Dont Make A Habit Of Lending Them Money
You may be tempted to help your loved one with their living expenses when they are feeling most vulnerable, but it can be difficult to tell what your financial support is funding. Your son or daughter may become dependent on you and feel less of an incentive to overcome their addiction if you continue to offer them money. Without a reliable source of income, they are more likely to reflect on their behavior and work toward their recovery, cultivating core values like honesty, accountability, and hard work along the way.
My Daughter Is An Addict: What Can I Do To Help
No one ever said that parenting was easy. However, no one ever said it would be this hard, either. If you believe your daughter is addicted to drugs, you know this sentiment firsthand. You may have spent many sleepless nights wondering if your daughter is safe. You may have spent many days asking yourself why and how this happened Why did she turn to drugs? What did I miss? How can I help her now?
As a parent, it is important that you dont blame yourself, or your child, for this. Addiction is a disease, not a choice, and it can happen to anyone of any age, gender, or upbringing. Secondly, its important to know that you can make a difference. National research shows that parents have the greatest influence over their childrens propensity to use drugs. Parents also play a pivotal role in treatment and recovery.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse , family members are key in motivating a loved one to enter and stay in treatment. Family involvement in the recovery process can also strengthen and extend treatment benefits. Parents who are involved in their daughters recovery and who are supportive throughout the process can increase her chances at a successful future. The question now is, where do you begin?
Final tip: stop enabling.
Signs That Your Teen Or Young Adult May Be Addicted To Meth
There are several signs that you can look for if you suspect your child is using methamphetamines. Here are a few broad indicators:
- Erratic or aggressive behaviour
- Problems sleeping
- Weight loss
Of course, any of the above could also be attributed to other factors, and do not categorically point to an ice addiction. However, it is important to understand how ice works on the body. This is a strong stimulant, and its effects depend upon whether or not the user is currently on it.
When a person has recently smoked ice, they are likely to manifest a strong sense of euphoria. They will feel as if this is the world they were born to live in, and those close to them should be able to detect a difference. This is where the confidence and excitability come into play.
The effects of ice occur rapidly and can last a few hours, or even a whole day or longer, depending on the dosage and strength of the drug. Blood pressure will remain elevated, and sleep will not be an option until the effects wear off.
It is also worth noting that ice induces paranoia, hallucinations and even aggressively violent behaviour. There is a well-established connection between ice use and criminal behaviour. A user is likely to be prone to violent outbursts, which can also serve as a harrowing indicator to parents that their child may be addicted to meth.
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Parents Cannot Fix This On Their Own
This statement is regarding what I have written above. This is a problem only the person with addiction can fix. A concept such as this is very hard for a person like me to accept, because I try to fix everything. No one is allowed in the mind of a person with addiction, except for them. They are the only ones that can decide to change their lives, for better or for worse. This will not end until they decide to end it. Many times, parents try to make that decision for them and it only winds up resulting in more frustration and failure. What parents can do is encourage them to seek help or treatment, and let them arrive at the decision themselves.
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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‘we Wanted To Show Children Real Life’: Sesame Street’s Sonia Manzano
5. Help kids learn to deal with their emotions .
Wendy Berkshire, director of Camp Mariposa in Dayton, Ohio, says it’s important to help children name and regulate their emotions â and not assume they know how automatically. “We teach kids … when we keep our feelings inside and we don’t have an opportunity to share them in a safe place and with a safe person it becomes a part of the cycle of addiction.”
She listens to children talk about how they feel and then asks them what they can do about it. They suggest listening to music, journaling, deep breathing, go for a walk, taking a bath, shooting hoops and cuddling their dog. “They can’t control what’s going on in their life or their family but they have all the power to control themselves and their emotions,” says Berkshire. “And so we want to give them lifetime tools.”
6. Let kids be kids.
In families dealing with addiction, Collins says there’s a phenomenon that happens called ‘parentification’ where children start being caregivers rather than receiving care.
“You have children sometimes at the age of 8 or 10 where they’re cooking, they’re cleaning, they’re taking care of younger siblings,” says Collins. “And those responsibilities end up doing some of the damage to children because those are roles that typically are not held by children. They’ve not had the luxury to just be silly.”
