eheadspace Group Chat
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Group Chat
Alcohol and other drug use
September 6th 2016 @ 12am AEST
Many parents and other adults are looking for ways to help their young person with their alcohol or other drug use, how to support them to make healthier choices and manage stress or distress well.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 10:50 am
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 10:51 am
Hi everyone and welcome to our Group Chat session today for parents and other adults supporting young people!
Many parents and other adults are looking for ways to help their young person with their alcohol or other drug use, how to support them to make healthier choices and manage stress or distress well.
Today we hope we can offer you the chance to ask questions, share with each other helpful ideas and generally find some more support for yourselves in assisting young people you care about.
We’ll respond to your questions and add some comments and resources as well.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 10:51 am
We also have joining us in this session by logging on, Ann, (who will be identified as ‘AnnFAF’) who is a member of our headspace Family and Friends Advisory Committee. She’ll be sharing a little bit about her experiences and adding some comments as a parent with young people who have had some mental health challenges. Welcome Ann. We really appreciate you being part of the session today!
We're also expecting Keiah from our youth advisory group at headspace, called hYNRG, joining us today. Thanks for joining us Keiah!
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 10:57 am
Comment From Ann F&F
Hi everyone, my name is Ann and I'm on the National Family & Friends Reference Group. I'm very much looking forward to this session as our family has had to deal with alcohol and drug use for one of our teens.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 10:57 am
Welcome Ann!
A couple of things before you start chatting:
• When you submit your question it won't appear straight away
• Our team will be busy reading and preparing an answer to your question before it is posted live - we appreciate your patience
• If we can't publish anything we'll let you know
• It also helps if you use a name (even if it's not your own!) so if you have a follow up questions we know who we're talking to. Also, if you don’t use a name all your responses come in from ‘Guest’ so that can be confusing for us!
Thanks in advance to everyone participating : )
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 10:57 am
Jo eheadspace: Hi everyone :) my name's Jo and I'm a mental health clinician here at eheadspace - welcome to the chat today :)
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 10:58 am
Comment From Ann F&F
Hi Jo :)
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 10:59 am
Jo eheadspace: Hi Ann :)
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 10:59 am
Kristal eheadspace: Hey everyone, we have some questions already - just working on some answers for you :)
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 10:59 am
Comment From Ann F&F
Alcohol and drug use is a great topic to discuss as it's something that most young people will experience at some point, either themself or their friends.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:01 am
Kristal eheadspace: Absolutely Ann! This is an image I found that supports what you're saying too :)
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:01 am
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:01 am
Comment From Glenys
I am worried that my kids (I have a 17 year old daughter and a 13 year old son) might be smoking pot at home. Although I haven’t found any pot in their rooms, they are becoming more withdrawn and keeping to themselves in their rooms a lot more than usual, and my daughter is becoming more apathetic than usual…how should I ask them about this? I don’t want to scare them into feeling they have to lie about it, but I also want to know the truth…please help.
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:01 am
Comment From Guest
Hi, My son has been involved in drinking and also using marijuana. whilst it is not frequent, it is still a concern. His belief is that it is normal and not really that bad. I have always been very open with him about the health effects of both, particularly on his teenage developing brain, but I just don't think he thinks it is that bad. How should I address this?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:01 am
Jo eheadspace: Hi Glenys and Guest - I'm going to respond to both your questions as they are quite similar - if that's okay.
As you can see you are not alone in your concerns and you are definitely not alone in your question about how to start a conversation with your children about cannabis. It sounds like you have observed some changes in your children’s behaviours so a good place to start a conversation with them may be to discuss what you have observed, expressing your concerns in the changes in their behaviours and what may be contributing to this.
I imagine that your children may be a little surprised that you have noticed these changes but also feel good about your interest and investment in them. Allow your children the opportunity to express their feelings, ensuring that you are listening to them. Yelling and making threats is unlikely to help the situation and will likely close any future discussion from taking place.
