Seminar Date: November 16, 2011

“Recognizing and Understanding Addiction” was the topic at our most recent Encino parent seminar. Our lecturer for the evening was Dr. Robert Waldman, MD, Internist and Addictionologist. Dr. Waldman explained how addiction is brain disease that is both diagnosable and treatable. Dr. Waldman emphasized the difficulty in breaking patterns, and that it usually takes more than just willpower to stop compulsive behavior.

In terms of parent’s recognizing addiction, Dr Waldman suggested to look for changes your teenager or young adult’s behavior. These changes include:

  • change in friendships
  • change in what constitutes a fun activity
  • change in eating and sleeping patterns
  • change in productivity (such as grades at school).

Dr. Waldman shared that drug use can often be an attempt at self medicating, rather than a person going to talk to a professional about what bothers them. Dr. Waldman suggested that parents who catch their children using drugs, should ask them why they are using them. Dr. Waldman said the common answers are peer pressure and depression. Dr. Waldman said it was especially important for young people to avoid using drugs due to their brain’s not being fully developed yet.