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Health Information For Teens
If you live with a parent who has an alcohol or drug problem, you’re not alone. Alcohol problems and addictions to drugs (such as opioids) are called substance use disorders.
Substance use disorders harm a person’s health, and change the way they act. They cause problems at home and work. It’s not easy living with someone who has a substance use problem. Especially if it’s your parent.
If you are going through this, tell someone what it’s like for you. Get the support you need and deserve.
Living with a parent who has a substance use problem is hard. It can affect how you feel and act. It can affect your family life too. What it’s like is different for each person. Here are some common examples. See if some of them describe what’s it’s like for you.
How people might feel. Some people feel:
How people might act. Some people:
How family life might be affected. In some families with substance problems:
If you’re living with a parent who has a substance use problem, you might be having a tough time. Reach out to others for safety, help, and support. Here are some things to do:
Open up to someone. Talk to a good friend. Also talk to an adult you trust. For example, a teacher, doctor, therapist, or relative. Let them know what you’re going through. It can be a relief to share what it’s like for you. And they may be able to help you in other ways.
Know that it’s not your fault. Some people blame themselves for their parent’s substance use. They may think about times when a parent was angry or blamed them. They may wonder if they caused a parent to drink or use drugs. But kids can’t cause a parent’s substance problem.
Know and name your emotions. Don’t bury your feelings or pretend that everything’s OK. Notice how a parent’s substance problem makes you feel. It’s OK to feel the way you do. Use words (and not harmful actions) to express how you feel and why.
Find a support group. Find a group like Al-Anon/Alateen (they have a 24-hour hotline at 1-800-344-2666) or go online for help. Join a support group. Talking with others who are going through the same thing can help you cope.
Find a safe place. Do you avoid home as much as possible? Are you thinking about running away? If you feel you’re not safe at home, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE. If you think you or another family member could be in danger, call 911.
Build good habits. Some people learn not to speak up or show emotion. They worry it may trigger a parent’s drinking or substance use. Habits like these may help you survive tough times at home. But they may not work in other parts of your life. Being able to speak up, say how you feel, and show emotion helps you have good relationships in the future. Sometimes people need therapy to build good habits they were not able to learn living with an alcoholic or addicted parent.
Stop the cycle. People who have parents with substance use problems are at higher risk of having these problems too. A support group or therapy can help you learn how to avoid this risk.
The definition of binge drinking in the United States is the consumption of five or more drinks in a row by men â or four or more drinks in a row by women â at least once in the previous two weeks. Surprised? Find out more.
Deciding whether to drink is a personal decision that we each eventually have to make. Get the facts about alcohol.
We all have problems with self-esteem at certain times in our lives. Here are some tips that might help.
Find out what you can do if you think you or a friend has a drug or alcohol addiction – from recognizing the warning signs to suggestions to help you stay clean.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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