It will likely take more than one conversation for your children to open up about what is happening for them so it’s important to continue to check in with them regularly and that you are available for when they may be ready to speak with you. I guess the final thing to say is that if you come from a place of love and caring then they will be more open to listening to your advice and change can then start - hope it goes well and thanks for the question
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:03 am
Comment From Ann F&F
As a parent whose young person has gone through so challenging times with drug use, I found it was important to improve my knowledge about drugs and to keep the lines of communication open.
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:03 am
Comment From Deb
I know my daughter has been using marijuana as I found some in her bedroom, but she denies this when I ask her…how do I get her to tell the truth?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:04 am
Emma: Hi Deb, it's Emma here from eheadspace, thanks so much for your question : ) I'm sorry to hear that you found marijuana in your daughter's room but she's denied smoking marijuana when you've asked her. If you haven't already, it might be worth explaining to her that the only reason you ask her about her drug use is because you care about her health and safety. Before exploring the risks of drug use, it can be helpful to acknowledge some of the reasons why a young person may use drugs - to have fun or to fit in with their friends, for instance. Then you could explore the possible effects of cannabis together, including risks to a young person's health, that make you concerned. There is some info on the headspace website that might be helpful to read over together:
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:05 am
Comment From Janet
Hi, my son, he’s 15 has started hanging around with the “wrong crowd” and coming home drunk. Although it doesn’t seem like it is a big problem for him (he is only drinking a few beers), I am worried that it could turn into a problem…how can I get him to stop?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:05 am
Rachael Eheadspace: Hi everyone, my is Rachael. :)
Thank you for your question….I can hear your concerns for your son and the possibility of his alcohol use becoming a bigger problem. A lot of people don’t think about alcohol as a drug even though it’s the most widely used drug in Australia and is really easy to obtain. As a parent, it’s important for you to be clear, transparent, open and approachable in expressing your beliefs openly with your children from as young as possible about alcohol and drugs. Be curious about your son’s friendships and the influence his peers may have on him. Discuss the benefits and harms associated with binge drinking and looks at different situations where your son may be placing himself at risk and how he would go about keeping himself safe. It’s important to remember to set a good example and role model responsible drinking as you influence your child’s attitudes and behaviours more than you probably realise.
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:05 am
Comment From Gary
My brother is an alcoholic and has been for years, our dad was also. I’m concerned about my brother’s children as I don’t know whether he is capable of looking after them when he’s drunk. Our dad did not set a good example of how to be a dad and I just don’t know how to talk to my brother about this.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:05 am
Rachael Eheadspace: Hi everyone, my is Rachael. :)
Thank you for your question….I can hear your concerns for your son and the possibility of his alcohol use becoming a bigger problem. A lot of people don’t think about alcohol as a drug even though it’s the most widely used drug in Australia and is really easy to obtain. As a parent, it’s important for you to be clear, transparent, open and approachable in expressing your beliefs openly with your children from as young as possible about alcohol and drugs. Be curious about your son’s friendships and the influence his peers may have on him. Discuss the benefits and harms associated with binge drinking and looks at different situations where your son may be placing himself at risk and how he would go about keeping himself safe. It’s important to remember to set a good example and role model responsible drinking as you influence your child’s attitudes and behaviours more than you probably realise.
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:06 am
Comment From Ann F&F
I agree with what Rachael mentions, as we don't realise just how much our young people are exposed to drinking in society. It's become so normalised and this can make it difficult in young people realising the dangers of drinking on their developing brains. It also means to look at drinking behaviours in our own homes, so that we can model to them the more appropriate drinking behaviours that we wish our young people to use.
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:06 am
Comment From Jenny
I have heard that there are some people at my son’s school (he is in high school) that are using and selling ICE…how do I make sure my kids aren’t getting involved in doing this? And if I find out they are, what do I do?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:06 am
Kristal eheadspace: Hey Jenny!
