Impact on children of parental substance use

IMPACT ON CHILDREN OF PARENTAL SUBSTANCE USE

Addiction Expert Dr. Indra Cidambi Shares Tips on How to Help Children Affected by Addiction

NEW JERSEY-Our country is in the middle of a drug epidemic and, as per SAMHSA, 1 in 4 children in the United States is exposed to alcohol abuse or dependence in the family. More children are living in families with an illegal substance or prescription medication abuse. Leading addiction expert, Indra Cidambi, M D. says, “It is important to address the impact on children of parental substance abuse because such children have a predisposition to behavioral problems and abusing drugs or alcohol themselves~ They also could have more problems in school or social relationships.”

“Explaining the behaviors of an addicted adult or telling a child that a parent is going away for treatment, separating from the family or, even worse, has passed away is one of the most difficult conversations to have with a child,” says Dr. Cidambi. Children of addicts experience physical or emotional abuse and neglect, domestic violence, lack of boundaries or inconsistent messages about right and wrong “It will break anyone’s heart to have such a conversation with an innocent child,” says Dr. Cidambi who has been treating families dealing with a loved one’s addiction for over a decade. “However, the bright side is that these children can overcome the damage from a flawed environment with help.” She suggests some steps that will help children cope with, and eventually overcome they’re less than an optimal living situation.

1. Help them understand the situation.

Children are aware that things are not normal, but they may be confused. They need to understand that their parent is “sick” with a disease – alcoholism or addiction to drugs – and help them make sense of their parent’s behavior. “Having an insight into their parent’s behavior will add to their resilience,” says Dr. Cidambi.

2. Make it clear that it is not their fault.

Children tend to blame themselves for their parents’ behavior as they hear statements from their parent(s) that blame them for things being the way they are – for example, “If only I could have some peace and quiet, I would not feel the need to drink.” It is critically important to let children know, repeatedly if needed, that their parents’ addiction is not their fault.

3. Help them express their feelings.

“Children of people suffering from substance use disorders learn not to talk honestly, and discount, minimize and rationalize their feelings,” says Dr. Cidambi. They need to know that they are not alone and that it is ok to feel the way they feel, share their feelings and learn to express their feelings appropriately, including anger. Repressing their feelings could eventually lead to behavioral problems.

4. Facilitate problem-solving

Children who live with parents using substances are often left to fend for themselves. “They may come back to an empty home, and may have to fix a meal for themselves and their siblings and sometimes they may face neglect,” says Dr. Cidambi. Educating these children about the range of options available to them helps them better cope with their situation.

 

5. Link them to supportive individuals.

“Identifying and connecting these children to significant people in their lives who can provide a sense of belonging and acceptance is crucial,” says Dr. Cidambi. Such people could help the child to not have to act out a survival role~ It could be a grandparent, an uncle or an aunt. Linking them to support groups such as Alateen may also be helpful.

 

6. Help a Child, Be a Child

Children whose parent(s) suffer from substance use disorders often grow up quickly. However, a child is not an adult and they need an opportunity to have fun and act like children. Keeping them busy and keep them laughing. Let them know that there is more to life than their experience behind closed doors.

 

Providing a chance for children affected by families dealing with addiction a chance to heal is one of the best gifts they can receive at this stage in their lives. The above tips can help a child trapped in a family affected by substance use to overcome their circumstances and lead normal lives.

New York Daily News : Unfolding Crisis – In no way is this junk the spice of life

New York Daily News published and op-ed piece from addiction expert, Dr. Cidambi about synthetic marijuana, also known as K2. the article helps individuals understand the make up of K2 and its dangers.

Chicago Tribune : Expert offers ways to tell if you’re drinking too much

Chicago’s leading newspaper, sought out CNT’s Medical Director’s expertise to identify the difference between “moderate” and “heavy” alcohol consumption and suggest ways to cutback.

Indra Cidambi, M.D. is widely recognized as America’s leading expert on alcohol and drug treatment issues.

Physicians News Digest : Is your doctor enabling your addiction to pain pills?

Physicians News Digest published an article from addiction expert, Dr. Indra Cidambi, about how some doctors inadvertently enable addiction to prescription pain pills and other prescription medication such as benzodiazepines. Dr. Cidambi helps individuals identify situations where their physician is enabling their addiction.

Recovery @ CNT: Brian’s Story of Addiction Treatment

Brian’s childhood was no different from a million other kids – he grew up in a quiet suburban town; he played soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. In his teenage years, he found he had a talent for music and became adept at the guitar, the bass and the piano.

He first tried alcohol at 13 from a friend’s parent’s minibar. After avoiding pot for a while, he did try it finally, at a party and started drinking to the point of blacking out. Brian kept his grades up and he was smart, smart enough to get a full college scholarship.

He got his first pain pills as tips after he delivered pizza delivery job and he fell in love with the high it gave him- it made him feel more confident, and more creative, even though he would forget half of the songs he wrote when he was high. His frequency of use increased to the point where he was snorting pills before class in school bathrooms.