Take Care Of Yourself
Its very easy to become consumed by your childs drug addiction. You may be constantly worried about them or trying to find ways to help them, and then your health and well-being suffer as a result. You absolutely have to come to a point where your personal needs are a priority, no matter how hard it is.
Of course, taking care of yourself doesnt mean living in denial. For parents of drug addicts coping often means pretending its not an issue or that its not happening. Thats bad for you, and its bad for your child and the rest of your family. When dealing with addiction you have to eliminate denial, and you have to empower yourself with knowledge.
At the same time, once youve recognized that youve done what you can for your child, particularly an adult child, you may have to take a step back from the relationship to take care of yourself. It can be incredibly helpful for parents of drug addicts coping with these problems to go to therapy on their own. This can help you learn ways to better communicate with your addict child, and how to alleviate some of the common feelings that can come along with having an addict child, such as guilt or intense sorrow.
You might also find a support group for parents of children with addiction problems.
Once youve done the steps above you should also make it a priority to grasp the fact that no matter what you do, in this situation you arent the rescuer, and you cant provide help to someone who isnt willing to accept it.
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Do Offer To Look For Support Services With Them
Your loved one will need emotional support in recovery, starting with yours. One way you can support them is to sit with them and research different treatment programs to see which options best suit their individual needs. Aside from the encouragement of their family and friends, their recovery network should consist of support groups where they can meet others whose lives have been impacted by addiction.
Dont Make Excuses Or Be An Enabler
Typically, in families with an addict, someone becomes an enabler to the addict. Sometimes its a sibling who is willing to cover things up or hand over money.
In many cases, the enabler is a parent. Enabling is detrimental to the recovery process.
More often than not, the enabler is in denial of whats right in front of them. They want to protect their child or loved one and hold on to them forever.
They get stuck in the path of denial or making excuses so much that they put the addict in danger by ignoring the facts. Denying things wont keep them as they are itll make them worse.
Dont make excuses about your son to friends and family either, especially when they can hear. Believe it or not, recognizing that they have an addiction is much more empowering than trying to cover it up. Addicts appreciate someone whos on their side and recognize the extent to which the disease afflicts them.
Making excuses for them or covering up their behavior and actions will only contribute to their feelings of shame and isolation.
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A Person With Addiction May Lie
A person with a substance use disorder may say anything to hide addiction, and may take any action to mask the problem. Perhaps they do not even realize they are lying, but are simply saying whatever they think a parent would want to hear.
I believe that children seek approval from their parents and look to give us pride. I also believe that many people struggling with addiction do not approve of what they are doing, but believe that they have no way out. If this is the case, their only mechanism for survival is to seek some kind of approval by saying what they think their parents want to hear, even if these things arent true.
So, when my son tells me he is not using substances, I really dont hear it. I tell him often, My eyes can hear much better than my ears. Just as we seek evidence of their using substances, we must seek evidence of their recovery. Do not rely on faith alone that they are not using substances, just because they have spoken those words. And when you do see them doing something positive for example, when theyre telling the truth give them positive reinforcement, even if its for something small.
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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How Is Addiction In Children Treated
Addictions can be difficult to treat. This is true for patients of any age. Physical addictions can alter a persons brain chemistry, depending on how long the abuse has been going on. Patients can also be resistant to treatment, feeling afraid or lacking the motivation it takes to change a behavior.
Most treatment for addictive behaviors is provided by psychologists, counselors, social workers, and other addiction specialists, as well as through specialized addiction treatment programs and clinics. These programs use a combination of motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioral strategies to help reduce the instances of use.
Q Why Is Marijuana So Popular With Kids
Just as important, though, is that kids say that it relaxes them. They claim its effective for stress and gets rid of their anxiety.
The anxiety factor is huge. Consider that, by conservative estimates, half of young people with addictions also have a mental health disorder. The research is clear on the intimate connection between chemical dependency and mental health problems. Of course, its often very difficult to tell which comes first: the drug use or the anxiety and depression. In the end, neither can be ignored.