Welcome to the chat and thanks for your question. There has been a significant amount of media attention surrounding ice which can lead to a lot of misinformation so hopefully this will be a good starting point for you to look into things further. Before you speak with your son about the concerns you have, we would encourage you to find out some information about ice from a reputable source so that you feel well informed and prepared in your discussions (you could start with the headspace website: https://headspace.org.au/young-people/understanding-amphetamines-for-young-people/)
Once you feel more confident with the knowledge that you have, initiate a non-judgemental conversation with him about the information that you have heard and ask him about what he thinks about this. Showing an interest in your son by wanting to spend time with him and asking about who his friends are, what goes on at school and what sports he may play are all effective ways of creating a safe and supportive environment for your son to want to open up and let you know what he may be thinking. Another suggestion would be to consider speaking with the principal of your son’s school to highlight the information you have heard and explore how the school can respond at a community level. Take Care :)
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:08 am
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:21 am
Comment From Guest
I have had the conversation with him and he has been very open with me a bout him using it.My son believes that marijuana use is not that bad. He cites alcohol as causing more problems in society than marijuana, the fact that it is legal in some states of America, he believes further supports his case that it isn't that bad. He does seem to have researched a fair bit of information in relation to it and is very informed. I want him to stop but don’t know how to get him to see that it is a problem.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:21 am
Jo eheadspace: Thanks Guest for your response and it's great that you and your son are having this conversation so openly and respectfully. I think the issue with any alcohol and drug use is about harm minimisation. Is your son's cannabis use impacting on work and study? Is it stopping him from engaging in his day to day functions or have healthy relationships. Is there a history of mental health illness in your family which could be a risk factor for him?
I guess if you can ask him these questions, which may then make him think about the pros and cons of using cannabis. And the other question is what does he get from using and what would it be like if he didn't? Often alcohol and drugs are used to self medicate emotional and psychological issues and are more symptom then the real problem.
I hope that this makes sense and answers some of your questions.
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:22 am
Comment From Maria
How do I give my young children proactive education around drugs and alcohol but keep it age appropriate? They are 11 and 13 years old…
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:22 am
Kristal eheadspace: Hi Maria, Great question….Like other taboo topics, many parents and carers feel that they should not speak to their children about drugs and alcohol as they are worried that this means they will want to try it. The reality is that most young people around this age would have seen or heard something about drugs and alcohol and that most of this would have come from immediately family and friends and/or from social media/media.
At this age, it would be most appropriate to speak to your children about alcohol, cigarettes and prescription medications (in addition to medications over the counter). This can be done after you may have watched something on TV or before a family gathering to place it in context. It may also be appropriate to speak about cannabis, depending on your child’s level of maturity and their exposure to their environment.
A great place to find information on these substances would be druginfo.adf.org.au. Keep the information basic, using simple language and pictures and allow for your children to ask questions.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:23 am
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:24 am
Comment From Ann F&F
Hi Jenny, it also might be worth checking if your son's school is affiliated with some of the school drug education organisations, such as SDERA. They help assist schools in providing prevention education and it might be something that would be valuable for the school and the students within it.
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:24 am
Comment From Anon
Both I and my husband drink alcohol regularly, and now my 16 year old daughter has started to steal it from the cupboard. I am worried that we are influencing her, but we are just social drinkers. She call us hypocrites when we have asked her to stop…how do we deal with this? Is she right? Are we being hypocritical?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:24 am
Emma: Hi there Anon, thanks for your question : ) It sounds like a tricky situation with you trying to enforce some rules around alcohol use with your daughter and having her accuse you of being a hypocrite in response. To begin with, you could acknowledge that you do in fact drink socially, and explain some of the reasons you enjoy drinking alcohol. Similarly, you could explore with your daughter her reasons for drinking alcohol, including how it makes her feel and whether it's an important part of the activities undertaken by her peer group. After exploring some the reasons why people enjoy drinking, it may be useful to explain to her some of the reasons for laws that limit underage drinking. You could explain how the adolescent brain is still developing, and that regular alcohol use can impact negatively on this process of brain development. You could also explain some of the risks of alcohol use, such as impaired ability to make decisions, that can be harder for younger people to manage compared with adults. These are some online resources about alcohol that you could have a read over with your daughter:
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:24 am
Kristal eheadspace: This is a VERY long article by an Australian psychologist - it talks about drugs and how parent can talk with their young people about addiction and drug/alcohol use. It's a really great article and covers so much.
