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What Can a Parent Do If a Jr High Student Is Addicted to Pornography?

ANSWER:

With the Internet now easily accessible through mobile phones and the growing number of mobile porn pay sites, photo/video apps, and sexting, teens view porn through so many mediums that it is almost impossible to monitor everything. Parents are less able to police their teen’s access to porn than ever before. The dangers become more serious when teens go from “curious” viewing to regular, daily use and addiction. Porn addiction meaning that with prolonged exposure and tolerance increase, it leads to general loss of control, the compulsiveness to seek out pornography despite negative consequences, and withdrawal when it goes away.

So here are six proactive action steps parents can take to help their teen who is struggling and addicted to pornography.

1.) BE OPEN AND TALK ABOUT IT.
Stop ignoring or denying the problem, avoid tiptoeing around the subject and treating pornography as a secret sin that only a minority of people are struggling with. Many kids who are addicted to pornography deal with their struggles in secret, which just adds fuel to the fire. View pornography addiction similarly as other addictions so open up honest, multiple conversations about your teen’s pornography struggles. Be proactive by approaching your teens and openly discussing porn’s addictive dangers, reasons for viewing pornographic images and videos, and their emotions/thoughts connected to what they view on the Internet and visualize later. A key to your teen’s willingness to open up and accept their addiction problem is your supportive attitude.

2.) BE COMPASSIONATE & TRANSPARENT
Shame, guilt, confusion, embarrassment, and humiliation are emotions teens experience during their addiction. For many teenage boys and girls who are entangled with pornography, feel unbearable amounts of shame for it, feel fearful to tell anyone, and become caught up in the web of addiction, avoid shaming. Shaming and stigmatizing their struggles will shut them down emotionally and verbally. Compassionate love and understanding will likely lead your teen to disclose the full story.

Compassion is also transparency. Share with them your own past struggles with pornography as a teen or even in your adulthood. Talk specifically about the temptations you faced, the negative feelings you dealt with, and the problems it caused you. Disclose the personal battles you fought and ways you overcame. Teens seek out understanding as much as attention. They seek out someone who can relate more than someone who constantly lectures can. Transparency will help them understand that they are not alone with their emotions and struggles.

3.) BE PREPARED & KNOWLEDGABLE
Better acquaint yourself with the technology that gives your teens access to porn. Understand how they get it, where they store it on their mobile devices, and the filtering services that can help control it. Have your teens cite and explain the websites that are not all as known in the social media world. In addition, do your own research on the effects of porn addiction. Learn about the long-term dangers of porn include desensitizing and dehumanizing women, unrealistic and perverted views of sexual relationships, and sexual problems for adults. Understanding these and other consequences plus the technological world that captures teens will increase knowledge and ability to support your teen.

4.) BE PATIENT: “It’s an illness.”
Many parents view pornography as a behavior that should be punished and will go away easily rather than a serious illness that takes time to recover. Understand that this addiction will not go away immediately and realistically expect difficulties and relapses occurring in recovery. Just as you may encourage and support a teen going through the trials of cancer, view pornography addiction in the same way-in the good times of abstinence or the worst times of relapse, support your teen through patience.

5) BE ACCOUNTABLE- CREATE A CULTURE OF ACCOUNTABILITY IN & OUTSIDE YOUR HOME
Take a leading role in encouraging an environment of loving accountability in the home, showing sympathy for present struggles while setting appropriate limits on mobile devices and home computers. Install necessary filter software on all mobile devices with a clear expectation that there is no room for privacy when it comes to harmful content online. Set together specific rules and limits such as computer use outside homework, cell phone limited use, internet use only in shared living areas in home, and reviewing history of visited websites. Boundaries and rules should also be set and discussed with addictive behavior outside the home. Consequences through a behaviorally contract is one way to uphold an agreement and demonstrate accountability.

Accountability also entails having regular talks with your teen- checking in on their progress. It also means getting them involved in support groups in the community, treatment agencies or at school. Remember that dialogue does not begin and end with one discussion, but it is a process without a timetable.

6.) SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP
Professional help with a licensed therapist is also critical. Parents can do all the above but will gain tremendously by a therapist’s expertise on addiction and recovery. The skills and insight gained through therapy whether individual, group, and even family, can be a needed and effective resource. Therapists can also provide you the knowledge and education on how to better support and help your teen.

Mark A. Molina MA LCPC
Therapist
Fox Valley Institute For Growth and Wellness
640 N. River Rd, Suite #108
Naperville, IL, 60563
Ph (630) 718-0717 ext. 204 Fax (630) 718-0747
www.fvinstitute.com

Posted in: Teenage Sex & Pornography

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My Nephew Says He Uses Only Opium. Is Using Opium Not as Bad as Using Heroin? The Way He Looked Was the Same as When He Used Heroin. What Can We do?

Is Using Opium Not as Bad as Using Heroin?

