It can be an extremely worrying and challenging time when family members are struggling with drug addiction. What can make this situation worse is when an addiction affects one of your close family members, such as a son or daughter. Parental instinct dictates that you might feel responsible for your child’s substance use disorder, but it is important that you approach the issue with compassion. Not only with your son’s addiction or your daughter’s substance abuse, but also with yourself.
Addiction is a disease that can affect anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, a drug addiction can take hold of anybody at any point in their life. Therefore, it is important to approach someone with a drug addiction in a certain manner. This article will tell you all you need to know about how to help a drug addict son or daughter.
Some background knowledge about drug addiction will help you understand what is going on with your drug-addicted son or daughter.
Over a decade ago, Marc-Antoine Crocq (2007) highlighted the way we deal with addiction as society shifts, and that culture, society, religion, beliefs, psychology, cognition, neurobiology, and genetics all shape the way we think about it. He states that these things shape whether or not we have an approach that punishes or treats someone struggling with drug addiction.
Even then, there is no resting equilibrium of unanimous beliefs. He says that even at the same time and in the same place, you can observe different attitudes toward addiction. For example, you might see people react differently to a homeless individual struggling with drug addiction when compared to a music artist with a drug problem.
What this means, is that you might be feeling a mixture of different things when dealing with a drug-addicted member of the family. Your own feelings can dictate the way you deal with them. It is important, however, to react in a careful and considered manner to ensure that you don’t make them feel any shame.
What Are the Common Signs of Drug Addiction?
If you are unsure exactly how to determine if your son or daughter is struggling with drug addiction, then there are some typical signs and symptoms that are present in most cases of it. These signs and symptoms are typically more behavioral than they are physical.
Behavioral signs of addiction
They can include:
- Prioritizing a substance over other important responsibilities
- A sudden change in social circle
- No longer attending social events with family and friends
- Encountering financial problems or asking for financial support
- Not being able to stop using a drug even if they want to
- Denial of addiction or hiding drug use
Physical Signs of Addiction
Depending on the drug used, the physical symptoms of drug addiction can vary. However, there are some tell-tale physical signs which can include:
- Sudden weight change
- Poor physical coordination
- Unkempt physical appearance
- Slurred speech
It might not be that your drug-addicted son or daughter is experiencing each and every one of these signs, but if these resonate with changes in your family member’s behavior, then it could be that they are dealing with an addiction. If this is the case, then it is important that you deal with them in an empathetic and understanding way.
If you think that a member of your family might be addicted to drugs, it is important that they receive professional help to combat their addiction. The individual involved is at risk of developing a health problem if they continue their drug use, whether that is from long-term drug use or from a medical emergency such as an overdose.
How to Deal with a Drug Addict Son or Daughter
Addiction is a disease. The National Institute on Drug Abuse considers it to be a brain disease, and the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) classifies addiction as a mental illness, named “Substance Use Disorder.” Therefore, you should treat an addicted son or daughter in the same way that you would treat someone with an illness.
Dealing with your daughter or son’s addiction does not only affect them. It is important that you ensure that you are looking after your own emotions when dealing with this issue. Looking after your own mental health is essential, and it could be that you also need to receive treatment. Most parents will only focus on the addicted son or daughter and forget that they themselves need support too.
While it is important to get involved with the addicted family member to some degree, it is also extremely important to set healthy boundaries to maintain a healthy relationship. You may want to set boundaries to make sure that their problems stay separate from your problems.
For instance, you might want to make it clear that you will not allow any of their drug-using friends to come into the house, or that you will not give them any more money. Whatever you think you need to do to establish boundaries, it is important that you do so.
There are also support groups available for you with other parents who are dealing with their own son or daughter’s substance abuse problems. Having mental health support will help you make time for the self-care you need to help you deal with your family member’s addiction.
I Have a Drug Addicted Son. How Can I Help Him?
As mentioned before, it is important to speak to your son in a compassionate and empathetic way. Being a source of support will be much more effective in combating their addiction than being a source of shame or guilt. You can help them browse rehab centers to find treatment facilities that work for them.
If you have an adult son, then you could inform them of some treatment programs or drug rehab centers to aid them in their recovery journey. If they do not respond well to this conversation, then professional interventionists are always available to try and get them to see why they need to go to a rehab center.
You may be relieved to hear that there is a large number of addiction treatment services. One treatment facility can offer very different things from another treatment facility. This means that the individual suffering from addiction can find an addiction treatment that fits their individual needs.
Drug Addiction Treatment
Addiction works by recurring patterns of thoughts and behaviors. A persistent mental health problem can lead to relapse once an individual leaves a rehab center, which would be devastating for many parents. That is why most addiction treatment services will provide a mental health treatment program alongside any drug detox.
Sometimes, the recovery process will involve both behavioral therapy to address any co-occurring mental health disorders and medication to limit any unwanted side effects of coming off of a drug.
As mentioned earlier, almost all addiction recovery centers will involve some form of behavioral therapy. The most common of which are:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – involves tracing patterns of thoughts to change behaviors
- Contingency management (CM) – involves a reward system, in which abstinence is rewarded
- Support groups
Behavioral therapy will most often take place alongside a detox. Sometimes a detox will involve the use of other medications, known as medical detox.
Some drugs have unpleasant and sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms. These are effects that an individual will experience when coming off a drug. Sometimes, in substance abuse treatment, a licensed professional will prescribe medications that combat these effects.
The detox drugs that they use may either combat cravings or ensure that the individual doesn’t experience a seizure during the detox. Therefore it is very important to tell the doctor exactly how much of what the individual has been taking, and for how long they have been taking it.
Whatever treatment programs you come across, and whatever substance your son or daughter is struggling with, it is very easy to find professional care that can provide them with long-term recovery.
Treatment and Insurance
At Cirque Lodge, we understand that insurance benefits those who might not be able to obtain treatment. That is why we will work with your insurance provider to make sure that your son or daughter gets the treatment that they deserve.
It could be the case that your insurance coverage does not cover all aspects of our treatment program. If that happens, then we are more than happy to work with you to determine whether total or partial coverage is possible with your insurance provider to make the admissions process as smooth as possible.
Where Can I Find Effective Treatment Programs?
It could be that your son or daughter is struggling with alcohol abuse or any other substance abuse. Whatever the problem, you can find a treatment that suits your child’s personal needs.
At Cirque Lodge, we offer addiction recovery treatment on an inpatient basis. This means that your child is able to leave the things that might be reinforcing their cycles of addiction, and put all of their efforts into their recovery journey. Our beautiful and serene treatment facilities, located in the Rocky Mountains of Utah, provide relaxing environments for them to allow for the self-care they need to put an end to their substance use.
Call us today on 801 618 4792 or contact us here to begin your son or daughter’s journey to long-lasting recovery, and leave those days of drug abuse behind them.