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:24 am
Comment From Paul
During the school holidays I took some time off to be home with my children. My oldest is 16 and I noticed that he is staying up at night late and seemingly drinking. Then he seems very hungover in the morning. I’ve removed the alcohol we had in the house which seems to have resolved the issue. I don’t know how to talk to him about it and I don’t want to get into an argument about it. What’s the best way to have a calm conversation about this without upsetting him?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:26 am
Jo eheadspace: Hi Paul...thanks for logging on today and that's a great question you're asking about how to speak to your son about his alcohol use. A good way of starting is letting him know that you are concerned about the missing alcohol and have noticed that he seems to dealing with a hangover the next day. By coming from a place of concern rather than discipline or punishment, this can facilitate him opening up and telling you perhaps why he is drinking secretly in the evening.
As I mentioned before, alcohol and drug use are more often than not a sign that things aren't going well in your child's life and they are looking at relieving the stress. I have a feeling he will be relieved that you have noticed as it sounds like he's finding it hard to find the words to tell you.
Also let him know that this is the beginning of many conversations you can have together and that's your role as his parent to help him navigate life and be there to support him when he gets a bit lost.
Hope some of this is helpful Paul and feel free to contact our service via webchat or phone 1800 650 890 if you have any further questions
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:27 am
Comment From Ann F&F
Hi Maria, your children are at a great age to model to them the benefits of having open and honest conversations. They will probably have some questions, so it's a great idea to do some research before you speak to them so that you are informed as well. They might also come back to you after the conversations after they have digested it and have further questions for you. It's a great soft approach to discussing such an important issue.
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:27 am
Comment From Guest
Hi Kristal, the images you have uploaded would be very helpful. is there any way to get copies of them. they are a little small and when I save them and magnify the quality is poor and can't be read?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:27 am
Kristal eheadspace: I will try to see if I can pop the link in for them directly! It might take a while, but I'll try to get the links in before the end of the session!
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22nd Aug, 11:28 am
Comment From Ann F&F
Wow, what a great article Kristal, will definetly read that after the chat session.
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22nd Aug, 11:28 am
Comment From Carol
My son has been in and out of rehab placements over the last 4 years, most recently using heroin and drinking while there so he was kicked out without support. He’s now 24 and looks like he’s in his 50s. he has no friends, no job, often sleeps on the streets and spends most weekends in part at the local hospital as he’s picked up by police intoxicated and taken there. I’ve tried so many different things, my husband and I are at the end of our tether and I’m so concerned that he’s going to die. It feels like no one cares, and no one will help us. I know my son wants help, but no one gives him any. The hospital helps him sober up and then send him away with instructions to go to their drug and alcohol service during the week, and instructions on how much to KEEP drinking. Because he’s still drinking he never goes to the clinic, it’s like they’re setting him up. How can I get him locked up so he can’t drink?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:28 am
Steve eheadspace: Hi Carol, thanks for posting today. It has clearly been an incredibly challenging experience and it sounds like you have been doing so much to help your son. One of the very challenging issues families and loved ones face, is the clear limits the health system has with imposing treatments on people affected by significant substance use problems. I'm sure you would have heard many times that he 'can't be forced into treatment'. The process for some people in accessing in engaging in drug treatments can be quite long term - despite our desire for things to change as quick as possible. One of the key positives you have highlighted are his statements that "he does want help". The reality for most people seeking drug & alcohol support is that they will often experience 2 sides to addressing their issues - 1 part wants to change; another part struggles with taking change. Forcibly 'Locking up' your son is not really possible on the basis of his alcohol use alone. However, continuing with guiding him toward services, keeping his key health supports informed (e.g., his GP) is important. Additionally - keep acknowledging that he would like change - it might seem trivial, but that reminder that someone continues to believe in his recovery is important. I also think that ensuring you and the rest of your family have supports is an absolute must (so often family and loved ones are forgotten in these situations). I have attached some links to finding support services and information. Steve
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:28 am
Comment From David
I’ve read about using interventions with friends and family involved to confront a friend who is addicted to drugs and booze…is this a good idea? It sounds like it could be confronting and a bit harsh…thoughts?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:28 am
Rachael Eheadspace: Hi and welcome to group chat. Thank you for your question.
