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Parents of Addicts: How to Deal with a Child Suffering From Addiction

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parents of addicts talking to a therapistAs a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that your children are free from illness and safe. Teen addiction is challenging for the person struggling and those surrounding the parents must make themselves aware of substance addiction. To ensure that you are being an effective caregiver, it’s paramount that you seek help during this challenging time.

Parents with children addicted to substances experience anger, guilt, and sadness. Therefore, support for parents of addicts is crucial. Some parents struggle with suicidal ideation, self-blame, and self-destructive behavior. 

Several individuals have difficulties understanding how or why other people become addicted to drugs. Mistakenly, they might think that people who engage in drug use lack willpower or moral principles and that they could stop the drug use simply by choice. In actual reality, drug addiction is a complex disease.

Quitting a drug usually takes more than strong will or good intentions. It’s essential to understand that drug use can alter a teen’s brain in various ways that make quitting difficult, even for those who want to quit. On the bright side, there is help for children and their parents. You are not alone in this struggle.

What Is Addiction? 

parents of addicts deciding next steps in getting substance abuse treatment for their teenAddiction is a disease distinguished by drug use and seeking that is challenging to control, and compulsive, despite dangerous consequences. Initially, the first decision to engage in drug use is optional for most people. However, repeated use ends up leading to various changes that can question an addicted individual’s self-control. 

In addition, it can interfere with the ability to resist severe urges to take drugs. These brain changes can be continuous, which is why drug addiction is considered a “relapsing” disease. Individuals in recovery from drug use disorders are more at an increased risk of returning to drug use even after years of not engaging in taking the drug. 

It’s common for individuals to relapse, but it’s important to remember that relapse doesn’t mean the treatment doesn’t work. With other chronic health conditions, treatment should be continued and adjusted based on how the client responds. Treatment programs need to be reviewed and adjusted to fit the client’s changing needs. 

There isn’t a single factor that will determine if an individual will become addicted to drugs. A combination of factors can influence the risk for addiction. The more risks an individual has, the greater the chances that taking drugs can lead to addiction. 

For example, the following factors can determine if a person will become addicted:

Development

Environmental and genetic factors interact with crucial developmental stages in an individual’s life to affect addiction risk. Even though taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier the drug abuse occurs, the more likely, it’ll progress into an addiction. Generally, this is more problematic in teenagers because their brains that control judgment, self-control, and decision-making are still developing. 

Environment 

An individual’s environment includes various influences, from family and friends to quality of life and economic status. The factors include the following: 

  • Sexual and physical abuse
  • Early exposure to drugs
  • Parental guidance
  • Peer pressure

The above influences can affect an individual’s likelihood of drug use and addiction. 

Biology

The genes that individuals are born with can account for about half of an individual’s risk for addiction. Ethnicity, gender, and the presence of various other mental disorders might influence the risk for drug use and addiction. 

Signs and Symptoms of Substance Addiction

  • Spending a large amount of time getting the drug, using it, or recovering from the effects of the drug
  • Not meeting work responsibilities/obligations, or cutting back on recreational or social activities and other hobbies
  • Continuing to use the drug, even though you’re aware that it’s causing psychological or physical problems in your life
  • Taking larger amounts of the drug over a longer period than intended
  • Feeling that you have to utilize the drug daily or regularly, even several times a day
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking the drug
  • Driving or doing various other risky activities when you’re under the influence
  • Doing things to get the drug that you normally wouldn’t do, such as stealing
  • Having intense urges for the drug that blocks out any other thoughts
  • Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect 
  • Spending money on the drug, even if you can’t afford it
  • Make sure that you maintain the supply of the drug
  • Failing in your attempt to stop using the drug

Statistics on Children/Teens Who Struggle With Substance Abuse

Alcohol is considered one of the most commonly used substances in the United States. There is data from numerous national surveys that document the use of alcohol among young adults. According to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Study, it was discovered the following among the high school students during the past 30 days:

  • 17% of the students rode with a driver who was drinking alcohol.
  • 5% of the drivers drove after drinking alcohol. 
  • 29% drank alcohol.
  • 14% binge drank.

Overall, the rates of current and binge drinking among high school students have been declining in recent decades. Even though males historically had higher rates in 2019, the female high school students were more likely to binge drink and drink alcohol than the male high school students. The other national surveys discovered the following information:

  • 9% reported binge drinking in the past 30 days and 16% of young individuals aged 12 to 20 reported drinking alcohol.
  • 26% of 12th-grade and 7% of 8th-grade students reported drinking alcohol during the past 30 days.
  • 12% of 12th-grade students and 3% of 8th-grade students reported binge drinking during the past two weeks. 

