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Arundhati, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed psychotherapist, Published Wellness Author
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My 17 year old son has used marijuana and, now we have

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My 17 year old son has used marijuana and, now we have learned, has used LSD. We plan on addressing this with him this evening. His attitude/response about the marijuana is that "it is not addictive" and I anticipate a similar response for the LSD. I began drinking and using as a teenager and fear he is on a similar path. My drug use ended many years ago and I have 2 years of sobriety. I realize his choices are and will be his own however, I am afraid for him. I am reaching out for any talking points you may have for my husband and me. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Additional information: He has not had changes in attendance or grades at school. He has become more sullen, less engaging...hard to know what is normal teenage development, personality and or drug use.
Hello there,

Thank you for writing in to Just Answer.

It sounds like you have been closely monitoring your son and have been active parents. This is highly recommended and it seems that you've been doing the right things but encouraging sessions with a therapist, restricting freedom/privileges and doing random testing.

The fact that he has not had any grade changes is a good sign and shows he is still taking responsibility/ownership for his actions. Although it is true his choices will be his own, he is still 17yrs and your active parenting support will help to keep him on the right path.

I would recommend that you continue to do the things you were doing and if possible increase the number of therapy sessions. Once he builds a rapport with the therapist it could be a safe outlet for him to express any frustrations/peer pressure etc. that must be influencing his choices - things he may be reluctant to share with you. You could also have a family therapy session once a month where the entire family gets together with the therapist to address any behavioral issues/family dynamics (your son's becoming more sullen, less engaging etc.) and process that within therapy.

I think the key as you address this with him this evening is to stay calm and straightforward so that he does not feel pushed to a corner, but at the same time understands that his behavior/drug use is not acceptable. I'd recommend giving very clear signals and clearly laying out possible consequences of his usage (suspension of privileges etc.).

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have any additional clarifications or if I have failed to cover an aspect that you'd hoped I would.

Warm regards,

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Do you feel that counseling can be helpful regardless of his desire to participate?

I have openly discussed what alcohol addiction has meant in my life. Do you have any thoughts about taking him to either an AA or NA meeting to gain insight into the lont-term effects of drug/etoh use?

Also, do you have any thoughts about drug/etoh assessment and/or treatment (inpatient or outpatient) for teens. Want to respond appropriately and responsively but also aware that an overreaction can have consequences as well.

Hello there,

Thank you for your additional questions.

Yes, counseling as a long-term intervention can be especially helpful. In time he would develop a rapport with the therapist and depending on the skill of the therapist, use it as a safe space to process his feelings and learn coping skills for his disserving patterns/desires.

Building strong negative associations can be a good idea - (showing him pictures or talking about and meeting people who's lives have been negatively impacted by substance abuse) but whether it will be an overkill in his case is a decision you'll need to take. My recommendation would be to not use all intervention methods all at once as that might be an overreaction of sorts and not helpful in the long run.

Given that his school performance has not yet dropped a treatment program may not be warranted yet. I would recommend using home based methods (talking, setting up a strict rewards system etc.) as a first line of intervention.

Hope this is helpful.

Warm regards,

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