This month is Alcohol Awareness Month, founded and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). This time, the theme is “Healthy Choices, Healthy Communities: Prevent Underage Drinking.” The NCADD wants to draw attention to the impact that alcohol can have on young people and their friends, families and communities.
Did you know…
- Teens that experiment with alcohol before the age of 15 are four times likelier to become dependent on alcohol than those who wait to drink until they’re 20 years old
- High levels of parental monitoring are linked to lower levels of young people drinking during high school and college
If you know or suspect your child or teen has a substance abuse problem…
Health Advocate’s EAP experts recommend dealing with the issue as a family by taking the following steps:
- Acknowledge the problem. Speak with key family members and let them know not only that your child has a substance abuse problem, but that you are looking for support, understanding, and a non-judgmental attitude from them.
- Assess the problem. Is there a trusted adult, such as a teacher or clergy member, you can turn to for advice and support? Does your child need help from a professional, such as a counselor, and/or should your child go into a treatment program?
- Work toward a solution. Make a plan of action. Put your plan in writing. Often, having both you and your child sign a contract helps to heighten your sense of commitment to resolving the problem.
Whether your child has a substance abuse problem or not, NCADD also recommends that parents:
- Keep a watchful eye on their children, especially as they enter middle school and high school
- Educate their children about the dangers of underage drinking
Help and support are available
Here are some free and low-cost places and organizations that you or a loved one can turn to for support and help regarding addiction and recovery.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) resources:
- The main SAMHSA National Recovery Month website
- If you need help regarding an addiction, check out this list of SAMHSA hotlines, a treatment center finder, a therapist locator, and more
- Peruse SAMHSA’s list of resources about addiction, treatment, and recovery
- Alcoholics Anonymous–For alcoholics and recovering alcoholics who are seeking support. Includes a meeting finder to locate AA meetings in your area.
- Al-Anon and Alateen–For those whose lives have been affected by a loved one’s alcoholism. Learn what to expect at your first meeting, and find meetings in your area.
- Narcotics Anonymous–For those who are addicted to narcotics. Includes a meeting finder as well as links to recovery literature.
Other helpful information:
- The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence–includes resources for people in recovery, for parents, for youths, and news articles regarding addiction and recovery.
- The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism–includes articles about how alcohol affects your health, how alcohol affects teens, college drinking prevention, and more.
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse–features addiction and recovery resources for young adults, parents, teachers, and medical professionals. Also offers information on clinical trials.
For more free and low-cost health resources, visit www.HealthcareSurvivalGuide.com. Also, check with your employer to see if your employee benefits package includes an EAP service, whom you can contact about getting confidential help with work-life issues including a loved one’s substance abuse problem. Your employee benefits package may also include access to an advocacy service such as Health Advocate, which can connect you to medical providers, such as primary care physicians or mental health specialists, who can help with addiction-related issues. Click here to learn about other ways that advocacy can help you.