Author: Laurence M. Westreich, M.D., Author

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-6107-2836-9

Doctor Westreich, author of A Parent’s Guide to Teen Addiction, has authored one other book on addiction. (2017, inside back cover) He is a noted professor at NYU and psychiatrist. His specialty is addiction. The prior book was titled Helping the Addict You Love. He has been a special guest on numerous television and radio stations, as well as, taking the time to speak to educational facilities and other groups on the topic of addiction. He lives in New Jersey.

There is no doubt that many homes and lives have been touched in some form or fashion by addiction. Addictions can take various forms from cigarettes to food to sex, shopping, alcohol and drugs or gambling. Without the right intervention any of those addictions can ruin homes and lives of loved ones.

Do you or someone you know suffer from an addiction? Even if they are not teens, the target audience for this book, there are tools that can help you deal with the sinking feeling of addiction spiraling out of control.

Doctor Westreich outlines the signs, sometimes overlooked by parents, of potential addiction or abuse. On page 12 (2017) he states that “Addiction is compulsive behavior that has negative consequences.” He delineates the symptoms and helps provide insight on how to approach that delicate topic. Sometimes simply knowing what to say, or not to say, can make a difference in the reaction or action of an addict.   

Once you aptly define the problem you can begin to search for answers. Knowing the symptoms early on and later into the addiction cycle can help parents or loved ones to pinpoint where things began to erode or go awry and what steps to take to intervene. Addictions affect relationships, school performance and achievement, and may bring your children into legal situations for remediation. According to Doctor Westreich parents can sometimes prolong dealing with their children’s addiction problems because they are in denial. Denying the problem and failing to effectively deal with it merely prolongs the pain.

Oftentimes, people look at alcohol and cigarettes as acceptable addictions, but both in excess are signs and symptoms of much larger problems that these addictions merely mask. Despite what your household policy on alcohol use is Doctor Westreich says that “…8.6% of eighth graders, 26% of tenth graders, and 46% of twelfth graders said that they had been drunk.” (2017, p.35) He also contends that banning alcohol use all together oftentimes has even more devastating effects on teens drinking behaviors. For instance, there is an uptick in teen pregnancy and STD’s due to alcohol and/or drug abuse, not to mention automobile accidents. He suggests that using “…discussions about setting limits as teachable moments.” (p.41)

Stimulants can be as simple as caffeinated drinks like coffee or Red Bull or as harsh as cocaine and methamphetamine. “All stimulants raise the level of neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, which improves concentration and mood.” (2017, p.45) Doctor Westreich says that a little increase in dopamine can produce mild euphoria while a large increase can raise your heartbeat, which can lead to heart attack, can produce agitation, insomnia and irritability, or other wilder actions. Cocaine or methamphetamine can be smoked, snorted, or even injected.

To learn more about the various symptoms of alcohol and drugs please read this book and seek professional help in dealing with a person who has these addictions. There are support groups for families and friends of addicts too. The best prevention is preparation.