Addictive behaviours are not uncommon amongst adopted and Looked After young people and they also face learning to manage their alcohol use in a society where there are significant pressures to drink and where binge drinking is increasingly recognised as a problem.
If your child’s birth parents abused alcohol, not only may the children be affected pre-birth or by their birth family's associated behaviours but medical advice suggests that the young people themselves may be predisposed towards addictive behaviours, although these risks can be lessened if their environment is supportive. Thus talking to Looked After and adopted young people about these issues is particularly important as a preventive measure.
The facts and the risks
It is important for young people and parents to know about safe levels of alcohol consumption. Guidelines for under 18s suggest that an alcohol free childhood is best and that children should not drink until they are 15. If 15-17 year olds do drink, Recovery Partnership suggests this should not be more than once a week and they should be supervised by an adult at this age. Drinking at this age should be within the government daily sensible drinking guidelines of 2-3 units for women and 3-4 for men.
Useful links and information
- Drinkaware gives useful information on the facts about drinking.
- APAS have a wealth of information about addiction.
- WAM (what about me?) is a confidential Nottinghamshire support service for children and young people who are affected by someone else’s alcohol use.
- Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder information
Addictive behaviours are not uncommon amongst adopted young people and self-medication can be a way for them to try to block out their concerns and anxieties.
Medical advice suggests that the young people themselves may be predisposed towards addictive behaviours, although these risks can be lessened if their environment is supportive. Thus talking to adopted young people about these issues is particularly important as a preventive measure.
The facts and the risks
It is important to be able to understand how to recognise if your child is using drugs.
Drugs are used experimentally or recreationally - often by adolescents as part of risk taking behaviour - but for some of those young people their usage becomes problematic. Because of their chemical structure, psychoactive drugs have an effect on the neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, and thus affect mental processes, behaviour, perception and alertness and so on.
Cannabis usage can be the most common for teenagers and can act as an entry to more dangerous drugs via for example introducing young people to suppliers of other drugs. Cannabis acts as a mild sedative, leaving most people feeling relaxed, chilled out or just sleepy. However some people become more animated and some experience mild hallucinogenic effects causing a distortion of reality. This may make them anxious, panicky, suspicious or paranoid. Regular use can cause short term memory problems and affects concentration and impairs judgement.
Help and support
Where you're concerned about your adopted son or daughter’s drug use and feel this may be connected to their sense of their adopted identity or other adoption issues, please contact Support After Adoption’s phone-line on 01623 437988 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nottinghamshire’s Targeted Support service provides support for drug problems as well as alcohol. If you need support, contact The Early Help Unit
Tel. 01623 433 500 or email: email@example.com
Hetty's originally started as a voluntary organisation in 1996, by a small group of mums who themselves had suffered the pain and heartache of being affected by a loved ones drug misuse. The organisation now provides phoneline support from 9-7 daily on 0800 850941 or via text to 07896 228547.
Talk-to-Frank is a confidential drugs advice service. You can contact them at any time by phoning 0300 123 6600.