Few things are as difficult for a family to overcome as a teenage child that is abusing drugs. Many parents do not realize it is actually something that is commonly found in their medicine cabinet that children are abusing, and that cough medicine containing DXM is the prime candidate of cough medicine abuse. When these situations are not avoided altogether or taken care of quickly, teenagers are putting their life, their future, and those around them at risk.
Teenagers and Cough Medicine Abuse
When taken in smaller quantities, typically around 10mg or 15mg, DXM has few negative effects and is used to help with flu-like symptoms. When taken in larger quantities however, cough medicine abuse can affect an individual’s sense, lead to hallucinations, distort awareness, and lead to reduced eye-hand coordination. When this medicine is taken alone or alongside other drugs and alcohol, it could permanently damage one’s liver, cause a heart attack, and lead to death. This is why all parents should consider these 3 steps to save their teenager from cough medicine abuse.
1. Make Education a Priority
Both parents and their children should carefully research drug abuse in general as well as the specific effects of cough medicine abuse. While it is uncomfortable for some parents to broach the subject, creating an open dialogue with the child is one of the best preventative measures. Parents should consider speaking with their children as young as 10 or 11 years of age. When children recognize the danger of cough medicine abuse at an early age, the likelihood of abusing the medication or becoming addicted to it drops dramatically.
2. Reduce Temptations
If parents do suspect that their child is abusing drugs or believe that their child may be at risk of this behavior, it is vital to remove as much temptation as possible. This begins by keeping all alcohol and prescription drugs out of the reach of their children at all times. If the child is showing any signs of drug abuse, it is also important to begin regulating how much money they receive and monitor their spending habits to prevent them from acquiring more cough medicine for the purpose of cough medicine abuse.
3. Find Professional Help
These types of situations can be heartbreaking for a family and it is often an addiction or rehab specialist that can once again get a child on the right track. Addiction specialists will often suggest organizations or facilities that can be used to help the child steer their life back in the right direction while creating the tools that they need to avoid cough medicine abuse. Rehab and addiction organizations can range from intensive outpatient services and group therapy to one-on-one counseling or facilities designed for an extended stay.
Understanding Short-Term and Long-Term Recovery
The use and abuse of any chemical at this stage in a child’s life can alter their brain chemistry for the rest of their life. This is why it is so important for parents to begin exploring their options for a full recovery as soon as possible. Short-term steps may include meeting with a counselor or contacting an addiction specialist to discuss if detox is necessary and what steps can be taken immediately. Long-term recovery will often require ongoing therapy, counseling, and support from both the rehab specialists and the teen’s family.
Any drug abuse, including cough medicine abuse, within a family must be handled as quickly and comprehensively as possible in order to prevent life-altering or life-threatening consequences. While the situation may seem difficult to overcome, parents that understand the options needed to make an informed decision will be empowered to get their teen back on the right track.