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Teenagers with ADHD & Drug Abuse Problems: How Can We Help As Parents?

Drug Abuse Problems

Did you know that teenagers with ADHD are more likely to abuse drugs? Professional therapists, such as Jeannette Friedman, LCSW, a professional therapist who regularly works with families faced with drug abuse issues, say that it is easy to see the connection, considering ADHD symptoms, such as sitting still, controlling impulsivity, and difficulty concentrating.

Therefore, when teenagers with ADHD use drugs, which calms them down, they will feel great. Since those drugs are a quick solution for them, trying to manage their condition through walking or meditating, becomes a problem. This, in turn, makes them prone to addiction.

Danger Signs

Teenagers suffering from ADHD are susceptible to risk factors for using substances because of the condition’s symptoms, like:

  • External variables – Teenagers with the condition suffer both socially and academically, and might be more attracted to their peers with the same problems, making them end up with risk-taking crowds that experiment with chemicals.
  • Increased chances of co-occurring conditions – Oppositional defiant conditions, depression, and anxiety are examples of co-occurring mental issues among kids with ADHD. Doctors, like Dr. Taskiran, say that having another disorder can make these kids more likely to abuse drugs.

ADHD Medication and Its Use is Just a Misconception

Contrary to the common belief, ADHD medication is not a ‘gateway drug’ that increases of risks of substance abuse. In fact, a statistic that was taken a decade ago shows that there is no connection between medications with substance use. Instead, using the medication shows a sign of reducing the risks of getting a SUD (substance use disorder) by about 7%. So, this simply means that successful ADHD treatments serve as solutions to the misuse of drugs.

What Steps Should We Take as Parents?

We parents have the responsibility of having our kids assessed and treated once we see any signs of forgetfulness, distraction, and restlessness. Apart from that, we should take the following steps:

1. Discuss about the Misuse of Drugs Early On

Therapists, such as Friedman say that we need to explain to our kids that having these conditions makes them more vulnerable to drug addiction and a perfect way to avoid it is to refrain from using illicit substances, including cocaine, alcohol, and marijuana. But don’t be overbearing or judgmental because it is important to have a good relationship with your child.

2. Consider Limiting Your Accommodations

As a parent, you may try to create accommodations for your child so you can minimize their irritation. Refrain from saying these words – how can I reorganize their bedroom to make it comfortable? What should I do for this poor kid? All these will prevent your child from learning skills for dealing with challenges. And when they can’t deal with those challenges, they will start using drugs so as to calm their anxieties down.

3. Maintain a Cordial Dialogue

As Friedman puts it, most parents will try to put more emphasis on their kids’ academic achievement, creating a rift between children and their parents. And since those kids’ won’t have the right tools to cope with the problem, the dispute will be more stressful. This is why it is important to create and maintain a good relationship and look for proper treatment for your child. As you pay more attention to your child’s interaction, seek the right measures to resolve the rift between you two, either through a behavioral treatment strategy or family therapy.

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