Helping your Child get Addiction Treatment

Helping your Child get Addiction Treatment - (937) 404-3035

No one is exempt from losing a child to addiction. Good parents and so called bad parents have stood at the graveside of a beloved child and wondered what went wrong. Many of these parents did everything that they could to help their children. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the parenting manual that explains how parents can help their children get addiction treatment.

Too often the signs of addiction are explained away as typical teenage behavior. Fear of violating their children rights cause many parents to wait too long before confronting the issue head on. Many parents who suspect that their child may have a drug problem operate in a state of denial. A drug overdose is often the first time some parents come to grips with the extent of the problem.

In the 2011 Monitoring the Future Study released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse it indicated that although teens were smoking cigarettes and drinking less more were abusing marijuana and prescription drugs. Approximately 25% of children admitted to using drug while only about 4% of parents suspected that their child was doing so. The study showed that since 2010, abuse of opioids such as Vicodin, Adderall, Ritalin and OxyContin have remained steady the last five years. The most alarming statistic that's spiking parental concerns is those who abused these prescription drugs were 19 times more likely to transition to heroin. In fact, the study also found that eight out of ten people who eventually started using heroin abused painkillers first.

The worst thing a parent can do when they suspect or have evidence that their child is abusing drugs is to ignore the issue or try to keep it a secret from others. As Nora Volkow, Director of the NIDA explains drug addiction is a serious relapsing disease that can, in people that are vulnerable, lead them to complete loss of control with severe catastrophic consequences. As such, taking the right steps in a timely manner may help to stop the progression of the disease and actually save the child's life.

So how can parents help their children get treatment for addiction?

  1. Educate yourself about the signs and symptoms of addiction such as shifts in normal behavior patterns, extreme mood fluctuations, loss of interest in school, neglecting general hygiene and an increased tendency toward isolation and secrecy.
  2. Recognize that like adults, children use drugs for various reasons such as to fit in with their peers, deal with problems at school, get attention, to cope with conflicts at home, emotional pain or a mental disorder such as depression, among others.
  3. Contact a drug treatment or an addiction intervention specialist to find out the best way to address the problem and what your options are for getting your children the help they need.
  4. Understand your legal recourse as a parent with a child that is using drugs or alcohol.
  5. In a non-confrontational way, speak to your child about the problem. Be prepared for a negative reaction such as blatant denial, accusations of violation of their privacy or total shutdown. No matter what their reaction, it is extremely important that you remain calm. Choose a time when your child is sober and a safe environment where there are minimal distractions to talk to your child about the addiction. It is also important to avoid involving other siblings.
  6. Give your child the opportunity to express themselves without judgement or condemnation.
  7. Be prepared to offer some solutions such as information about recovery programs.
  8. Kids in addiction need to know that they have strong parental support. This is not the time to try to appease them by acting as if you are their friend. This means you may have to make decisions that they may not be receptive to at first.
  9. If you are unsuccessful in communicating with your child, call in a professional interventionist to help you address the problem. The most important thing to keep in mind is that substance abuse is a progressive disease but it only takes one bad drug experience to end their life.
  10. Until your child gets into a treatment program, offer healthy support but avoid enabling behavior that will perpetuate the addiction.

While being prepared is an important factor in addressing drug addiction, delay could be fatal. Also, it is important for parents to feel supported during this time so identify family support programs or others that can help you to stay strong through this phase of your lives.

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