ANSWER:

Opium and heroin, although not one in the same, are extremely similar in many ways. Opium is the highly addictive, all –natural sap that comes from the poppy plant. Opium is often used as the foundation for various other drugs known as opiates, such as heroin, morphine, and prescription pain pills. The effects of using any opiate are going to look very similar. These short term effects could appear soon after using an opiate and disappear a few hours later. Some of these effects include, a drowsy state (nodding off), mental functioning becomes clouded, respiratory depression, constricted (pinpoint) pupils and nausea. Some effects you may see when someone is experiencing withdrawal from opiates look very similar to the flu( muscle aches, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, runny nose)

Many people who use heroin began by abusing opiate pain pills( Codeine®, Vicodin®, Oxycontin®). Typically, once someone becomes dependent on heroin they develop a higher tolerance and need more and more to get high or just to keep the withdrawal symptoms at bay. Many opiate addicts will say that prescription pain pills no longer gets them high because their tolerance is so elevated. It would be uncommon to stop using heroin and revert to using prescription pain pills or another opiate without that leading back to heroin use.

Something called cross addiction or substitution is also common with individuals who are dependent on drugs. Some individuals will stop using one substance, let’s say marijuana, but then begin drinking too much. Or someone is willing to stop using cocaine but then is smoking marijuana frequently. Other substances that are commonly abused include prescription stimulant drugs, such as those used to treat ADHD(Adderral®, Ritalin®) as well as prescription drugs used to treat anxiety( Valium®, Xanax®). Addiction is a brain disease and once someone is addicted to one substance it is very likely they could become addicted or abuse other substances. Remaining totally abstinent from all substances, including alcohol, is the safest bet.

Unfortunately, when you believe someone has a problem with substances and that person does not feel it’s a problem it can be difficult to get them the help they need. They need to be willing to seek help, you cannot force help upon them. You may be able to set some limits and based on those limits inform the person they need to seek help or there will be a consequence for their behavior. Many local agencies offer programs to treat drug addiction, ranging from one on one therapy, Intensive Outpatient and residential treatment. It is also important that family members get some help, through counseling or support groups like Alanon. Addiction is a family disease and if the person struggling with addiction is not willing to get help the family member can get help for themselves.

Beth Sack
Manager of Addiction Services
Linden Oaks Hospital
852 West Street
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 305-5500
bsack@edward.org
www.lindenoaks.org

Posted in: Drugs & Alcohol, Heroin

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My Son Is Using Heroin and Says He Will Detox with Suboxone. But, He Tells Me This Every Weekend. We’ve Told Him, if He Needs Help, We Will Get It for Him. I Don’t Know What to Do. Any Suggestions?

ANSWER:

Even if your son truly wants to stop using heroin, it sounds like he needs more help. Actions speak louder than words. How much leverage do you have with your son? Can you demand that he gets evaluated now, not tomorrow or next weekend? Often people come into treatment somewhat unwillingly, but they become grateful when they start to lead a clean and sober life.
Some heroin addicts do well using only a substitution therapy, like Suboxone replacement. Others need the additional help and time that a treatment center can provide.

Local treatment centers and regional treatment centers like Rosecrance in Rockford may be able to provide you with additional guidance on how to approach your son. In addition the anonymous SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 can be a good resource to contact.

I would also suggest that you get help for yourself through an organization like Nar-Anon that offers peer support from others who are in similar situations with their loved ones.
It is not uncommon for addicts to make and break promises, but every time your son uses heroin, he runs the real risk of death.

You also asked if you should tell his girl friend’s parents that she is using heroin. First, it is very unlikely that one person will remain clean from heroin if their partner is actively using. Second, if you were unaware of your son’s use would you want a concerned person to let you know or would you rather have them keep it a secret? This is something you have to decide.

Michael Kuna, M.D.
Psychiatrist/Addictionologist
Genesis Clinical Services
Wheaton, IL
(630) 653-6441

Posted in: Drugs & Alcohol

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What Are the Factors That Can Cause Drug/Treatment Centers to Fall Short?

ANSWER:

Michael Mark
Life Coach
Interventionist
Instructor
Seminar Leader
(630) 484-0574
www.SustenanceMJM.com
www.SystemicRecovery.com
MichaelJMark@att.net

