Tips For Parents: How To Help A Drug Addict Son
Loving a child with an addiction is one of the most challenging things you may have to do as a parent. Watching them struggle with the mental, physical, and emotional impact of alcohol on their life can be just as challenging for you.
You may feel helpless in this situation, but your willingness to help and support your child through this difficult time could be the difference they need to see that change is worth it, that they are worth it.
If you are struggling to figure out how to help your drug addict son, lets look at how to stage an intervention and how to find appropriate addiction treatment for their needs.
The Robert Alexander Center is a comprehensive addiction treatment center that tailors treatment plans for each individual client, by combining group, individual, and family therapy to inspire physical, mental, and emotional healing.
Tough Love Is A Hard But A Valuable Language To Learn
Geno, an adult client of mine, came in to see me, feeling very frustrated and angry. He described recently seeing his adult son’s phone number pop up on his Caller ID. It was Geno’s day off from work and he had planned to decompress. But, he thought, after all, “This is my son, and I love him,” so he accepted the call. As Geno listened to his son’s slurred voice, he felt flooded with upsetting thoughts such as What the heck is it now? immediately followed by guilt for being so suspicious of his son.
Geno’s son went on a 20-minute rant about how his former boss was a jerk and that he still can’t find another job. He mentioned that he had smoked less weed, but that he had no money for his rent payment. Geno mentioned that he had financial pressures too and his son immediately said, “Whatever, dad, don’t worry about me!”
As the room started to spin, Geno, to his own amazement said, “Only this one time” but he knew his words had a hollow ring, since he’d said this so many times before. So, with mixed emotions, Geno later went to his son’s apartment to “loan” him money to pay his rent. As usual, his son, with his beaming, broad charismatic smile, promised to pay Geno back, but he knew that would never happen. Geno thought about how this chaos is unsustainable and wondered when he would ever learn to stand on his own two feet.
Do You Enable?
Helping Your Adult Child Without Enabling
Encouraging Your Adult to Live in Her or His Own SkinSkin Thats Also in the Game
The Range Of Addiction In The United States
In America, there are more than 20 million people addicted to some form of substance and in need of treatment, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration . Out of those 20.8 million, only roughly 10% seek and receive the help they need.
If you have an adult child addicted to drugs or alcohol, you likely feel helpless and hopeless. You may even feel as if you have no options available to you.
The list below has been compiled to help you, regardless of the stage of addiction your adult child may be in.
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Hosting An Intervention For My Alcoholic Son
The best way to learn how to help your addicted son is to consult professionals who can help you put together a plan. You should never try to help your addicted son by yourself. Once you find the right professional, he or she can assess the situation and help you find treatment for your family and for your son. A professional can help you stage an intervention or simply find the right treatment facility to help your son get clean and sober.
A licensed professional can explain the different types of facilities available, including:
Parents With Addicted Children Need To Know These 4 Things
I recently spent time with some friends who just had their first child. Hes now a six-week-old, bright, blue-eyed baby boy. Eli is the light of his parents lives and with good reason. Hes one of the most precious things Ive ever held. From his tiny hands and feet to his little smile, Eli is brand new to this world and has so many things ahead of him.
A new baby brings so much joy and excitement. Parents watch in awe as their children have their firsts first smile, first tooth, first steps, first everything. They want the best for them and its thrilling to watch them physically grow, learn and develop their own unique personalities. We imagine all the different paths in life they may take: Will he play football? Will she want to be a ballerina? Is he going to be creative? Will she be good at math? Will he be a doctor?
With a brand new baby, the possibilities and opportunities seem endless.
One thing that doesnt cross parents minds when they imagine their childrens futures, however, is the possibility that their baby will grow up to become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Addiction may seem like a far-off, distant problem that may never affect you or your family. But the reality is, millions of parents across the country are facing the nightmare of having a drug-addicted son or drug-addicted daughter every single day.
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Garden State Treatment Center
We at Garden State Treatment Center understand how difficult it can be to set and maintain a strict set of rules while you watch your loved one struggle. Fortunately, our team of experienced therapists, counselors, and addiction specialists are available to help. We will help you take the steps you need to get help for your loved one in a safe and effective way.
