Tag Archives: Struggling with Addiction

Tag Archives: Struggling with Addiction


A parent with an addicted teenage sonOne of the most devastatingly challenging moments for any parent is to watch their son or daughter struggle with addiction. We want the best for our children, and when we start recognizing some of the signs – our teen comes home high, they begin changing in appearance and behavior, we find small clues at home, they start experiencing issues at school or they get into legal trouble – it can feel like the entire world is imploding on us. Everything we thought we knew about our teen changes – and suddenly we’re left in a state of confusion, or even anger or guilt – as we try to make sense of this entire experience. If you’ve recently discovered that your teen has been struggling with addiction, you’re not alone.

Teen Prevalence of Addiction

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that by the 12th grade, about half of adolescents have misused an illicit drug at least once; marijuana is one of the most commonly abused substances, but there are others, such as: prescription medications, aerols, glues and so much more can suddenly become part of a teen’s world, especially if they’re surrounded by friends who are also using them. Adolescents make up about 12-13% of the population, which totals to over 42 million – and the earlier an adolescent starts drinking, the greater they are at risk for developing addiction.

Adolescents who abuse substances are at risk in so many ways, not just addiction:

  • The likelihood of them getting into a car accident increases
  • Both brain structure and function can be significantly and negatively altered at this stage of development
  • Impaired judgment from being “high” can lead to risky sexual behaviors or even physical or sexual assault
  • In 2016, one in seven drivers aged 16-20 who got into a car accident had alcohol in their system
  • Academic and behavioral problems at school can arise
  • And so much more

As a parent, there are a number of thoughts and feelings that are running through you right now. Let’s take a look at what you’re likely going through.

How Parents Feel About Their Adolescent’s Addiction

The Pain, Pressure and Anxiety of Discovering This Issue

A 2015 study published in the journal Behavioral Sciences dove into the experiences of parents who had an adolescent struggling with addiction. They found many implications for how parents were feeling and what they tended to think about; two of the most prominent experiences described by participants were finding out about the adolescent’s substance abuse and experiencing the problems that began increasing as a result of their adolescent’s addiction. One mother explained,

“He never got physically angry with me but he very often got like really screaming at me and then he would get so, you could see the rage in him and he would just get up and slam something and walk…”

How to React

Parents explained trying to find ways to respond to these “new” behaviors of their adolescent, in addition to discovering that some of the families their teen had been spending time with were actually condoning substance use. In addition to trying to navigate this new world they’ve found, many parents explained that they began trying to find explanations for why this was happening – in a sense, many parents wished that if they addressed a potential underlying cause, their teen would no longer struggle with substances. One parent explained that they thought their son was just “really depressed” and upset at the outcome of their divorce – but merely talking with her teen about his feelings didn’t seem to resolve the situation.

A Reminder of Their Own Teen Substance Abuse Histories

Several parents described that their teen’s substance abuse reminded them of their own substance abuse when they were their age. It concerned some parents to consider the reckless behavior they exerted at that age, and to explore the potential that their son or daughter could be going down a similar path. Parents who were part of the study described how challenging it was for them to cope, and these were some of the only ways they knew how to respond to the situation:

  • Extreme stress trying to figure out how to handle the situation
  • Anger and relationship strains developed
  • Withdrawing and finding ways to not be at home

Some parents even reported feeling as though they acted in “crazy” ways, such as giving their adolescent money to pay off their drug debt or confiscating their teen’s drugs and then offering to help with any obligations their teen may have to drugs. Lastly, some parents exerted more control over their teens – by reading their diaries, Facebook, phone messages and more and trying to keep a close track on what their adolescent was doing – but it did come at a cost to them.

Seeking Help

Many parents don’t know where to seek help; the ARCH Academy provides everything an adolescent boy needs to work through the challenges associated with addiction. Speak with a professional today to learn more and to get your teen the help they need.

Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) originally began in 1985 when there were few other adolescent programs like it in the country. In 2019, we’re expanding our continuum of services with ARCH Academy, a unique program located in Kingston Springs that offers 60 days to 6 months of residential care to adolescent boys ages 14-18 who are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. This new program stems from Cumberland Heights, which has been around since 1966, and is located in Nashville, Tennessee. The adolescent age is a critical time for development, making this a crucial time of positive influence. For more information, call us today at 1-800-646-9998.

Learn why sleep in critical during recoveryOne person shared their story of struggling with addiction via Talk Space, an app that connects individuals to therapists. For one person in particular, Ritalin – a stimulant often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – was the drug of choice. He explained,

“…My drug life was incompatible with my work life. I couldn’t go out partying on a Sunday night, coasting home at 4:00 AM on Monday morning, and hope to be productive at work, though I tried. I remember one of these Mondays, falling asleep while a coworker was talking to me.”

