Parents of Addicts

Addiction can destroy the relationship between a parent and child. Parents may be angry and frustrated to learn that the life of a person they love so dearly is at risk. In turn, their child may lash out and act impulsively. 

The best way to offer help for parents of addicts is to encourage them to stay strong and get professional guidance. An addiction treatment facility can repair the broken bond between a family. Both a child and parent need support during the process of recovery. 

The Facts on Young Adults and Addiction 

Addiction is known as a family disease because it affects the person with a substance use disorder and their loved ones. What happens when a vulnerable, impressionable family member suffers from a substance use disorder? It can be even more painful to watch a child suffer from substance abuse. 

14 Statistics on Adolescent and Teen Drug Abuse Parents-of-Addicts-300x200

  1. Around 20 million Americans as young as 12 used an illegal drug during the 30 days before the data was collected. 
  2. Children who learn about the dangers of substance abuse from their parents are 50% less likely to develop an addiction than their peers who did not learn. 
  3. More teenagers are being admitted to addiction treatment centers for marijuana now than in the past. 
  4. Tobacco addiction usually develops when someone is an adolescent. 
  5. Around one in four adolescents (ages 13 to 15) worldwide admitted to drinking alcohol in the past month that the data was collected. 
  6. Boys ages 13 to 15 were more likely to use marijuana than girls in the same age group worldwide. 
  7. When adolescents use drugs, they are more likely to get an HIV infection. Around 2.2 million young adults (10 to 19) had HIV in 2010. 
  8. Around 2/3 of high schoolers tried alcohol by 12th grade. 
  9. Underage Americans consume about one-tenth of all alcohol. 
  10. Around half of American high schoolers have tried marijuana. 
  11. Approximately 20% of high school seniors abused prescription drugs. 
  12. About 40% of American high schoolers have smoked cigarettes at least once. 
  13. There was a 64% increase in 8th graders that used inhalants from 2016 to 2020. 
  14. The amount of 8th graders that vaped more than doubled from 2017 to 2019. 

When Addiction is a Cry for Help for Parents of Addicts 

Teaching young adults about the dangers of drug and alcohol addiction is one of the best ways to prevent it from happening. But, unfortunately, addiction can develop anyway, despite the best preventative efforts of parents. There are multiple reasons why children and teens turn to drugs and alcohol.

Firstly, adolescence is a time in life when individuals want to seem cool and fit in with their peers. They may feel pressured into drinking or smoking at a party. Secondly, they may struggle with their lack of independence. As a result, they lash out with substance abuse. Another reason is that they’re trying to self-medicate. About 17 million children suffer from a mental illness. Sadly, many of them turn to substance use in order to numb or escape from the undesirable effects of mental health disorders. This can lead to addiction in some cases.

The best advice for parents of addicts is to recognize the signs and symptoms before they get worse. Some of them include: 

  • Sneaking out
  • Acting strangely secretive 
  • Stealing money from parents 
  • Falling asleep at school constantly
  • Irregular sleeping and eating patterns 
  • They’re more angry and irritable than usual 
  • Ignoring responsibilities at home and school
  • A lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Stealing expensive items from their peers to fund an addiction
  • A disregard for their physical appearance and personal hygiene 
  • They start to hang out with bad influences and people much older than them 

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Of course, growing up is a strange period in a person’s life. So, these signs and symptoms could just be a sign of acting out. They want to be independent, but can’t because they’re not old enough for the responsibilities that come with it. However, these signs can also be indications of a substance use disorder. 

In any case, it’s worth having a discussion. Though obvious signs of drug and alcohol use need a stronger, direct approach. Many people have died from drugs and alcohol. Don’t let your child be one. Basic Intervention Help for Parents of Addicts 

It might be time for an intervention when a parent finds paraphernalia in their home. This also includes when a young adult comes back home clearly under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even finding a missing bottle of alcohol needs quick and serious action. 

