How to Help Your Child with Addiction

Treatment Guru

When you have a child, you recognize that there’s an enormous amount of responsibility that comes with it. Most parents believe that every choice they make on their child’s behalf will play a role in the kind of adult their child becomes, and to an extent, they’re right.

When your child becomes an adult and starts making choices that are not in their best interests for a healthy, successful future, the burden that a parent feels can be overwhelming. Parents start to wonder where they went wrong, whether they disciplined their child correctly, and what their level of responsibility is.

If you’re the parent of an addicted child, you may want nothing more than for them to ask for help. Maybe they came to you out of the blue and confessed that they had a problem. Maybe you’ve been trying to nudge them toward asking for help for months or even years. Or maybe you’ve recently become aware that they have a problem and don’t know what to do next.

Acknowledge How Difficult It Was To Ask For Help

Admitting that you need help with drug or alcohol addiction is one of the most difficult steps a person can take. Addiction doesn’t just appear overnight — it’s a gradual process of losing control over an activity that the addicted person once had control over or even enjoyed.

As such, it can be very hard for an adult dealing with substance misuse to admit that they’re no longer in control of their own habits. No one likes to admit that they’ve let their habits get away from them. Additionally, there’s a strong stigma against addiction in much of society — many people incorrectly think that becoming addicted reflects some moral failing on behalf of the addict, when in fact addiction is better described a disease with genetic, environmental, and parental factors.

If your child comes to you for help or admits that they need help on your suggestion, acknowledge how brave they’re being. Give them credit for the vulnerability it took to admit they have a problem, and make it clear that you don’t think they are a bad person for becoming addicted in the first place.

Offer Your Emotional Support

After acknowledging how difficult it was for your child to ask for help at all, make it very clear to them that you’re available for emotional support. Recovering from addiction is an arduous physical process, but it can also be tremendously difficult emotionally.

Show your child that you care about them, that you want them to be healthy and happy, and that you’ll be there to support and encourage them. Having a source of emotional assistance can be a powerful motivator to seek and follow through with treatment.

Start Looking Into Addiction Rehab Centers Near You

At this point, you can start your search for a rehabilitation center. If your child came to you asking for help, it’s a good idea to look together to make sure you find the best fit. Looking for a rehab program together is also a powerful step for your child in admitting that they need help, rather than feeling forced into change by you, their parent.

Not every rehab program is a good fit for everyone. Each addict’s situation is unique, and it will be important to consider your child’s specific needs or co-occurring conditions when deciding where they should go. You’ll need to think about insurance coverage, location, reputation, and whether the facility has certain specializations when it comes to substances or other medical conditions.

Don’t Forget About Yourself

Addiction affects everyone close to the addicted person, from friends to siblings to you, their parent. Those effects can even go beyond the people in immediate contact with the addicted person, including your spouse or significant other.

Addiction support groups are available to help the spouses, parents, children, and siblings of addicted loved ones, and you might find it helpful to talk to people who are in a similar situation or have experienced it before. You can’t help your child if you burn out yourself, so make sure you’re getting the help you need as well.

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