Drug addiction is a devastating disease, affecting millions of Americans on a daily basis. When you have an addicted son or daughter, it’s common to experience feelings of hopelessness and wondering what could have been done differently. Oftentimes, parents want to do everything in their power to help their addicted child, however, the wrong actions may worsen the situation. While you may feel helpless, there are plenty of ways to help a child struggling with addiction.
The following steps can be taken to help support your addicted son or daughter, however, it’s important to remember that you can’t force anyone to get help. You can express your concerns, stage an intervention, and do everything in your power, but at the end of the day, it is up to the individual to get help and be willing to try staying sober.
Learn About Addiction
The first step in helping your addicted son or daughter is to become educated on addiction. There are many ways to become knowledgeable about the causes and effects of addiction, including researching online by utilizing trusted sources. For example, you could use parent guides for addiction and alcoholism from government-funded websites. However, the best way to become educated on substance abuse includes speaking with a professional addiction expert.
When learning about addiction, you should understand the complexities of addiction, the physical and psychological symptoms, and how to find professional treatment. By obtaining this information, you will gain confidence and the skills needed to properly help your addicted son or daughter.
Listen and Support Your Addicted Son or Daughter
When talking with your son or daughter about their substance abuse, it’s vital that you focus on listening fully and remaining open. Also, you should allow your child the space to express feelings of anger, frustration, and fears. In many cases, young people begin abusing drugs due to peer pressure, psychological trauma, stressors from home or school, and even undiagnosed mental health conditions. You must be empathetic and give them a safe space to share their feelings. As a result, your child will remain open and honest with you about tough subjects such as addiction and drug abuse.
End Enabling Behaviors
Oftentimes, parents confuse support with enabling. This is because parents want to “fix” their son or daughter’s issues rather than allowing their child to grow and learn from their mistakes. In doing so, your child will not understand the consequences of their behavior, leading to worse problems in the future and continued substance abuse. Therefore, it is vital not to provide financial support during the course of their drug addiction. Additionally, you should not cover them if they experience issues at school or legal troubles related to their substance abuse. Instead, the support you provide should focus on helping your child become open to getting professional help.
Early Interventions for Addicted Children
Never wait for your son or daughter to hit their “bottom” before intervening. There is a common perception that addicts will not recover until they hit their bottom, however, this misconception is extremely dangerous. By waiting for your child to reach their bottom, they may experience severe trauma, adverse mental and physical health effects, and possibly overdosing on the substances they abuse.
To avoid this, early intervention is key. Your child should receive professional intervention as soon as the first signs of addiction become present. This will help get your son or daughter the treatment they need to avoid developing serious addiction-related physiological and psychological effects.
Take Care of Yourself First
Dealing with the effects of your son or daughter’s addiction may take a physical and mental toll on you and your family. In other words, addiction affects the whole family. The effects of substance abuse can cause serious stress and additional issues on the loved ones of the addicted individual. For example, prolonged stress may cause an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and even substance abuse. To decrease these risks, you should practice self-care while dealing with your addicted son or daughter.
Self-care includes eating healthy, exercising regularly, and engaging in positive activities that you and your family enjoy. When you practice self-care, you will find that you have a clearer mind and less intense anxiety, allowing you to become capable to assist your child.
Set Clear and Firm Boundaries With Your Addicted Child
It is important to set clear and firm boundaries to help protect yourself and your addicted son or daughter. These guidelines will help your child understand what behaviors are acceptable. Additionally, when setting boundaries, the whole family should be involved and come to a consensus. When boundaries are set in this manner, this gives the whole family a say in what’s acceptable and how bad behavior should be punished. These guidelines will not only help your children but they also better equip you to deal with unfortunate situations as they arise.
Finding Treatment for Your Addicted Son or Daughter
Dealing with a son or daughter who is addicted to drugs is extremely difficult and mentally exhausting for the whole family. While addiction is unpleasant to go through, there are many ways to overcome it. If your son or daughter struggles with substance abuse, there are many treatment programs available for them.
At New Jersey Interventions, we pride ourselves on providing families with early addiction interventions. If your son or daughter is in dire need of treatment and is not willing to accept it, we can help. Contact us today for more information on addiction intervention and treatment options.
Medically Reviewed: October 22, 2020
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.