24/7 Confidential Treatment Helpline
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Your Adult Child Can Still Get Help To Beat Addiction
Dont lose hope.
Its so easy to give up after dozens of repeated attempts to help, but if youre able to follow the six tips above, youre doing everything in your power to help your child.
Things change when your child becomes an adult. Roles change, personalities change, and overall relationships change.
You are not responsible for everything your adult child does, but you can still change their future.
Looping back to Tip 4 from earlier, take your time and be ready for the day to come when the answer to your request that they seek treatment turns from a sharp no into a maybe or even a yes.
There are hundreds of treatment options out there for each type of addiction a person can be facing.
In the end, nobody knows a person quite like their parents do. Take what you know about their addiction and them and turn that into your base for searching out treatment options for them.
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What Is The Difference Between Substance Abuse And Addiction
In many countries and cultures, experimentation with drugs and alcohol is considered a rite of passage, occurring recreationally in social settings. As a parent, you may be unsure whether your adult child is using recreationally, abusing substances or has a full blown addiction.
Many wonder what the difference is between addiction and substance abuse. While both can be harmful, substance abuse occurs when a person consumes alcohol, illegal or legal drugs in ways and amounts they should not. This might mean using drugs or alcohol to ease stress or taking pills without a prescription, for example.
Addiction, on the other hand, may result from or follow as ones substance abuse escalates. For some, drug and alcohol use can turn to substance abuse, and finally to dependency and addiction. Addiction is a disease that differs from substance abuse in its intensity, physical and mental impacts, as well the ways in which it affects an individuals life.
Tip #: Dont Forget To Love Yourself
The final tip is incredibly important as it encompasses a lot of what weve already gone over.
You should not be bearing the entire weight of your childs addiction to the point that you are unhappy in your own life. You can only do so much.
Take some time to appreciate what youve done and continue to do for them even when theyre turning it down.
Your life changes in an instant when your child first comes into your life, and that never ends no matter what age your child is. However, when your child grows out of that adolescent age and becomes an adult, your roles and responsibilities lessen and evolve.
Loving yourself essentially means youre drawing your boundaries, accepting your limits, and keeping yourself healthy in a difficult situation.
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How To Help My Drug Addicted Son
Perhaps youve already caught your teen using drugs. You found paraphernalia in his room, or caught him red-handed as you drove by the neighborhood hangout. Maybe this isnt the first time the substance abuse has happened. Youve noticed he has developed the preliminary signs of addiction, and you know that his drug habits are recurring despite their destructiveness. Watching this battle against substance addiction can be extremely challenging for parents. You want to help him, but as a mother or as a father, you just dont know how much you can offer.
Teens, because of their stage of brain development, can be tough. Your son or daughter may not want to listen to you, and may ignore your threats at punishment. He or she may not take you seriously, or laugh when you suggest professional addiction treatment. Part of you may want to be your childs friend, while simultaneously wanting to help him pursue the healthy life he deserves. You may feel your efforts have run dry, asking yourself, What can I do now? How can I help my drug addicted teen?
Fortunately, there are ways that parents can help and support their child through a drug addiction. Follow these steps to get your son or daughter back on the right path to a drug-free life.
Talking To Your Child About Drugs
Parents can help protect kids against drug use by giving them the facts before they’re in a risky situation. This can make them less likely to experiment with drugs or to rely on friends for answers.
You’re a role models for your kids, and your views on alcohol, tobacco, and drugs can strongly affect how they think about them. So make talking about drugs a part of your general health and safety conversations.
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Overcoming The Stigma Of Substance Abuse
Our societys opinions about substance abuse play a big part in the way we respond to those who get addicted to intoxicating substances. Although addiction is now recognized as a chronic disease of the brain, many substance users who desperately need help are still judged or condemned. Parents, in particular, are vulnerable to judgment, criticism, and legal repercussions because of the effects of substance abuse on their children.
Condemning parents does not necessarily help them or their children. Instead, the social stigma against addicts and alcoholics discourages both parents and children from reaching out for help. In her account of her childhood growing up with an addicted father, author Alana Hope Levinson describes how the shame of having a parent who abused drugs prevented her from reaching out to others for support. Levinson writes that this social bias against addiction leads to a conspiracy of silence, in which society ignores the needs of young victims of abuse and neglect. As a result, many of the kids who grow up in households affected by addiction continue to suffer poor mental and physical health as adults.
