When Should You Seek Help For Addiction In Your Child
Adolescent addiction is not just a phase. Take any kind of addictive behavior seriously.
Talk openly with your child about the problem. Urge him or her to open up about their feeling and fears. Hold back judgment. Its not a time for correction. Its a time for support.
If you don’t know what to do or if you feel uncomfortable talking about addiction with your child, ask for help from a pediatrician, psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, or social worker.
Your family physician can help direct you to a mental health professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating childhood addictions.
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How Are Drugs Possibly Impacting Your Children
Considering the statement, my childs father is an addict, can elicit a multitude of concerns that may make you feel helpless in navigating parenthood and protecting your children. Its critical to understand a childs needs, especially when addiction is a factor in their parents life.
A childs father who is struggling with addiction may be as much as four times as likely to experience neglect than their peers in non-substance abusing homes. Unfortunately, addiction is a debilitating disease and often takes priority, even over critical parenting roles. As a parent begins to lose focus, they may become physically and emotionally unavailable to their children. Often, a cyclical pattern emerges in which guilt and shame from neglect often fuel continued substance abuse.
Children may also be more likely to experience any of the following:
- Angry outbursts
- Anxiety and detachment
When neglect is the norm, a childs mental and physical wellbeing suffers and the ability to have healthy relationships is, in turn, compromised. Furthermore, a child may be more likely to experience:
- Speech delays
- Cognitive functioning issues
The Scariest Thing For Parents
It was a nightmare for Ryans parents. I was always sick inside. I kept thinking he was going to die. It ruins your life as a parent. Its the scariest thing, because you dont know if he is going to survive. Every time I went to his condo, the place was filthy, and Ryan looked completely wasted. Ryan was caught in a trap he could not escape. His parents realized how miserable the disease of addiction made him. He didnt like being on drugs, Karen says. He said that he was going down in a spiral. He didnt like it at all, but he didnt know how to get off it. My parents always encouraged me to get treatment, remembers Ryan. For a long time, I didnt think I needed treatment. I thought I could manage my drug use, but then I got sick when I was trying to stop. During his first stay in rehab, Ryan didnt fully accept that he was addicted to drugs and alcohol. I wasnt working any steps, I convinced myself that I was happier using, and things got real bad, he recalls. Karen and Jimmy kept asking Ryan to come home with them and go back into treatment. Ryan refused, insisting nothing was wrong with him. I was so distressed I couldnt breathe, Karen says. We prayed and we prayed.
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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.
Tip #: Understand You Cant Undo Or Redo
Parenting isnt a perfected field of study for anyone. Regardless of what anyone thinks, no parent is 100% perfect.
Everyone makes mistakes now and then, and everyone can always do a better job in one way or another. Dont be hard on yourself or focus on instances that you believe led to your childs addiction. You cannot undo or redo things in the past.
Keep your eyes on the future for yourself and your child.
Once your child becomes an adult, there is no way to go back and undo or redo anything from their adolescent days. Instead, you simply need to move forward and look for solutions to remedy the situation that you have in front of you right now.
This is easier said than done, but its a crucial tip for helping your adult child battling addiction.
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Parent Of Drug Addict Help: Top 10 Truths To Help Parents
My sons addiction started in high school, with what at the time I considered to be normal experimentation with alcohol and marijuana. I never expected then that his alcohol and drug use would escalate into full blown addiction and that it would progress over the years all the way to intravenous drug use, near death, and a prison conviction. I have learned so much along this journey of my sons addiction and recovery. From that I have compiled a list of truths to share with others who may find themselves seeking answers and help.
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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How To Support Your Adult Child In Addiction Recovery
Parents give unconditional love, which is one of the most powerful and purest things in the world. Parents just want to help their son or daughter they want to do everything they can to make life better, no matter how their adult child has treated them through out their active addiction. If you have an adult child in addiction recovery, there needs to be some awareness of behaviors that could harm your loved one or hurt the relationship.This purity in rooted in good intention and unconditional love, but sometimes, the behaviors of a parent need to be re-routed to do whats best for their adult child no matter how hard it may be. What happens with families who are strained from addiction, is a distortion of natural parenting. Things parents have an instinct to do, are taken advantage of by their adult child and also, these instincts make work to hurt their adult child as opposed to help them.
Create And Reinforce Consistent Guidelines
Establishing guidelines will set clear expectations for your child regarding acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Clear, consistent rules are related to improved outcomes with addiction. Not only will guidelines help your child, they will help determine your reactions to situations as they present.
Guidelines work best when they are developed in collaboration with your child. This way, all parties have a say regarding the consequences of their behaviors before the behavior is completed.
The best guidelines will read like a list of cause and effect statements if occurs will be the consequence. Since it is concretely established, there will be no surprises later. Of course, it will be impossible to cover every contingency, but by establishing guidelines for the most common events, you can reduce the odds of emotionally fueled reactions that have less-than-productive outcomes.
No matter how strong your guidelines, poor consistency will render them ineffective. If your child has been driving under the influence and you take their keys in some situations but not others, you are reducing the efficacy of your guidelines. This inconsistency will diminish the relationship with your child as their respect for you decreases.
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Talking To Kids About Addiction
Feelings of shame, disappointment, frustration, and even anger are common in parents who discover that a child is addicted to drugs or alcohol. These responses are natural and should not be ignored however, communicating these feelings to a child or teenager in the form of accusations, judgments, or criticism will not help the healing process. When youre talking to a child or teenager about substance abuse, try to choose words that do not reflect anger or judgment. For example, if your child has a friend who abuses drugs, dont refer to that person as a druggie or junkie. These judgmental words will make your child defensive.