It’s not surprising that drug abuse interferes with our sleep cycle. Tuck, an online resource database that provides information on sleep hygiene, health and wellness, explained in 2018 that individuals with addiction are 5 to 10 times more likely to have a comorbid sleeping disorder; since substances change the brain’s chemical architecture, sleep becomes more difficult as substances like alcohol can affect REM sleep – a heavy cycle of sleep where we dream, process information we previously learned and the transference of this information to longer-term memory. Unfortunately, sleep doesn’t quickly become replenished even once a person is in recovery: it takes time.

A 2017 study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine sought to explore sleep waves of individuals in recovery from substance abuse. After conducting interview with 28 individuals and assessing sleeping diaries, as well as analyzing reports that measure movement during sleep, researchers found a number of key points:

  • While many participants want to become realigned in sleep, it’s difficult to achieve and does take time
  • For many recovering, the anxiety produced over sleep is sometime enough of a disruption to actually create challenges during sleep recovery

Nonetheless, it’s imperative for those in recovery to try and create a proper sleeping schedule. Insomnia is an unfortunate experience for many who are still restoring their mental, physical and spiritual health, but re-establishing sleeping cycles as well as practicing proper sleep hygiene can make a huge difference. The next time you go to bed, try drinking a cup of warm caffeine- free tea, meditation, or another soothing activity. Try to stay active throughout the day, so that your mind and body are ready for rest by the time you lie down.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Family member supporting a loved one in recoveryWith New Year’s Coming Up, How Can I Talk to My Teen About Alcohol?Whether you’re currently in recovery or you have a friend or family member who is, it can be hard to understand why certain people – those we dearly love – don’t want to be part of the recovery process. For many who’ve struggled with addiction, entering recovery is one of the scariest, most courageous journeys a person could embark on – and to not have loved ones nearby, it can feel as if all hope is lost. No matter your situation, it’s important to remember that everyone heals from the aftermath of addiction differently. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to pushing through to recovery, and while one person may be actively involved in a person’s recovery process, another may be battling their own inner challenges.

A publication by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) emphasizes that family structures can become quite dysfunctional when addiction is present; as a result, family bonds may become unlevel and different roles may be acquired if a friend or family member is no longer able to fulfill their original duties. A 2017 study published in the International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences found that most often, families’ initial reactions to the discovery of a family member who is struggling with addiction takes place in one (or more) of 6 common ways:

  • Anger – often that the trust and freedom they gave their loved one was betrayed
  • Shock – often because family members were unaware of the substance abuse altogether
  • Acceptance – often as an attempt to keep that person from drifting from the family
  • Frustration – especially when the individual struggling happens to be considered the “backbone” of the family or a person in which many rely upon
  • Sadness – for many, this was felt by individuals who believed their loved one to have the religious or spiritual knowledge but still to have “fallen off track” or similar
  • Feeling sorry – believing a person didn’t keep a “close enough eye” on their loved one

By understanding the different emotions loved ones may be experiencing, it’s good to note that it may take some time for them to come around. We can’t control their recovery process, but we can control how we handle ourselves and what we do with our own healing journeys. Remember that.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Developing healthy habits in recovery You may be at a point in your recovery where you’re excited to see where the path takes you. You feel confident about sobriety and you’re motivated to do whatever it takes to get your life order – but as you start learning of all the different components of recovery – such as physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness – you may ask yourself, “How long will it take?” A common question asked by many in recovery, healthy habits are what serve as maintenance and preventative measures for our body to function effectively. Without healthy habits, our lives become unstable – a common ground for many struggling with addiction.

Habits are considered tendencies or practices; routine behaviors that occur on a regular basis. When we’ve developed a habit, it becomes a natural response to stimulus that occurs either internally or externally (in our environment). A 2015 study published in the journal Health Psychology Review noted that when habits form, they may be alongside conscious decision-making as well. An example of this may be someone who wants to purposefully eat healthier. Not only are they making a conscious decision to grab healthy foods each day, but they may eventually cultivate a habit that makes it easier to reach for food high in protein or nutrients as opposed to something less nutritious.

There’s a saying that it only takes 21 days to form a new habit, and that’s certainly not true. This myth assumes that habits are easy to break and easy to form – and if that were the case, the way we argue with others, the routine that we enact each morning and the natural responses we have towards certain situations would be easier to manipulate. If you really want to strengthen your chances of building healthy habits in recovery, you should take into consideration the following tips:

  • Start with one month, but take it day by day
  • Act simply, don’t try to change your life in one single day
  • Remind yourself with notes, alarms and by telling others about your goals so that you can be held accountable
  • Understand that it will take time for healthy habits to develop – but rather than focusing on the long-term goal, take it one step at a time

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.


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