Article : Addiction: The Monster That is Claiming Our Future

Date:2005-01-01 Author:Shae

The plague of addiction is growing ever larger in its scope. This plague has infected the most vulnerable and valuable asset in our world today: our youth. The most shocking realization is the extent of drug use, especially by children and teenagers. Each year more and more children enter treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illicit drugs combined. In 2002, 1% of eighth graders, 1% of tenth graders, and 0.8% of twelfth graders reported that they have injected heroin at least once during their lifetimes.


The plague of addiction is growing ever larger in its scope. This plague has infected the most vulnerable and valuable asset in our world today: our youth. The most shocking realization is the extent of drug use, especially by children and teenagers. Each year more and more children enter treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illicit drugs combined. In 2002, 1% of eighth graders, 1% of tenth graders, and 0.8% of twelfth graders reported that they have injected heroin at least once during their lifetimes.

Addiction is a problem. Not only will these addictions affect this generation, but generations to come. Something must be done. Drug and alcohol addiction can be overcome. Education and understanding is the first step. Armed with knowledge, you can help your child fight the monster of addiction, and win.

The first step to helping a child or loved one with an addiction problem, is knowing they have one. Often times, parents don’t even know their child is suffering from this problem. Therapists have identified three stages of addiction. Understanding these stages can help you recognize if your teenager is struggling with an addiction problem.

  • First Stage This stage begins when an individual discovers that drugs or alcohol will give them a “high.” When the pleasure of the substance wears off, the user usually returns to normal without evidence of any harm. People in this stage often believe there is nothing wrong with their behavior. More than likely, the individual is very aware of the consequences of drug use, and when they don’t experience adverse effects, they may think the warnings exaggerations. People in this stage may say things like, “What’s the big deal? One drink won’t hurt me,” or “I’ve had a terrible day—these leftover painkillers will help me relax.”
  • Second Stage This stage begins when the substance user develops a tolerance for the substance. To experience that same high and pleasure, they need more and more of it. Their behavior changes; they are more irritable, secretive, and dishonest. All they can think is where and how they can get that substance. They may go to great lengths to deny their addiction problem. It is common during this stage for family members and others to suspect a substance abuse problem.
  • Third Stage The last stage of addiction begins as users experience more pain and are unable to achieve the high they were once able to reach. They experience discomfort and pain with they don’t use the substance. It becomes a psychological must, they feel without it they will not be able to function. At this point they have reached an addiction that can not be overcome by will power alone, and they must seek out side help.

Understanding these stages will help you prevent addiction from claiming your children. Unfortunately, prevention is not always possible. Though some parents are unable to prevent addiction from occurring, this does not mean they should give up. There are certain steps parents can take to help their child.

  • Allow consequences to occur, suggests Douglas LeCheminant, specialist in Family Services. Family members and friends often mistakenly think that if they love someone who is addicted to drugs, they should rescue them from the consequences of addiction. This misconception can lead the addict to continue in the same destructive path. Examples of this may be: calling in sick for them at school or work, bailing them out of jail, or cleaning up their messes.
  • Love them, but do not condone their addiction.
  • Do not be too ashamed to save your child’s life. In some cases addiction has taken hold of the individual in such a way that professional help must be sought after.

Addiction is a problem, but with the proper tools, namely education, understanding, and treatment, the monster that has threatened our future generation can be conquered.

 

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