I would have to agree with your gut feeling about confronting someone sounding like a harsh approach. In any situation where you may need to have a difficult conversation, confronting someone is probably not the best way to approach things. A good way to approach someone who you are concerned about is to be supportive, open, gentle and respectful, sharing with them your observations, what you have seen, that you care about them and tell them how worried you are feeling about them. You can also let them know that you are here for them, willing to support them in finding out information about possible options and if possible have a some information accessible, online or paper copies that you can access through your gp, community centre or down load from druginfo.org.au. It is important to remember that you cannot necessarily change or force someone to change their behaviours and getting angry with them is not going to help either of you. If anything it will force them further away and lessen the likelihood of them seeking your support.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:28 am
Kristal eheadspace: Hey Guest, re the pictures. If you click on them do they open in a new window where they can be seen full size?
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:28 am
Comment From Guest
I went to a party recently and there were lots of drugs there. I felt really uncomfortable and didn’t k now how to tell my friends I wanted to leave.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:28 am
Jo eheadspace: Hi Guest and welcome :) great question too and I imagine that would feel really confusing wanting to be with your friends and yet not wanting to be around them if they engaged in drug use. You have as much right to say that you'd like to leave as they do in wanting to stay. It's up to you whether you tell them that night or even later, your reason for leaving but I think it's always important that you are true to yourself and your values.
If you do decide to have that conversation with them then it's best to use 'assertive communication' by saying something along the lines of "Hey, when you were doing drugs, I felt really uncomfortable as I don't want to take them so decided it would be better to leave and that might happen again in the future and wanted you to know where I was coming from".
Thanks again for your question and hope it helped
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22nd Aug, 11:29 am
Comment From Guest
Hi Kristal, they open in a new wind but they are still small.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:29 am
Kristal eheadspace: Ok - working on finding the links!
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:29 am
Comment From Guest
If my son is using marijuana roughly every 6 weeks or so, can this impact on his motivation. How long do the negative effects last? Are there any long term effects of use at this frequency as a 16 year old?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:30 am
Emma: Hi Guest, thanks for your question : ) Unfortunately it's difficult to answer your question, as there is no 'safe' level of use for cannabis. Using any type of drug always carries some level of risk. Generally speaking, people with a personal or family history of mental illness are advised against using cannabis, due to the negative impact cannabis can potentially have on our mental health. Here is a little more info about the potential effects of cannabis:
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:30 am
Comment From Ann F&F
Hi Carol, what a distressing situation for your son and your family. It sounds quite complex and was wondering have any of the services offered counselling or some other form of therapy for your son. It's extremely difficult to watch a loved one change so dramatically, but it sounds like you aren't giving up and will keep fighting to help him.
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:30 am
Comment From Maddie
My friend has finally come around to wanting to get some professional help for her drug use…what services are available and how do I go about helping them access professional support?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:30 am
Emma: Thanks for your question and for your concern around your friend. It’s great to hear that you are wanting to support your friend around their substance use. Hopefully, they recognise how fortunate they are to have someone who cares about them. One of the most important things is to first allow your friend to feel heard without judgement and to tell you their story. Once this has happened, it’s important to speak to them about what support they are wanting (counselling, detox, rehab, medication). It’s ok if they are unsure or are feeling overwhelmed about this, so it’s important to let them know this. Once they feel they have an ok understanding of their options, it would be worth contacting your local alcohol and drug service and speaking to them about taking the next steps (see this directory to figure out your local alcohol and drug service: www.adin.com.au). Something important to remember is that people who use drugs, can very quickly move between being motivated to change to not wanting to change so try not to become too frustrated if your friend decides that they are not ready to take the next step. By starting the conversation, you have planted the seed in their mind about hopefully making some positive changes for themselves.
