Discovering your child needs help with a substance use disorder is a situation no parent wants to experience. Substance abuse is devastating and can impact the whole family, no matter how old your child is. Doing whatever you can to help is likely a priority, but it can be difficult to know what approach to take. Learn more about how to help your drug-addicted son or daughter start a successful addiction recovery.

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Why Seeking Help for Your Drug-Addicted Son or Daughter Is Important

Alcohol and drug addictions can be extremely difficult to overcome without professional substance abuse treatment. They can cause various physical and psychological effects, including cognitive impairment, organ damage, and mental health issues. Alcohol and drug use can also impair your child’s judgment, resulting in legal trouble from reckless behaviors such as driving under the influence.

People with substance use disorders are also more likely to face traumatic situations, including homelessness or job loss. These consequences may seem overwhelming to deal with, but seeking help from addiction treatment professionals can provide your addicted child with the physical and emotional support they need to prevent these situations from occurring.

Parent hugging his child concept image for how to help your drug-addicted son or daughter

How Your Drug-Addicted Child Can Affect the Entire Family

Addiction doesn’t just affect substance users. It can also impact the physical and mental well-being of other family members. Some people may see their addicted relatives act or speak in a hurtful or unrecognizable manner, such as stealing money or running away from home, compared to how they were before using drugs or alcohol.

Many parents may also not hear from their son or daughter for extended periods of time, only to discover they’re living on the street or have been hospitalized due to severe symptoms or an overdose, which can cause high levels of stress and other mental health issues.

Steps to Take to Help Your Son or Daughter With Addiction

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the earlier a young person starts consuming a substance, the greater chance they have of developing a lifelong addiction. If your child is a drug addict, seeking help early can prevent the addiction from becoming dangerous or fatal.

However, it can be difficult to know how to act in the best interest of your child and other family members. There are a few steps parents can take to help their addicted daughter or son and protect their own well-being.

Holding a child's hand concept image for love and recovery from drug or alcohol addiction

1. Understand Addiction First

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction as a chronic disease characterized by compulsive drug use that’s hard to control, regardless of harmful consequences. There are several reasons a person may become addicted, including:

  • Mental health disorders
  • Family history of addiction
  • Lack of parental support or supervision
  • Abuse or trauma
  • Genetics

Some of the most commonly abused drugs include alcohol, cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, marijuana, and club drugs, such as ecstasy or Molly. Long-term drug use can result in brain changes that impact learning, judgment, decision-making, and memory. If you believe your child may be struggling with an addiction, common signs to look for include:

  • Loss of energy or motivation
  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Lying or getting defensive about consumption habits
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms

2. Approach Your Child With Support in Mind

It’s important to approach your child with compassion and understanding to create a safe and supportive environment. Evoking guilt or being openly frustrated may cause your loved one to withdraw or lash out in anger. Addiction is an illness that requires time and patience to recover from. Being judgment-free and proving you only want what’s best for your child can strengthen your relationship and may encourage them to be receptive to treatment.

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3. Seek Professional Help

Seeking professional help at a treatment center may be needed if your child’s drug use is affecting their everyday life. Addiction specialists can provide your child with resources that can help with managing withdrawal symptoms, learning healthier coping skills, and preventing relapse. Various treatment options are available, including:

The type of treatment will depend on the severity of your child’s addiction. Finding a treatment program that aligns with their needs is crucial for sustaining recovery.

4. Support Your Son or Daughter Throughout Recovery

Supporting your child and being involved in the treatment process can help them feel less alone and generate more positive outcomes. Set healthy boundaries to avoid enabling harmful behaviors, such as not allowing them to hang out with certain friends, tracking their location while they’re out, and prohibiting drug or alcohol use in the house.

Withstanding emotional manipulation is also a form of support. For example, if your child asks for money to buy something at the store, don’t give it to them. Instead, offer to go with them to purchase the item so they can’t use it to buy drugs.

5. Take Care of Yourself Too

As the mother or father of an addicted child, your feelings matter too. It’s important to practice self-care and develop coping strategies to utilize if caring for your child becomes overwhelming. There are several ways families of an addicted relative can get help, such as joining a support group or attending therapy. Having someone to talk to who understands what you’re going through is a valuable resource that can make the situation more manageable.

Happy family sitting together

Help Your Child Dealing With Addiction Change Course and Find Treatment

If you’re the parent of a drug-addicted son or daughter, help is available. Changing Tides in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, offers multiple addiction treatment programs, including PHP and outpatient rehab to help individuals successfully overcome their substance abuse. Call us today at (252) 715-3905 to learn more about our services and get your child the addiction treatment they need.

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