When youre struggling with a sense of shame, or with the fear of voicing your needs, make a list of your rights as a child or teen and repeat them to yourself. Say them out loud until you feel comfortable with them, until they become part of the way you think about yourself.
Dont Ignore Your Own Needs
Its natural to feel worried about your child when they are struggling with a debilitating disease like addiction. Letting your fears consume you, however, will stand in the way of your own happiness and peace of mind. Over time, continuing to put your loved ones needs above your own may also lead to feelings of resentment on your part.
Take A Step Back And Set Boundaries
Its important not to get too tangled up in this mess. Adult children and teenagers are highly likely to rebel against their parents for no other reason than the sake of rebellion. This can make your efforts feel like a giant waste of time and leave you feeling worthless. If youre constantly asking about your sons problem, giving advice and telling him what to do, it will probably go in one ear and out the other. Just let him know you are there for him if he needs to talk and how much you love and care about him.
A gentle approach usually yields the best results, but that doesnt mean you should let yourself be taken advantage of. If your son is stealing from you or demanding money, cut off these channels immediately. Lock valuables in a safe, and keep tabs on all of your cash and cards. If money has been taken, keep records of the amount and discuss a repayment plan once hes in the recovery process. Personal responsibility is necessary for him to heal, however difficult it may feel to say no and not be so involved.
The Treatment Answer For Lasting Recovery For The Whole Family
When you enable your son or daughters addiction, you are participating in it. And they are not the only one suffering the whole family feels the fallout of the addicts lifestyle, their attitude, and their hopelessness. But the situation is not hopeless: You can turn the page of new possibilities at any moment.
You certainly can support your adult child without enabling them. Initially, its important to have an experts perspective and guidance to gain more clarity into which of your behaviors are helpful and which are actually harmful. And ultimately, your daughter or son needs clinical care to help them overcome the major hurdles of their substance dependency and the addictive, destructive behaviors that have become like second nature to them.
Once they do get involved in a comprehensive treatment program, they will have access to safe, medical detox, well-rounded psychiatric care, holistic therapies, and lasting recovery resources. In fact, the whole family will have a chance to participate in healthy new coping strategies and long-term planning for a brighter future.
Alta Mira offers comprehensive treatment for people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders and process addictions. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Bay Area programs and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward lasting recovery.
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How To Help A Child With Drug Addiction
Drug addiction has long been a problem in children under the age of 18. Children tend to get exposed to drugs in middle school or high school, if not earlier at home. Unfortunately, children are much more vulnerable to abuse drugs to the point of addiction because their decision-making skills, rational thinking, and self-control are still developing at this time. A child who develops a drug addiction can be difficult to talk to, understand, and/or relate to. If your child is addicted to drugs, this is an all-too-familiar description of what life can be like when addiction is occurring in your home. Thankfully, you do not need to accept your childs drug addiction for what it is. There are several things that you can do to help them get through this difficult time in their lives and on the path to recovery.
Our Son Is An Addict What Do We Do
Drug addiction profoundly affects families. For those closest to the addict the effects of addiction are especially traumatic. Relationships and family dynamics quickly change and its important to know this is a normal situation and that through the correct addiction treatment, families can heal together.
Last year DJ completed our residential addiction treatment program for ice addiction. We asked his parents Carol and Wayne to share their experience of his addiction so that they can help other families suffering from the knock-on effects of addiction. This is their story.
DJ became addicted to ice after years dabbling with recreational drugs. His ice addiction completely debilitated him and stole his life. DJ is currently 30 years of age and was in the grip of ice addiction for nearly five years.
Carol says that DJ experimented with recreational drugs like ecstasy and cocaine at parties. Because he limited himself to weekend usage, DJ thought he had a handle on it. DJ was working full time and appeared to be managing well. Carol and Wayne remained oblivious to the beginnings of his addictive behaviors.
DJ eventually moved onto ice, and like the drug usage before it, DJ believed that he could control his use of it.
However Carol and Wayne became increasingly worried during the first twelve months of his ice use. Concerned, they questioned DJ, who angrily denied any addiction to drugs, screaming that his parents didnt know what they were talking about.
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