children will internalize the pain of the abuse behaviors, and believe that they are somehow at fault for the behaviors of abusing parents. Children may accept any story given, but children will only truly believe and benefit from the truth, and by acknowledging the existence of a problem, and by letting kids know that it’s not their fault, they have a far greater chance of growing up happy, healthy and less likely to develop substance abuse problems of their own as they age through their teens.

The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare recommends telling children:

  1. That addiction is a disease, and that their abusing parent is sick and the witnessed and sometimes scary behaviors are all a part of the disease.
  2. That lots of kids just like them also have a parent or even two parents who also suffer from the same disease.
  3. That it’s OK to talk about the problem, and there is no shame in discussing feelings with any trusted figure.

Giving kids truthful and accurate information about addiction in the family empowers them, relieves negative feelings of shame, responsibility and guilt; and removes some very adult feelings and burdens from narrow shoulders not meant to carry such weight. It’s too bad that any kid needs to suffer the pains of family addiction, but millions of kids live this reality everyday, and the best way to help them thrive is to bring the problem out of the closet, treat their concerns and fears as genuine and valid, and make sure that they understand that they are never at fault for anything that mom or dad does or says while using and abusing drugs or alcohol.

I feel such great shame at what I subjected my family, and particularly my kids to during my years of use and addiction, and although I was never a violent drunk, and never "took it out on the kids" I know they suffered from my neglect and from my sometimes erratic and confusing behaviors. I can’t take it back, but I can do the best I can for them now that I’m sober. Kids are always reason enough to get sober…and when you consider that about half of all alcoholics grew up in alcoholic homes, that’s surely motivation enough to get needed help and treatment.

Kids deserve to know the truth about addiction in the family, and they suffer with feelings of guilt and shame if their concerns and fears are never appropriately addressed.

It’s too bad that children get drawn into the whirlwind of family substance abuse, but when one or more parents is abusing drugs or alcohol, the effects on kids in the home can be profound, detrimental and lasting. Kids, even young kids, know something is wrong, and there is no way to shelter them from the realities of the household, and no way to spare them from the pain of the truth.

Children know there’s a problem, but younger children especially very likely don’t understand what it is, why it’s happening, or whose fault it is. The greatest risk is that children will internalize the pain of the abuse behaviors, and believe that they are somehow at fault for the behaviors of abusing parents. Children may accept any story given, but children will only truly believe and benefit from the truth, and by acknowledging the existence of a problem, and by letting kids know that it’s not their fault, they have a far greater chance of growing up happy, healthy and less likely to develop substance abuse problems of their own as they age through their teens.

The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare recommends telling children:

  1. That addiction is a disease, and that their abusing parent is sick and the witnessed and sometimes scary behaviors are all a part of the disease.
  2. That lots of kids just like them also have a parent or even two parents who also suffer from the same disease.
  3. That it’s OK to talk about the problem, and there is no shame in discussing feelings with any trusted figure.

Giving kids truthful and accurate information about addiction in the family empowers them, relieves negative feelings of shame, responsibility and guilt; and removes some very adult feelings and burdens from narrow shoulders not meant to carry such weight. It’s too bad that any kid needs to suffer the pains of family addiction, but millions of kids live this reality everyday, and the best way to help them thrive is to bring the problem out of the closet, treat their concerns and fears as genuine and valid, and make sure that they understand that they are never at fault for anything that mom or dad does or says while using and abusing drugs or alcohol.

I feel such great shame at what I subjected my family, and particularly my kids to during my years of use and addiction, and although I was never a violent drunk, and never "took it out on the kids" I know they suffered from my neglect and from my sometimes erratic and confusing behaviors. I can’t take it back, but I can do the best I can for them now that I’m sober. Kids are always reason enough to get sober…and when you consider that about half of all alcoholics grew up in alcoholic homes, that’s surely motivation enough to get needed help and treatment.

How to Spot Inhalant Use…Is Your Teen Huffing?

Inhalants can be fatal the first time they are tried, and the long term and irreversible health effects of inhalant abuse are tragic. The really scary part is that the most common abusers of inhalants are our very young kids.

Parents need to be on the lookout for any of the signs of inhalant use, and if any usage is suspected, need to get immediate professional help. More than 17 million Americans have used inhalants at least once.

Inhalants, which are a class of drugs in which the user inhales the vapors of a gas, are incredibly damaging and can be very addictive; and studies report that a whole lot of young people are experimenting with these scary drugs. Inhalants tend to be most widely used by the very young, presumably due to ease of access, and when the drug of choice is located in the closet or in the garage, it’s very convenient for these young people to get a cheap and very intoxicating drug.

Some commonly abused inhalants are paint thinner, shoe shine, turpentine, hair spray, gasoline, glue, and many many others. There is both the risk of immediate cardiac arrest from the use of inhalants, and a very real and very frightening possibility of long term, severe and irreversible cerebral and physical impairments.

Inhalant abuse seems to attack the central nervous system in a way very similar to alcohol, but at an extremely exaggerated pace. It’s very important for parents to be aware of the abuse of inhalants, and also to be aware of the signs that may indicate the usage of this class of drugs.

Some of the signs of inhalant usage are:

  • Chemical odors on the body or clothes
  • Paint or other chemical stains on the face hands or clothes
  • Hidden inhalant paraphernalia (empty spray cans, rags, strong smelling plastic bags)
  • Looking drunk, confused or un coordinated
  • Frequent nausea and a loss of appetite

Because the health effects of these drugs are so severe, and because the most common abusers are our very young kids, parents need to be especially aware of the risks of inhalant abuse, and need to get professional help if they ever suspect that their kids may be abusing inhalants.

Warning signs video

Watch How They Do It

 

Inhalants can be fatal the first time they are tried, and the long term and irreversible health effects of inhalant abuse are tragic. The really scary part is that the most common abusers of inhalants are our very young kids.

Parents need to be on the lookout for any of the signs of inhalant use, and if any usage is suspected, need to get immediate professional help. More than 17 million Americans have used inhalants at least once.

Inhalants, which are a class of drugs in which the user inhales the vapors of a gas, are incredibly damaging and can be very addictive; and studies report that a whole lot of young people are experimenting with these scary drugs. Inhalants tend to be most widely used by the very young, presumably due to ease of access, and when the drug of choice is located in the closet or in the garage, it’s very convenient for these young people to get a cheap and very intoxicating drug.

Some commonly abused inhalants are paint thinner, shoe shine, turpentine, hair spray, gasoline, glue, and many many others. There is both the risk of immediate cardiac arrest from the use of inhalants, and a very real and very frightening possibility of long term, severe and irreversible cerebral and physical impairments.

Inhalant abuse seems to attack the central nervous system in a way very similar to alcohol, but at an extremely exaggerated pace. It’s very important for parents to be aware of the abuse of inhalants, and also to be aware of the signs that may indicate the usage of this class of drugs.

Some of the signs of inhalant usage are:

  • Chemical odors on the body or clothes
  • Paint or other chemical stains on the face hands or clothes
  • Hidden inhalant paraphernalia (empty spray cans, rags, strong smelling plastic bags)
  • Looking drunk, confused or un coordinated
  • Frequent nausea and a loss of appetite

Because the health effects of these drugs are so severe, and because the most common abusers are our very young kids, parents need to be especially aware of the risks of inhalant abuse, and need to get professional help if they ever suspect that their kids may be abusing inhalants.

Warning signs video

Watch How They Do It