A Parent’s Guide to Teen Addiction Book Review

A Parent's Guide to Teen Addiction by Laurence Westreich is a great resource for parents.(Note: I was given a free copy of this book to review but all opinions are my own.)

A yearly study has been done since 1975 monitoring drug and alcohol use by high school students. The study shows that the top three substances used by high school students are alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes. (Of course there are other drugs but these are the top three.)

Forty-three percent of all students surveyed use alcohol, twenty-nine percent use marijuana/hashish, and seventeen percent use cigarettes.

Do you worry that one of your teenaged grandchildren might be experimenting with those substances? Or other serious substances?

Do you worry that your grandchild might be on the pathway to addiction?

Do you see that grandchild’s parents (one who is your own child) struggle to know what to do and how to handle their situation?

Then, I highly recommend that you get a copy of A Parent’s Guide to Teen Addiction and give it to that family! Author Laurence Westreich, MD provides practical information about techniques that parents can use to help their teen. He gives exactly what to say and specific actions to take so that their teen can get back to a healthy, substance-free life. This would be a blessing to those struggling parents!

The book is divided into three sections. The first section covers what parents need to know about teens, drugs, and substance abuse. There were a couple of ideas that jumped out at me. The first was that he counsels how parents should react once they have recognized that their teen has a problem. No yelling or crying! Man. I can certainly imagine that that would be extremely hard!

Of course parents are allowed to feel all of the range of emotions that can come — anger, frustration, fear, helplessness, dismay, sadness. But they should be in control of their emotions while talking to their child about their child’s substance abuse.

Another piece of advice that Westreich gives that I think is great advice is for parents to decide what their family stands are on use of drugs and alcohol, determine repercussions for breaking those rules, and then make the rules and repercussions crystal clear to their children. That’s wonderful!

But then he says to stick to your position. Boy, that’s the kicker! I can see where that could be extremely hard.

However! Westreich provides guidance on how to do that! He gives exact words that parents can say in different situations to help them keep focused so their teen can’t get them sidetracked and off the topic at hand.

The second section provides information about specific substances, warning signs of possible use, and how parents can talk to their teens about the abuse. He covers alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana and other hallucinogens, opioids, benzodiazepines, and steroids.

Not downplaying the horrible effects of all of the various substances, Westreich said that smokable methamphetamine is the most devastating stimulant drug. This is critical information to know if you feel that one of your grandkids might be using it.

Additionally, he also covers addictions to sex, food, and gambling and also mental illness and addiction. I was surprised that he didn’t cover pornography. I think that is far different than sex addition and far more devastating (especially in the long run).

Each chapter provides parents with specific talking points and ends with short and to-the-point things to remember from that chapter.

The third section provides guidance about getting professional help for teens whether it’s a therapist, inpatient treatment programs, or outpatient programs. There is also a chapter about ‘aftercare’ if parents put their child in an intensive treatment program.

Westreich says that a teen’s common response is arguing that they don’t need to get treatment. I thought he has excellent advice for parents in that situation: be ready to call 911, get help for yourself, set up logical consequences, and stay in the game. I think that staying in the game could be the hardest for parents!

Dear Readers, if you have a teenaged grandchild that is struggling with substance abuse — or if you are raising that struggling teenaged grandchild — I strongly recommend that you get a copy of this book. Pronto! Then, make reading this one of your top priorities. It could be the best thing that ever happened to that grandchild — AND your family!

You can get a hardcover copy of this book on Amazon for $17.