Heather Burgess Ross

How Addiction Affects The Brain & Dopamine

The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. Once someone is addicted, they’re not using drugs to feel good; they’re using drugs just to feel “normal”.  Behavioral changes are directly linked to the drug user’s changing brain. …

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What’s your biggest complaint about your child that’s abusing substances?

In February some girlfriends and I took a weekend trip to Dallas. We stayed at a fun hotel in an area where we could walk to nearby restaurants.  Our first night there we were excited that a drive only 3 hours south made such a difference in the temperature.  As we walked into the courtyard, …

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Why it’s hard to change how you feel when your child is abusing substances

Familiarity feels good to us.  Even when it’s the familiarity of worry, anger, fear, guilt, or confusion.  We don’t like how those emotions feel, but we know them, so there is a sense of comfort with them.  I was talking to someone the other day who feels a lot of discomfort when she tries to …

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Why you can’t help your child who is suffering from addiction or abusing substances

It all starts with our natural coping mechanisms and why we aren’t helping ourselves either Apathy is a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. It’s the feeling of not feeling and what I refer to as feeling numb. Numbness was my preferred feeling for a few years.  It was my coping mechanism when my daughter’s …

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Why you want to control your teen or young adult child when they are abusing substances and why it doesn’t work

I often wonder where the perception of control comes from or why we think we should be able to control other people. When my daughter started abusing substances and I couldn’t control her behavior or get her to change it, I felt like I was failing as a mother. Why couldn’t I figure out how …

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How do you feel about the way your addicted child treats you?

I often hear overwhelmed parents venting about what their addicted child is doing to them.  How their child is treating them.  This unhealthy relationship with no balance happens over time.  Addiction rears its ugly head in their home.  Parents don’t know what to do.  They try to research for help, but all they find is …

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How worry works against you when your teen or young adult child is suffering from addiction

Ever wonder why your mind always goes to the worst that can happen and not the best? Think about it. Imagine how different you would feel every day if your thoughts were running away with all the ways things could turn out amazing instead of catastrophic. I used to think I had a right to …

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Why you have to be like Wonder Woman and change your approach to parenting when your child is abusing substances

My robot vacuum (her name is Wonder Woman) reminds me of how I approached my daughter’s substance abuse when it first started. Several days in a row while I was sitting at my desk working, I noticed Wonder Woman was struggling to get into my office.  The transition into my office is higher than the …

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Relationship manuals and how they ruin your relationship with your son or daughter when they are abusing substances

Relationship manuals are detailed mental books of rules and expectations about what is normal and acceptable behavior for our children.  The difference between a manual and everyday parental rules and expectations is the emotional attachment to the outcome.  When you are emotionally attached to the outcome it is a manual.  The attachment to the outcome …

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Why you lose your temper sometimes when your child is abusing substances

Last Friday afternoon I did something completely out of character for me.  I shouted profanities at the cable guy. He left the gate open, my dogs got out, and they were running down a busy street. That would make me mad on any given day, but my normal reaction would not involve yelling or profanities. …

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Why we choose drugs, alcohol, social media, over eating, and shopping rather than emotional health

Buffering is using any false pleasure like drugs, food, alcohol, shopping, gambling, people, social media, or anything else outside of ourselves to avoid experiencing our feelings.  Those external substances create temporary or momentary feelings of comfort, but they don’t last. It’s a short term solution to a long term problem that often creates more consequences …

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Small changes can make a big difference in your happiness when your child is abusing substances

I often write that when you find yourself caught up in your teen’s substance abuse you have to figure out how to put your own oxygen mask on first and take care of yourself.  Future focus is one way to do that.  Future focus is intentionally creating a better future, instead of unintentionally recreating your …

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Why You Think Life Would Be So Much Better If Your Child Wasn’t Abusing Substances

That’s a painful thought, but a common one. I’ve had it many times myself. One of the things that has helped my relationship with my daughter was letting go of all of my expectations for how my daughter’s life should turn out. When you think your life would be so much easier if your teen …

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