Counseling Teens and Parents about Marijuana

Counseling Teens and Parents about Marijuana

A common concern that parents seek support for is how to discuss marijuana usage with their teen.

As a teen counselor, I hold summer teen therapy groups that help teens decrease and eliminate drug use while also improving self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and self-confidence.

Parents can support their teen by engaging in the following:

Practice understanding. This means taking time to engage in open dialogue with your teen versus engaging in accusations or statements that are attacking.

Create clear boundaries with your teen. Boundaries depend on what your household expectations are. Overall, the goal is to be clear and direct with your teen with respect to the usage of marijuana.

Provide education on consequences and impact of marijuana use. As a teen counselor, I spend sessions discussing mental health implications that can lead to sadness, dependency, lethargy, irritable mood, oversleeping, or irregular changes in appetite.

Health implications. Your child’s marijuana use can further lead to health implications that should be discussed with their primary physician. If your teen is using marijuana while taking prescription medication, it becomes extremely difficult to understand what’s working versus not working.

Drug testing. To create a habit of decreasing and eliminating usage, you can implement drug testing as a means to promote a clean environment in your home. This type of test will promote punctuality and respect.

Concerns parents share about marijuana usage

The bottom line is that the usage of marijuana is illegal and is directly connected to the health risk that is backed by years of research. Marijuana is considered a gateway drug, meaning that its usage can lead the user to venture to new drugs.

As a professional counselor, I share with clients the risk of using marijuana while taking medication. For instance, if a person is struggling with depression and anxiety and is using marijuana while also taking Zoloft, it would be difficult to understand what’s helping versus what’s not helping.

Clinically, the prescribed medication, Zoloft, support the person struggling with anxiety by acting as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). The drug promotes a feeling of well-being by improving mood, energy, sleep, and appetite.

When persons are taking prescribed medication, I can closely work with their medical professional to ensure that we are mutually working for the patient’s wellbeing. As a simple example, let’s say that a person is working to address distressful symptoms connected to major depressive disorder.

In the professional counseling setting, I can aid the person by providing coping skills such as journal writing or positive talk. If we are struggling to make progress, medication support by a psychiatrist can be used. As time progresses, the closely monitored relationship between myself and the psychiatrist can aid the client in establishing positive change.

As the process continues, I can maintain communication with the psychiatrist and client to ensure that if the holistic clinical strategies are not working then the medication is. This is called an integrative approach to treatment.

When a person is using marijuana, prescribed medication, and counseling it can create complexity. The issue arrives in pinpointing if the negative changes are attributed to the use of marijuana or the side effects of the medication. In addition, identifying the catalyst to positive changes is also difficult to assess as three separate variables are being evaluated simultaneously.

Peron’s that are struggling to stop marijuana usage or reduce it can try to take on the following approach:

For a 90 day period, consider starting with one of the two: professional counseling and/or prescribed medication.

During the 90 day period, commit to the practice. Use systems such as journal writing to document your daily emotional changes. The positive and negative changes.

Be mindful of how triggers are connected to your emotional wellbeing and the impact of counseling and/or medication.

As the 90 day period progresses, take time to include the professional counselor or medical provider you are working with. Educate the person on what’s working and what’s not working.

The goal is that the 90 day provides:

  • Education to how the medication impacts you on a day to day basis. Such as understanding the impact of sleep, appetite, mood, daily energy, thought process, and overall wellbeing.
  • Education on what you can do to address the distressful symptoms or negative habits and behaviors. For instance, gaining education on triggers that create distress and coping skills to address the distress.

Ending the 90 day period with a plan that is healthy and focused on positive long-term change.

If you would like support in helping your teen overcome challenges associated with marijuana or drug use while improving their depression and anxiety call 336-707-1723 to explore counseling options.

A one-on-one counseling setting can help your teen feel better and live a healthier life.

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