There's something in the addiction field called co occurring disorders. A co occurring disorder is when someone is diagnosed with a mental health disorder as well as a substance use disorder. And with that there comes the chicken in the egg theory. It's difficult to know sometimes what came first, did the person turned to drugs or alcohol because they were suffering from a mental health disorder or did their substance use caused them to have a mental health disorder. Either way, it's important for you to understand your child's mental health, nourish it and take action at the first sign of any issues. If your child struggles with anxiety, ADHD, depression, and so on or any type of mental health disorder, they are more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol for relief, especially if they are mis diagnosed or undiagnosed.
And that's where you come into play as a parent. Oftentimes, kids feel out of control or not supported because they aren't getting the treatment they need for their mental health. For For example, let's say you're 14 years old and you struggle with anxiety. You tell your parents that you get really nervous a lot and you have trouble breathing, but you're not able to say, Hey, I have anxiety because you don't know what anxiety is. Now, let's say your parents tell you that it's normal to feel nervous and that you just need to suck it up. Then you're with a group of friends who are smoking weed and the joint gets passed to you.
Reluctantly, you take a hit. Now you're not super high, but you notice something right away. All of a sudden, your anxiety is gone. You're not nervous, you're relaxed, you're comfortable and you feel good. What then? Well, the next time it happens, you won't be so reluctant.
And before you know it, you're doing what it takes to get your own weed with your own money so that you can feel better. Now you can replace weed with any drug on any occasion. Take that same scenario for a kid who is constantly depressed but cocaine or ecstasy breaks them. Free of that, or a kid who has past trauma and opioids helps them to forget about at all. Now, let's say the situation is the same of as the above that the 14 year old kid goes to their parents and says, Hey, I get really nervous, but my heart beats fast, and so on. If the parent sits down with them, take them seriously schedules and an appointment with a mental health professional, and the kid gets the help they need for their anxiety.
When that joint comes around, they may say, yes, they may take a hit, but it's not going to have the same impact. Their anxiety is already being taken care of. So the likelihood of them craving that feeling of being free from anxiety diminishes greatly. So as a parent from an early age, you need to be cognizant of the fact that your child may be struggling and at the first sign of any mental health struggle, it's important to take action And not ignore it. Not all kids need medication either. So I'm not necessarily saying that as there are many ways to treat mental health such as therapy counseling, and if needed, then yes medication but that's up to you and your mental health professional.
The important thing is, is that you're taking care of it and not pushing it under the rug. Now, what about those who don't exhibit any mental health struggles? Does that mean they won't turn to drugs or alcohol? Absolutely not. It's a statistical game here. Your job is to reduce the likeliness of them to turn to drugs or alcohol before they're an adult.
Also, there are ways that you can help their mental health even if it not to a point where they're diagnosed with anything as we all know, we can have situational struggles such as a death in the family, a loss of a pet, a huge exam coming up bullying, those situations should not be ignored either. Even if your child doesn't want the need for a mental health professional, you can still cradle their mental health by talking, spending extra time together during rough times, and just being there to support them through whatever it is they're going through. If you're ever unsure though, it doesn't ever hurt to ask it professional opinion. See in the next lecture