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:30 am
Comment From Tori
I want to get some help to stop using speed, but I am worried that if I tell my doctor, they will tell the Police…what should I do?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:30 am
Jo eheadspace: Thanks for reaching out to us and being so honest about your use. First off, I think it’s great that you are wanting to get some help and have been able to recognise how your speed use is impacting on life. This is often the first (and sometimes one of the hardest) steps to take. In terms of speaking with your doctor, my suggestion would be to try to organise an appointment with your family doctor, someone who knows you well and is unlikely to judge you or want to punish you for your drug use. If you don’t have a family doctor or don’t feel comfortable speaking to your family doctor, I would encourage you to try to find a youth friendly doctor who has a good understanding of young people’s issues and again, will not judge you or make you feel bad about yourself. The good news is that doctors are here to support you and guide you to the best possible solutions for your concerns. They are not here to get you in trouble with the law. The only time that a doctor may need to contact the police, is if you were to threaten to harm yourself, the doctor or anyone else at the clinic, or if you are doing something illegal like using or selling drugs at the clinic. Best of luck with your journey ahead……
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22nd Aug, 11:31 am
Comment From Ann F&F
Hi guest, is your son using Marijuana for a reason, ie - recreationally, friendship group, to de-stress ? It's important to understand why he is using it as then you can help him to find other ways that are safer.
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:31 am
Comment From Guest
Recently I started having cravings coming back and I'm really struggling to continue to abstain.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:31 am
Kristal eheadspace: Hey Guest - I'm not sure of your age, but you might want to log on and chat with us at eheadspace if you're between 12 - 25. Otherwise you could get in touch with https://www.counsellingonline.org.au/
You might also find this image helpful!
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:31 am
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:32 am
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:32 am
Kristal eheadspace: And guest - remember this is the recovery trajectory - and you're still further along than you were before!
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:32 am
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:32 am
Comment From P
I am a recovering drug addict, and my son blames me for his current drug use… how do I talk to him about this in a motivational way without it feeling like a punishment, as I would feel a bit hypocritical…
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:33 am
Rachael Eheadspace: Welcome to group response and thanks for your question.
Firstly, congratulations on your own achievements in being able to address your drug use. As you will be very aware, working through your drug and alcohol difficulties can be an ongoing challenging experience. There can be a number of factors which can lead young people to engage in substance use. Whilst your son may feel that your past is a contributing factor for his own drug use, it’s important for him to recognise that everyone’s experience, process and decisions are individual,l and that he will need to take some responsibility for his own behaviours. Engaging in an open communication whereby you can express these concerns is a good place to start. Attempt to also speak about the good things and not so good things about their drug use as a way of weighing up the pros and cons of their own use.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:33 am
Kristal eheadspace: P - yo umight also find this image interesting too :)
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:33 am
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:34 am
Comment From Ann F&F
These info graphics are great - would be useful to have them on the fridge or somewhere you can see them as they are great prompters!
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22nd Aug, 11:34 am
Comment From Ann F&F
Hi Guest, is there something that you can call when you have cravings that you help distract you, talk to you, or just come and sit with you until the craving disappear. A support person is extremely valuable.
Participant
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22nd Aug, 11:34 am
Comment From Baz
I want my son to join the defence forces (he is 16 at the moment) and he has started hanging around with older guys at his footy club who drink, and I’m pretty sure they do a lot more than that… I am worried that his decisions now around drug and alcohol use may affect his chances of getting a career in the defence force…how do I talk to him about this without putting too much pressure on him?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:34 am
Steve eheadspace: Hi Baz, thanks for your post today. It can be tricky finding that balance between allowing children to grow, whilst enabling them to take steps into independence. I think taking the step to open a dialogue with your son is very important. Maybe steer clear from lecturing him about the perils of drugs/ alcohol - but come from a position of enquiry. He will be far more willing to open and up and/ or seek support from you if he doesn't feel threatened of punished.