Treatment centers, by definition, seek to rehabilitate. The word means “restoring to a previous condition.” The solution for a real addict is not generally found in any past condition of their lives- as it is usually that condition which led them to begin using in the first place. The addict requires fundamental internal change, a genuinely new design for living, to find true freedom. Many treatment centers are beholden to evidence based modalities, like CBT for example, in that insurance companies will not pay on a spiritually based model which offers no empirical evidence, numbers which can be tracked. Unfortunately, working towards changing ones exterior circumstances and choices in an effort to help them feel better internally, may work in the short term to relieve the behavior driving the addiction, but stands little chance of creating the kind of change necessary to keep the addict from seeking out the exterior answer again once pain and/or suffering return which, of course, they will. Whereas, generating a genuine spiritual change within the addict, literally changing the way they live in and interact with the world, stands a far better chance of not being circumstantially vulnerable in the long term. While many treatment centers advocate for, or even utilize, the 12-Step model, very few elicit a strong understanding of how to employ it properly. They will often demand the individual get a sponsor, without a detailed explanation of what makes an effective sponsor and what things to look for in seeking one. They will tell the individual to work the steps, a design originally meant to be worked with a rapid, consistent cadence, but hold them back from moving beyond step three- even though no change really occurs within the model before step 4. What you often have after 28 days in such an environment, is a person with some cursory self-insight as a result of some group work and a handful of individual sessions, a hazy grasp of The 12-Steps and a whole lot of tactics and strategies for avoiding relapse through knowledge of the key elements that trigger them and how to survive them. On the whole, you often have little more than an addict with an enhanced, puffed up version of confidence and self-will which has provided them a month or so of sobriety and the possibility of being plugged into the “win” column for the facility, but, unfortunately, maybe not a whole lot more than that.

Posted in: All Categories, Drugs & Alcohol

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What Is Hitting Rock Bottom and Is It Necessary?

ANSWER:

Michael Mark
Life Coach
Interventionist
Instructor
Seminar Leader
(630) 484-0574
www.SustenanceMJM.com
www.SystemicRecovery.com
MichaelJMark@att.net

There is no singular definition for bottom. The reason for this is that, ultimately, someone’s “bottom” does not, fundamentally speak to an external condition so much as an internal one. This explains why one person can hit a bottom while still maintaining his family, job, home, etc while, for another, they fail to find their bottom without the assistance of homelessness, incarceration or severe injury. For most addicts, until they internally grasp true powerlessness, that is to say that until the denial-laden idea that there is some way to fix this themselves breaks open, they are doomed to stave on. In large part, it is generally true, that as strong a hold as the substance has on them, the stubborn thought that, through some concoction of their intelligence, competence, resources and will power, they can fix this, holds even stronger. This is why, if you’ve got a child who has taken some kind of step toward sobriety, only to find themselves using again, this is not always a bad thing. A scary thing; yes. A dangerous thing; yes. But it may still be a step toward their ultimate wellness; though it may look like anything but. A person who gets sober but holds onto the idea that, eventually, given the right amount of time and/or circumstances, might be able to do it “right,” in most cases, has done little more than booked a reservation for a relapse somewhere down the road. If that person needs to a few more trips to debauchery to conclusively see that this, is, and always will be, beyond their ability to control, it may ending up being well worth it.

Posted in: All Categories, Drugs & Alcohol

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How Do I Know If My Child Has an Addiction or Is Just Using Drugs/Alcohol?

ANSWER:

Michael Mark
Life Coach
Interventionist
Instructor
Seminar Leader
(630) 484-0574
www.SustenanceMJM.com
www.SystemicRecovery.com
MichaelJMark@att.net

I am going to speak about this distinction through the lens of alcoholism, as I believe it is most simply understood and easiest to locate with alcohol. With that said, all addictions pretty much follow the same pattern. Alcoholism has both internal and external symptoms. Unfortunately, the exterior symptoms are not nearly as decisive, in terms of proper diagnosis, as the internal ones. This is why addiction must be, at the end of the day, a “self-diagnosed” disease. Therefore, rather than taking on the task of figuring out if your child is suffering from the illness, which you are ultimately powerless over, unless they offer up some level of cooperation, I would offer that you’d be best served, and prepared to best serve them, by having an understanding, of how to assist them in making the distinction, should they come to a point where they are ready to ask that question. Alcoholism, at its core is driven far less by how often or how much the person uses than it does with why they use and what effect it is having on them. Daily use, blackouts, overdoses, D.U.I.’s, relationship and/or work problems are all elements we find in addicts; but they are also elements sometimes found in non-addicts. There are two significant components that we only find in true alcoholics and the pairing of these two elements comprise the motor that drives the illness. The first element shows up physically, not showing up until the individual puts the substance into their system. Whereas, with a normal user who, when taking their first drink, hit etc., immediately begins to feel a sense of satisfaction; the first one in the alcoholic not only fails to begin satisfying their desire; it does the opposite; it amplifies it. An alcoholic, once they’ve taken their first one, is unable, at all times, to determine how many will follow that first one. Experiencing this a few times would probably be enough to convince most people that, for them, using is not a good idea. For the alcoholic, in spite of often having such thoughts, will be unable to stay away from that first drink; as a result of the mental component of the illness. They will find themselves restless, irritable and discontent- unable to live inside their own skin- until they can feel the ease and comfort which comes with a drink or two; which then triggers the physical piece once again. Therefore, the alcoholic is caught in a cycle- once they start they cannot stop and once they stop they cannot keep from starting again. While they do not have a monopoly on a solution, The 12-Steps are, by the far, the most effective and time tested solution for this deadly problem.

Posted in: Drugs & Alcohol

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