Category: Family Life Services

Helping others on their path to recovery

It is National Recovery Month, so it’s a good time to discuss what it means to have a behavior disorder or addiction and how you can help loved ones affected by one of these illnesses. Common behavioral issues include eating and mood disorders, depression, ADHD, social phobias, post-traumatic stress disorders, and panic/anxiety disorders. Substance abuse is an extremely prevalent behavior disorder.

 “Addiction is the compulsive use of the addictive substance.” ~ Father Martin (recovering alcoholic and public speaker)

The amount of substance used makes little difference to the nature of this illness. How the substance use affects one’s life and the lives of others is what matters. Whether it’s happening as a result of problems concerning money, family or work, individuals facing an addiction typically stay that way if they don’t get help. Like many other illnesses, addiction will get worse without intervention.

We asked several Diakon Family Life Services staff members to share their insights and suggestions on this issue that affects numerous individuals and their families …

Entertainment or addiction?

“Megan is glued to her phone texting her boyfriend and ‘bestie’. I wish I knew how to get her to cut back.”

“I haven’t figured out a good way to limit iPod/computer time yet. Sometimes I allow them an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Then the next day, I let them play all day. I’m not consistent with it. What drives me really crazy is when we are doing something together and all of the sudden one disappears and goes to play Minecraft without me knowing (I think he/she is heading to the bathroom).”

Do these statements sound as if they’re describing your family?

It has been a few weeks since school ended and children are home for the summer. How many of them, however, are glued to their cell phones or computers?

While most children and teens enjoy using their cell phones and computers for playing games and connecting with others via social media and can do so responsibly, engaging too frequently in these types of activities—in which use becomes obsessive—may be more harmful than just being an annoying habit. “Process addictions,” such as rampant overuse of cell phones and the Internet, are becoming of increased concern because of possible health risks. Some countries in Asia, in fact, are labeling these addictions as some of their nations’ most significant public health risks.

Listen, don’t label … ask, don’t fear

Earlier this month, organizations across the country designated a special day for children facing mental-health issues, with awareness-focused events promoting positive mental health for children and young adults under the theme “Listen, don’t label … ask, don’t fear.”

That’s a powerful—and very needed—message. As a professional social worker, I’ve seen the need for that message over and over …

Parenting a child with mental-health issues can be challenging, demanding, and exhausting. Parenting a child you know is struggling with a mental-health issue that you have no idea how to address is heartbreaking.

Puppy love

Sometimes, it’s good to let things go to the dogs!

I’ve used therapy dogs—all three have been golden retrievers—for nearly 16 years—making important connections with children and others facing a variety of life’s challenges.