The Addicted Child
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (05/2020)
“The Addicted Child,” by Richard Capriola, is the book that could save your child’s life. It’s no secret substance misuse has been on the rise in recent years, in all its forms, from prescription pain medication to street drugs like heroin, meth, etc. Alcohol is not excluded from this list either, as more teenagers are becoming alcohol dependent. Tobacco and vaping are also addressed.
Though this book is brief, it covers the topic of child and adolescent addiction in a thorough, informative way, but doesn’t burden the reader with too many facts and figures. Yes, the facts and figures are here, as well as charts and graphs, but they are necessary to illustrate the text and the numbers that represent addiction. In addition to cold hard facts, Capriola paints addiction with a human brush, diving into the neuroscience to explain to parents just how and why their kids become addicted, and why it’s so hard to break their addictions alone. Withdrawal, relapse, and treatment are also covered in a way that you will understand. Ever been “addicted” to donuts? Chocolate? Sodas? Sugar? Ever tried to quit smoking, break a habit, or change a self-destructive behavior? Now you get the idea of this author’s approach.
Capriola brings his book to parents, teachers, counselors, and clergy at just the right time. Social upheaval, depression, and isolation are just a few of the factors that contribute to substance misuse. To some teenagers, trying drugs and alcohol is merely a trend, but a fad that can cost them their lives in the form of an overdose, brain damage, death, and ongoing addiction. To other teenagers, drugs are an escape from reality, a recreational event, a way to pass the time away or join in with like-minded friends.
Parents would rather not think of their children taking drugs or relying on a substance to change their mood, help them cope, or cause them to feel good or better; but the reality is that too many parents find out too late.
What I like about this book is the facts and figures Capriola presents. He lists the substances, describes the effects of each one, and their effects. With so many articles online, and talking heads on TV, it’s hard to know who is right, and the danger that lurks around these substances. A parent or helping professional will have this book as a trusted reference at their fingertips; and the book’s brevity will help searchers find information quickly. The author’s list of sources and references are an added bonus, should you need further information. He also includes resources the reader can use to get help for their child or teenager. After all, each statistic represents a child and family living with addiction.
Another thing I like that the author does in this book is to remind everyone that treatment for addiction should be a holistic approach–treat the whole child–mind, body, and spirit.
Addiction often starts in late childhood, and can be caused by a myriad of factors like bullying, ADD, PTSD, weight issues, family strife, etc. “The Addicted Child,” by Richard Capriola, is the first key parents will want to use to unlock the mystery of substance addiction. It doesn’t try to place blame or find miracle cures–it simply wants to help and inform; and it does this handily. Think of this book as first aid for your child.