Studies have shown a relationship between the drinking behaviors of adult relatives, underage drinking behaviors, adults in the same state and community, and adults in the same household. There is a relationship between adult and youth drinking, including binge drinking, in communities and states.

 “There was a 5% increase in binge drinking among adults in a community that was associated with a 12% increase in the chance of underage drinking.” Furthermore, among adolescents whose peers engage in drinking alcohol, those who have parents who binge drink are more likely to engage in alcohol use than those whose parents don’t.

Parent's Intervention to Help Their Child Stop Abusing Substances

Parents can intervene and help children stop abusingparents with addicted teens talking to a psychologist about addiction treatment options substances in various ways. Since the family remains a huge part of the primary source of nurture, attachment, and socialization for humans, it’s crucial. When it comes to children, there lies an increased risk of developing a substance use disorder. 

There is great importance in treating the child struggling with addiction in the context of their family environment. Therefore, involving the family of the child addicted is paramount. When the family dynamics are overlooked, so are opportunities for the adolescent addicted to growing. 

So by incorporating the utilization of evidence-based family approaches, improvement is at reach. It’s vital to understand that the effects of a substance use disorder (SUD) are experienced by the entire family. The family systems theory and attachment theory are theoretical models that can provide a foundation for understanding how SUDS affect everyone. 

In addition, understanding the current development stage that a family is in assists in the determination of appropriate interventions and further assessment. SUDs negatively affect behavioral and emotional patterns from day one, and they can result in poor outcomes. Therefore, it’s key to not leave any part of the family untreated, because it is great to support the addict.

A child’s addiction marks back to their childhood. Attachment theory maps out an understanding of the quality and development of the relationships between family members. Generally, the primary relationship that serves as a template for other relationships is through the mother. So, it is through this relationship that the child responds to their environment.

Generally, a child will respond by cooing, rooting, crying, and clinging. The route the caregiver takes in responding to these cues establishes the quality of the attachment through secure or insecure attachment. 

How to Prepare and Stage an Intervention

There are various ways parents can go about getting their children the help they need. Before staging an intervention, the parent must speak to their child first. 

  1. Talk honestly and openly with your child about their addiction. Explain that addiction is a disease and it is not their fault. 
  2. Express compassion for your child struggling with addiction. Explain that you still love them and want to help them.
  3. Ask your child if they are willing to seek treatment for their addiction. Let them know that you will be there for them. 
  4. Ask your child to stop engaging in drug use. Let them know that you will do everything to keep them from harming themselves. 
  5. It’s essential to ensure support for parents of addicts. When parents of addicts are feeling overwhelmed, friends and family members are needed to provide relief. Help for parents of addicts is crucial.

Parents of addicts should also contact their child’s closest friends to inform them of telling their parents about their drug use. Parents of addicts mustn’t attend the intervention alone.

Below are the several things to remember during an intervention:

  1. Ensure that everyone is on time.
  2. Choose a neutral place to stage the intervention. 
  3. Present the evidence of the substance abuse.
  4. Use “I” statements to explain how their substance abuse has affected you.
  5. Create a treatment plan of action. Even offer to transport them there.
  6. Educate yourself on substance abuse, including statistics and facts.
  7. Only include close family members and friends.
  8. Craft up options if the child refuses treatment.

Substance Abuse Treatment for Children Struggling With Substance Abuse 

The continuum of care provides support for parents of addicts and great resources. Research the various types of treatment programs. The treatment options will depend on the following factors: 

  • Co-occurring mental health disorders
  • The severity of addiction 
  • The time since last used
  • Duration of use

The treatment options are:

  • Psychotherapy – One of the most efficient forms of addiction treatment is psychotherapy. It explores the parent’s and child’s feelings about addiction and resolves issues surrounding substance abuse. Both individual and group therapy are beneficial. 
  • Residential treatment – Residential or inpatient treatment is addiction treatment where the addict lives at the treatment facility full-time. This is an option for parents of addicts who aren’t able to watch their children during treatment. Inpatient treatment is also ideal for parents of addicts whose children have relapsed after outpatient treatment.
  • Outpatient treatment Outpatient treatment allows the addicts to live at home and attend the treatment facility for therapy sessions. Seek therapy for support for parents of addicts. 

Help for Parents of Addicts Awaits at Casco Bay Today

Here at Caso Bay, we understand how difficult it is for a child suffering from addiction. Both the child and parents of addicts need healing to get past this obstacle. Finding the right resources for addiction treatment support are crucial to finding a sufficient path to recovery. 

 You are not alone. Contact us today.