A lot of kids who I work with at the Juvenile Justice Center tell me that they wake and bake, and use marijuana daily. I have a son who is in recovery, and in his case, marijuana was also his drug of choice. Im not sure that the reasons for smoking marijuana have changed all that much, but the motivation or desire to use seems to be intensifying. Kids are telling me that their lives are out of control. They feel extremely stressed out and anxious, and I think their problems are very, very real.
We also cant discount the pressure were putting on our children to succeed in the form of academic performance and athletics. Kids today experience enormous stress, and they crave, as we all do, peace and serenity. Drugs may promise peace, at least the first few times a person uses, but in the long run, they destroy any hope of peace and serenity.
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Prepare To Take Action If You Suspect Teen Or Young Adult Drug Use
If youve just discovered or have reason to believe your child is using nicotine, alcohol or drugs, the first thing to do is sit down and take a deep breath. We know this is scary, but youre in the right place. Take a beat and prepare for the important conversation ahead. Some brief preparation now can lay a foundation for more positive outcomes ahead.
References And Further Reading
ElSohly et al. Changes in Cannabis Potency over the Last Two Decades Analysis of Current Data in the United States. US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. .
Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug? National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health. .
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Why Is It So Important To Intervene In A Childs Substance Abuse
In our culture, substance abuse and public intoxication are frowned upon, yet at the same time, drinking alcohol and experimenting with drugs or alcohol are seen as rites of passage for young people. The parents of a high school boy who binge drinks on weekends might excuse his behavior by saying, Hes just sowing some wild oats. The overindulgent stepfather of a teenage girl who finds out that his stepdaughter is taking drugs might shrug and say, Shes just blowing off steam. School is stressful for her. These kinds of excuses may smooth over potential arguments in the short-term, but ultimately, they will only teach a child how to escape from stressful situations without accepting responsibility.
Intervening in drug or alcohol abuse is necessary for building accountability and also for protecting the brain in a sensitive developmental stage. Research on the development of the adolescent brain shows that heavy alcohol or marijuana use during the teenage years can have a negative impact on neurocognitive development, causing problems like:
- Difficulty retaining information
- Poor abstract reasoning skills
- Impaired decision-making abilities
Is Your Child On Drugs
If youre thinking you have nothing to worry about because the statistics show that the older age group is the one harming themselves think again. Below is a chart from Business Insider showing overdose deaths by age groups.
Wondering the question Is your child is on drugs? is something almost every parent asks themselves once children hit the teenage years. Despite what you may think, thats being a responsible parent. Because of the prevalence of drug use in todays society, every parent should be asking Is my child is on drugs? They should routinely do a search and type in drug addiction signs in children. Getting back to the chart, it shows that youngsters have one of the lowest rates of increased deaths, but thats still not good. It amounts to tens of thousands of children young lives that will never be developed.
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Q If Youre A Parent And You Smoked Marijuana As A Young Person Do You Have A Leg To Stand On When You Talk To Your Kids About It And Should You Lie About It If They Ask You
You have two legs! Marijuana was half as strong twenty years ago, and we know a lot more about its ill effects now. Personally, I would counsel honesty. Drugs are all about lying and dishonesty, after all, and if were going to get through to kids, honesty is vital.
Tell the truth, but tell how things have changed. Give them the facts. Marijuana is stronger than it used to be and we now have research that tells us about the frightening things it does to your personality and your performance in school, sports, and every area of your life. All the neurological wiring is laid down in adolescence for judgment, reason controlling impulses, empathy, compassion, flexibility, and all those more mature brain functions that help people grow into responsible adults.
You throw drugs into a developing brain and you stop emotional development cold, which is an important reason why it takes kids so long to recover from addiction. Think about it, most kids dont have their emotional skills built up and they have not developed the ability to build strong relationships and to make reasonable and rational decisions.
Id also tell parents, first, set aside your rationalizations. Dont argue that because alcohol and marijuana are legal that they are better than hard drugs. Dont make statements like, At least hes only smoking marijuana. Learn everything you can about alcohol, drugs, and drug addiction.