Addiction FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Addiction

What are the early warning signs of addiction?

Anger, secrecy, restlessness, change in sleeping habits, withdrawal, paranoia, lack of interest in previous activities, change of friends and change in appearance are a few of the warning signs of possible substance use/abuse.

Why are the parents often the last to know that their child is abusing drugs and/or alcohol?
We, as parents, sometimes obtain information about other children from our own children, with one major caveat: “If you tell anyone this, I will never be able to trust you again” or “I will never confide in you again” or something along that threat- based line. We want our own children to confide in us, so we keep the secret, we turn our collective heads and the parents of that other child may not find out, until it is too late. In this way, our own children essentially hold us hostage.

Before the onset, what is the profile of a youth-at-risk for addiction and how can they be targeted for prevention?
Biological factors including genetic predisposition, psychological issues such as depression and anxiety and sociological influences and circumstances each serve to influence the youth-at-risk. Understanding the Bio-Psycho-Social Model of addiction is imperative to developing and instituting a prevention plan for substance abuse.

How did you manage to “let go?”
Letting go, detaching, flies in the face of the very definition of parenting, i.e., “to bring up, look after, take care of.” The parent of a child with an addiction is often strongly encouraged to let go and even more often made to feel guilty and irresponsible for NOT letting go. “If you don’t, you child may die,” you are told. Letting go is an inside job. Each person who loves an addict can only let go when he or she is ready and able to let go. In that way, letting go of your loved one is not unlike your loved one letting go of the substance he or she is addicted to.

What can a community do about this problem?
The saying, “It takes a village” is no truer than in fighting substance abuse and dependence. Unfortunately, addiction is a shame-based disease. Shame for the person suffering with the addiction and shame for those who love the addict and feel they could have done or should be doing something to “fix” their loved one. The issue is generally swept under the collective community rug and conveniently ignored in the hope that this “problem” will just go away. But it does not and it will not. Awareness and education leading to the formulation of a proactive plan to confront the issue is THE main prescription for fighting this disease and the problems it creates.

How do parents of addicted children cope with their realities?
“One day at a time.” This AA saying is true in every aspect of our lives, whether we love an addict, are an addict, or simply are living on this planet. It is all any of us have. That said, support is imperative–from a group whose members have similar issues, from a spiritual connection, from therapy, or from a few close friends. And awareness awareness awareness-the more each and every community member understands addiction, the more able each person and the community as a whole will be able to cope with the realties of addiction.

What is the role of the media—both positive and negative?
The media can be both a blessing and a curse. Advertisements on television, in magazines, on the computer “pushing” a substance to make life better (a pill or a beer, for example) have become part of the very fabric of our American lives. However, the media does offer the opportunity to reach many lives with the message that drugs do kill and that driving drunk is like waving a loaded gun in the face of fate-yours and others in your path. A community plan for addiction awareness and education must include a significant media component.

Please contact Dr. Cooper with your questions:

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 FAQs, News

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Copyright © 2012 Galen Morgan Cooper PhD. - Galen Morgan Cooper PhD.