Your tone of voice can also make a difference in how your son or daughter responds to your talk. Kids may be young, but they are highly attuned to the way their parents speak to them. Hints of condescension, judgment, sarcasm, or resentment will quickly come through and may destroy the connection that youre trying to build in this discussion.
Ultimately, talking with a child about addiction is about trying to find common ground to build a connection. Your goal is not to criticize your childs behavior, but to help them recognize that there is a direct link between substance abuse and negative consequences, such as problems in school, difficulty learning, loss of friends, or loss of a part-time job.
Addressing The Dangers Of Enabling And The Value Of Constructive Relationships
Unfortunately, its possible that some of your best intentions and actions to help your child overcome their addiction may have reverse effects. If they are struggling to make ends meet in life with the burden of their addiction in tow, supporting them financially or otherwise may actually be making this destructive life possible. A better move in the direction of recovery would be to reach out to a treatment center for guidance in navigating this sensitive territory of addiction as a family disorder.
There are ways to force someone into treatment, but their chances of success in really connecting with recovery and their responsibilities will be significantly greater if they can actually buy into the value of this path. That is to say, the value of the path as they see itnot necessarily as you see it. In fact, the best way for a person to enter treatment is to be able to envision the life they want and to understand more clearly how their substance use is getting in the way of that desire. Treatment specialists can help to guide you both in this direction of awareness and intention. Not only will your son or daughter be completely supported in their journey, but you, too, will be supported in helping your child develop an empowered relationship with their addiction and their life as a whole.
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How To Deal With A Drug Addicted Father
It can be difficult to recognise the signs of a developing drug addiction, as the indicators of drug abuse can vary based on the frequency and quantity of the drug being taken. Coming to terms with the fact that your father is struggling with addiction is a very important step in helping him towards recovery. Please remember, you do not have to take this on alone and that Port of Call is here to support you through the process.
The signs of drug abuse include:
- Sleeping more than usual
- Misplacing items
Set Up A Personal Intervention
Interventions make it possible for parents and families to take a proactive stance against their sons drug addiction. Theyre a great way to reach out and show the person who needs help how much you love and care for them enough to get them the help they need.
If possible, try to find the right time to talk, ideally one when theyre as sober as possible.
Hold a rehearsal, make a plan, and stick to the script. Deliver your lines clearly and confidently, but also with warmth and love. Try not to deviate and stick to the order of speakers you develop in your rehearsal.
Do everything you can to stay calm and keep tempers under control and dont give up! A professional interventionist can provide integral support before, during, and after your intervention.
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About The Author: Alex Molyneux
Alex is our admissions team leader. Over the last 5 years he has spoken with more than 10,000 people via our helpline and has organised over 1,000 detox and rehabilitation placements.
- All our call handlers are themselves in recovery
- We visit all clinics in our network to understand whats most suitable for you
- We can organise same day admission
- Let us help you and your family find freedom from addiction today
How To Help A Family Member With Meth Addiction
While its easy to get frustrated and scared and to feel hopeless, its best if you can take a step back, breathe, and act from a place of awareness when it comes to your childs substance use disorder. Even without intending to, you may be imposing shame and negativity on them, which can drive them away and help keep them stuck in the disempowered place from which addiction takes hold. Its infinitely better if you can help to instill confidence in your son or daughter while making available the kind of comprehensive meth addiction treatment they need.
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How Can I Help My Addicted Adult Child
If you believe your adult son or daughter has a problem with addiction and are concerned that you might be enabling his or her alcohol or drug problem, here are 6 steps you can take now:
1. Open up the lines of communication
As a parent, it can be hard communicating with your son or daughter about their addiction. You may have tried in the past and been unsuccessful. You may even feel as if you are constantly pestering or nagging them to change. Try a different approach through a sit-down conversation. Before approaching your child, take some time to think about what you would like to communicate. While you shouldnt expect to convince your child to admit his or her drug problem and seek help immediately, you can open up a dialogue for future conversations. Find an appropriate time when you can both sit down and talk without interruptions. Start by telling your adult son or adult daughter that you care about them deeply and understand that addiction is a disease, not a moral failure. Communicate what you have seen and how their addiction is affecting you in a non-accusatory manner. Be specific. Let them know that you are concerned about them, but avoid being judgmental or lecturing. Ask your child questions and give them space to respond honestly. Listen and avoid condemning their responses or cutting them off. Remind your child that they are loved and you are here to offer them help for their addiction when they are ready.
2. Set boundaries and follow through
Can Addiction In Children Be Prevented
The most helpful prevention programs focus on addressing the concerns of young people about the effects of drugs.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that prevention programs should be tailored to address risks specific to population or audience characteristics and may begin as young as pre-school.
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To Be A Friend Or Not To Be
When adolescents are having a drug problem, parents can feel unsure about their roles. They find themselves wondering if they should be their childs friend or their parent.
Believe it or not, parents are the most influential part of a teens life even more so than their friends. Sometimes, as a parent you may feel like an outsider when your high schooler spends more time with their friends than their family however, your student needs you just as much as always.
Part of teen addiction is to fabricate stories about where they are, who they are with and what they are doing. In order to be able to obtain illegal substances, those struggling with addiction have to be deceitful to continue in their addiction. Its not that they want to lie, but they inherently feel its the only choice.
Unfortunately, lying breaks down relationships. The longer deceit goes on, the more distant people become.