I have attached a good link from the Australian Drug Foundation that includes some great info about having a discussion with family about substance use. The issue of under age drinking is also considered in this information. Whether it be the defence force or anywhere else, it is important that people can be aware that drug & alcohol use can have a major impact on our work places. Cheers, Steve
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:34 am
Comment From Guest
Hi Ann, it is difficult to tell why exactly he is using marijuana. He has recently been diagnosed with depression and has indicated that it make him feel better, but a large group of his friends do it and so I am not sure if it is the depression or a friendship thing or may both.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:34 am
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:34 am
Comment From Ann F&F
Hi Guest, sounds like he is self-medicating to help his depression and having friends also use it would be adding to the normalacy of using it. Is there some type of activity or sport that he is passionate about or interested in that you could help him with during times that he is more likely to use. For example, We found with our teen that we would take him out fishing.
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:34 am
Comment From Ian
I have spoken to a few of my friends who work in health about my son’s drug use and several of them have mentioned the Harm Minimisation approach…what is this and how do I use it?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:34 am
Rachael Eheadspace: Hi and thank you for your contribution.
It is great that you have decided to raise this question. Harm minimisation or harm reduction is a way of promoting health and preventing drug related harm that meets people where they are at with their substance use. It focuses on reducing the risks and adverse health consequences associated with unsafe substance use. Harm reduction recognizes that abstinence (i.e. quitting drugs altogether) isn’t realistic or possible for everyone. However, this should not disqualify substance users from the same chances and choices about health care as non-users. By learning about drugs and alcohol and ways to reduce the harms associated with them, you are empowering yourself to make informed choices.
A good way to think about how harm minimisation works in the community is to think about people driving cars and speeding. Despite there being speed cameras on the road, police and large fines, this does not guarantee that everyone will not speed which can potentially cause significant harm and injury. One thing that can reduce the harm though is ensuring that people wear their seat belt and producing cars which keep us safer. Likewise, some examples of harm reduction interventions that can improve the health and quality of life for people who use drugs include:
• Needle and syringe programs (NSPs)
• Pharmacotherapies for drug dependence, including methadone and suboxone
• Confidential pre and post-test discussion and counselling
• Overdose prevention activities, including peer distribution of Naloxone and first aid training;
• Planning your night out by having a designated driver/taxi organized
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:35 am
Comment From Tash
My younger sister has started going out all the time and shes hardly at home. I’m really worried that shes doing drugs but she says shes not. How can I find out if she is and what should I do?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:35 am
Jo eheadspace: Hey Tash...welcome :) It can be quite concerning when you suspect that someone you care about is using or abusing drugs, especially if they are young. There are a range of different risk that I'm sure you've thought about such as her increased vulnerability and impaired judgement if she is drug affected and also the impact on her brain development.
I think the key is to go to her with your concerns without judgement or anger and let her know that you are worried about those issues I raised above.
You might like to look over this session at a later date as we have talked about how to speak to someone you love who may be taking drugs. Also if she is under the age of 18yrs it might be important to speak to your parents if you have real concerns for her safety. This is not about 'telling on her' it's rather about ensuring that your sister is safe and sometimes we need people around us to make that call if we can't ourselves...perhaps like your sister.