But soon he found out that it cost a lot of money to get high and someone told him there was a cheaper alternative, heroin. At first he started borrowing money, then started to steal. His parents kicked him out the house and he slept in motels and on strangers’ sofas. He was shooting 20-30 bags of heroin a day, smoking crack and snorting cocaine.

That’s when his mother and girlfriend at the time suggested the Center for Network Therapy, an addiction treatment center on Cedar Avenue in Middlesex, NJ to get a grip on his opiate addiction and get over his fear of withdrawal from opiates. He told them he would give it a shot, but he had no faith it was going to work. Brian was stoned for his first therapy session with Dr. Indra Cidambi and several other individuals with substance use disorder. And then Dr. Cidambi said goodnight, and everyone left. What was going on? No other treatment program let participants leave in the evening. Brian was terrified; he didn’t trust himself. Would he use the minute he walked out the door?

“That night I went to the movies with my girlfriend. I went to the bathroom and shot up. And I remember thinking, ‘Why am I doing this? This s–t is getting so old. I walked in the next day and announced to everyone, ‘I used last night. I’m ready to get clean.'”

A different kind of addiction therapy

“The thing is, we don’t view relapses as setbacks here,” said Dr. Cidambi, MD, who is board-certified in psychiatry and addiction medicine. “I try to make every relapse a learning experience: How did you relapse? What made you do this? We talk about it, and the patient often says, ‘I see how I could have stopped myself, I see that this was the trigger.’ If they learn from a relapse, they’ve achieved a step forward.” The Center, or CNT as its called, is also unique because it is not an overnight in-patient facility. At the end of each day, patients leave and are expected to return in the morning for more talk therapy. “You go back and sleep in your own bed. It gives you autonomy. That way, you make the decision every single day whether you want to come back again, whether you want to continue treatment or not,” Dr. Cidambi said. Brian called it “the ultimate test.”

“It made me realize if you’re serious about getting clean, you can go home and stay away from temptation. That’s when I finally realized I was really ready to get sober this time,” he said.

“These people really do not know how to be sober. Nobody recognizes this. I tell them they learned how to shoot drugs and they are smart enough to unlearn that behavior. They recognize, ‘I am not a bad person. I am just an addict. I can overcome this,” says Dr. Cidambi.

It worked for Brian. He’s been clean more than a year. You can hear the pride in his voice when he says the date he became sober. “CNT taught me you can’t get clean for your kids, your parents or your wife,” he said. “You have to do it for you. You have to get clean for yourself.”

Now 28, he works as a cable technician. He still takes 1 milligram of Suboxone a day, a drug that is supposed to control cravings and block opiate receptors in his brain. But he is trying to get off it completely. He attends twelve-step meetings several times a week, which he said really helps.

“I’ve built up a network of people who are staying clean,” he said. “I got back into writing music. I’m rebuilding relationships with people I hurt. I’m going on hikes. Little by little, I’m learning how to enjoy things in life that used to make me happy, and still make me happy.”

But the specter of heroin is never far away. Often, it’s right down the block.

“I would guess there are 5-6 heroin dealers in Middlesex right now. You don’t have to go to Newark or Bloomfield to get it anymore, because there are people who have it five minutes away. It’s getting more accessible and the kids are getting younger who try it,” he said. “It’s a virus.” Ambulatory Detox gives an individual an opportunity to learn to remain sober in their home environment rather than being isolated from it.

About CNT: The Center for Network Therapy (CNT), a seven-year-old substance abuse treatment program and ambulatory (outpatient) detox facility in Middlesex, NJ and it employs unique approaches to treat addiction and offers drug and alcohol detoxification – CNT offers alcohol detoxification, benzodiazepines (“benzos”) detoxification, opiate (pain pills, heroin, methadone) detoxification, as well as detoxification from buprenorphine. CNT offers a safe environment to deal with opiate withdrawal, alcohol withdrawal and benzo withdrawal. The program utilizes medication-assisted treatment, such as suboxone (buprenorphine), to help ease withdrawal symptoms.

Real Health Magazine : Understanding how opioids could have taken Prince’s life

Real Health, magazine focused on the African-American population, seeks Addiction Expert, Dr. Indra Cidambi’s expert opinion on the possibility that Prince died of opioid overdose.

The Greatist : Can You Really Get Addicted to Cocaine After Trying it Once?

CNT’s Medical Director and leading addiction expert, Indra Cidambi, M.D., was not only quoted in the article, she was also recognized as a leading expert and pioneer in the field of Addiction Medicine.

Insurance

In-network with:

Aetna
AmeriHealth
Anthem BCBS
Beacon Health Options
Emblem BCBS
GHI
Empire BCBS
Horizon BCBS (EPO, HMO, PPO)
Oscar
QualCare
United Health/Optum/Oxford
Emblem GHI*
Humana*

 

* If the QualCare logo is on the
insurance card