Research suggests that the brain doesn’t fully develop until the age of 25. When a young adult does drugs and alcohol it can affect their developing mind. More than that, they might be just learning how to drive. Mixing substance abuse and driving can be deadly. An intervention can be the best form of help for parents of addicts. 

5 Basic Tips on Holding an Intervention For a Parent of Addict Sons and Daughters 

  1. Try to understand why they may use drugs and alcohol. They’re likely to shut down if you approach them angrily or aggressively. They may become defensive or apologize just to appease you. It’s better to understand their perspective to have a productive conversation about drug abuse. 
  2. Talk to them about why you’re worried and how they are hurting you. Once they understand where you’re coming from it’s easier for them to be accountable for their actions. Also, it prevents them from getting defensive. Try writing out what you want to say before you hold an intervention for your child. 
  3. Choose a time and place. Even better, let your child choose the time they want to talk. This makes it harder for them to come up with an excuse to cancel it. Make sure the place is somewhere that is comfortable and private. The best option is at home. Public places would be the worst option. 
  4. Never hit them. It’s not illegal for parents to hit their children. But violence is never the answer especially when it comes to solving a complex problem like substance abuse. Remain calm and openly talk about how addiction hurts everyone involved. 
  5. Invite loved ones. An intervention is best when a strong support network is involved. Friends, family members, and even teachers can band together to make a bigger impact. 

How To Get Help for Parents of Addicts 

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Here at North Jersey Recovery Center, we want to help parents of addicts. Sometimes an intervention isn’t enough to make your child take the dangers of substance abuse seriously. They may need professional help from an addiction treatment center. Medical professionals and trained staff at a detox center and rehab know how to help young adults suffering from addiction.

There are different addiction programs. One may suit you and your child better than another. There are several programs that every addiction treatment center typically has.

Drug and Alcohol Detox 

A detox protocol is the first and arguably most important step in recovery. During detoxification, a recovering addict will get rid of all traces of drugs and alcohol. This will eliminate any build-up of toxins in the process. This stage lasts a week on average. But it can last less or more time depending on the severity of the addiction. 

Inpatient Treatment Programs 

Most schools will work with parents and students when it comes to recovery. An inpatient treatment program may be the best option to get help for parents of addicts. Young adults in a program like this will live at the facility. This can be difficult for parents as they want to see their child and worry about progress. Yet, this is a powerful option for many. Residents at an addiction treatment facility can dedicate all of their time to getting better. 

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) and Partial Care Programs 

It’s not always possible for a child to leave home. Plus, your insurance may not cover an inpatient program. In that case, an IOP or partial care program might be a good alternative. They will spend almost the full day at the addiction treatment center but will go home at the end of the night. IOPs are usually more intense than partial care programs and require more time commitment.

Outpatient Treatment (OP) 

Outpatient programs involve therapy just like other programs. However, they are the least intense form of treatment. Young adults will be able to attend school and an OP at the same time. Therapy, like family therapy, is a staple in outpatient treatment for young adults. 

What Not To Do as a Parent of Addict Sons and Daughters 

The worst thing you can do as a parent of addict sons and daughters is enabling them. Take an active role in your child’s life and keep tabs on any destructive behaviors. If you think that your child has a drug or alcohol addiction then you need to take action quickly. 

Also, don’t act in a way that could make them turn away from you. It’s better to have an open and honest relationship with your child. They’re likely turning to drugs and alcohol for a reason. Addiction strains the relationship between a child and parent. Despite this, it’s essential to keep an open mind. You might be able to avoid a devastating situation by doing this. 

We Provide Help for Parents of Addicts in New Jersey 

At North Jersey Recovery Center, we help parents of addicts. Not every addict is a child, but every addict is someone’s child. Here at NJRC, we offer help for the parents of addicts as they work to assist their children and bring healing to their families. Please contact us now to see how we can help you and your loved one.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Laura Riley

Laura-Riley-Cropped-Profile-150x150Laura Riley, MA, LCADC, CCS is an Administrator with North Jersey Recovery Center.