Drug addiction, mental illness and other complex problems can be very distressing for the affected person and their family, friends and carers. Families can benefit a great deal from the support of professionals who can help them to understand and cope with the impact these problems have on their child and the rest of the family.
The teenage years are when many people begin to experiment with drugs. Although experimentation can be dangerous, research shows experimentation does not necessarily lead on to having a 'drug problem' or 'drug addiction'. Excessive use of drugs can lead to physical and mental health problems, damage to relationships, issues with work or study, or financial and legal problems. Families of young people with serious drug use issues often suffer enormously from the strain of trying to deal with their child's behaviour.
Most people will experience some mental health problem at some stage in their life. Factors that may trigger the onset of symptoms of mental illness include stressful life events, substance use, traumatic early life experiences or a genetic or hereditary predisposition. Mental illness should be thought of in a similar way to physical illness and people with a mental illness should be shown understanding, rather then judgement and blame.
Describing the problems your child has isn't always easy. They may have multiple problems, including personal and behavioural issues. Finding a way to sort out these problems may involve a lot of trial and error. This can be very hard on parents, especially if your child's situation is getting worse and no one seems able to help.
Families can benefit greatly from support to understand and cope with the effects of living with a child who has complex problems. Use our service directory to find an organisation offering practical help and advice in your area.