Helpful guidance at early stages could help stem the recent rise in teen vaping.
That’s the hope, anyway, for officials associated with Beaumont Health.
Beaumont representatives recently issued a warning to parents to keep an attentive eye on your adolescent-aged children, especially if they have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), according to a patch.com report.
Health experts, Rita Patel, M.D., and Stephanie Wright, pinpointed immature impulse control and the impulse to self-medicate as two driving factors adolescents with ADD/ADHD are drawn to vaping. Patel serves as a pediatrician at Beaumont and Wright is a child psychologist.
Patel said: “Adolescents with ADD/ADHD might not feel quite right. They might try to address this feeling by self-medicating. Our message to parents is: make sure your child is receiving appropriate treatment for their ADD/ADHD. It’s the most effective way to prevent kids from seeking options and opportunities elsewhere.”
Along with open and honest communication from parents, both Patel, who believes her peers in the pediatrician field should screen patients for e-cigarette use, and Wright stressed the importance of health officials educating fourth- and fifth-grade students on the potential risks associated with vaping.
“We must be clear with our children,” Patel said. “This is not a gray issue: ‘Vaping is not OK in our family. It is not a safe alternative to smoking. Research shows teens are not aware vaping is unsafe and teens who vape are much more likely to start smoking.”
Added Wright: “It’s natural for kids to have questions, but keep tone of voice in mind before starting any conversation. We don’t want to shame them. One sharp or harsh response could shut down communication. But, it won’t shut down behavior.”
Patel said parents of children with ADD/ADHD should look into therapy, along with medication. Wright concurred, stating lower frustration levels will benefit the impulse control of adolescents.
“Lots of families just want to put their kids on medications,” Patel said. “I get it. But meds are only a small part of the equation. Therapy helps kids learn to cope with related behavioral and self-esteem issues. It teaches them how to resist potentially harmful coping mechanisms, such as vaping, alcohol and other drugs.”
The key, health officials contend, is receiving an early education.
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