Hope that some of this is helpful and feel free to continue this conversation with our online and phone team at eheadspace either via email, webchat or calling 1800 650 890. Cheers :)
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:38 am
Comment From Bill
I've tried to get sober a number of times but it's so hard. My sons are getting older and are more aware of my drinking. I want to set a good example, and I don't know how to talk to them about it and let them know how much I don't want them following my footsteps
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:38 am
Emma: Hi Bill, thanks for your question : ) I'm sorry to hear that your recovery journey has been very difficult. Please know you're not alone, as most people do struggle with relapse as a part of their recovery. Honesty is very powerful, so I really encourage you to be upfront with your sons about your struggles, if you think they are of an appropriate age to hear about it. Children don't just learn from us modelling 'perfect' ideal behaviour as parents - they learn just as much from our mistakes and challenges, and most importantly how we respond to these mistakes and challenges. So being honest with your sons about your difficulties could be a very powerful lesson for them in understanding the potential risks of alcohol use. Another thing to keep in mind is that many people are able to use alcohol at 'safe' levels that don't impact on their health. The Australian Drug Foundation has some guidelines about 'safe' levels of drinking for adults aged 18 plus:
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:43 am
Kristal eheadspace:
The 64 ways one - if you google "64 ways to cope with cravings a pinterest link comes up for it" but it doesn't seem to be working at the moment!
Codependency roles - https://www.thecabinchiangmai.com/infographic/codependent-roles-in-the-family/ (this is a website from Singapore so the other links on it may not be appropriate for Australia)
I think the other pics are visable even in small - and if I've missed any it's because I couldn't find it :) I saved these a long time ago!
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:43 am
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:43 am
Kristal eheadspace: We've come to the end of the questions - so we're all going to pop in some of our favourite links and resources. Forgive us if there are repeats!
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:44 am
Comment From Ann F&F
Hi Tash, the teen years are a time when young people tend to gravitate towards spending more time with their friends than their families and this is perfectly normal. However it seems that you have some conerns that it may not necessarily be safe for her. Is there anything in particular that has made you think that drugs may be involved?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:44 am
Jo eheadspace: Hey - here's a great link too for Australia wide resources on a range of different issues including drugs and alcohol. Just put in your postcode and answer a couple of non-identifiying questions and it will give you some services in your area
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:45 am
Comment From Guest
Thanks Ann, yes we are trying to do a lot more fishing as he really enjoys this. We are also looking at taking him to an exercise physiologist so that he can do up a program and act as a personal trainer to get him back into boxing and rugby. I have also been trying each night to encourage him to play a game of cards or board game with other members of our family to try and get him out of his room and away from the internet and interact more with us. I am also in the process of trying to get him into counselling with Headspace. this chat and the resources have been very helpful.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:45 am
Steve eheadspace: Here are a couple of links which can be of great help - hope you like some of them. Steve
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:45 am
Comment From Ann F&F
Hi Guest, wow - sounds like you are doing a fantastic job of supporting your son. Congratulations!
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:45 am
Jo eheadspace: This is a great resource for family seeking support for someone with a drug or alcohol issue - http://www.fds.org.au/
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:45 am
Comment From Ann F&F
he exercise physiologist is agreat idea. This was definitely helpful in our teen's case and has greatly helped his depression and built his confidence as well. It's a great option to choose.
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:45 am
Comment From Ann F&F
Exercise works two fold as it help with our endorphins and feel good hormones whilst also helping confidence, self-esteem and body confidence.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:46 am
Rachael Eheadspace: A couple of excellent phone support services available nationally and in each state are;
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:46 am
Steve eheadspace: Hi - it can be incredibly difficult for family and members and loved ones supporting people through drug and alcohol difficulties. Please remember - as a first step it is incredibly important that you look after yourself and access your own support network. It can be too easy to sacrifice your own well being!! Steve
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:47 am
Emma: We’re about to finish the session today.
Thanks everyone for participating and sharing your comments and questions.
Our next Group Chat session for adult supports of young people will be on Thursday 3rd November on the topic ‘Managing conflict and aggression with your young person’. Look on our website and check social media for the details and we hope to chat to you then!
Participant
Participant
22nd Aug, 11:47 am
Comment From Ann F&F
Thanks everyone :)
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:47 am
Kristal eheadspace: Thanks Ann for joining us :)
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
22nd Aug, 11:47 am