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Discovering that your child is battling addiction brings a hopeless feeling. You might oscillate between disbelief and grief. The feeling of being helpless and utterly lost.  And for some there is a touch of parental guilt. “Is this my fault?” some ask. What to do if my child is addicted is complex. But there is hope. Parents call addiction treatment centers every day. This is a common path. The love a parent has for a child (yes, adult kids are still our child), can sometimes be the difference in helping their children find the path away from destruction. So if you want to know what to do if my child is addicted, here are a few steps to take.

Understanding the Addiction

On the surface, addiction may manifest through behaviors and physical signs. However, beneath these there is a relentless undercurrent that affects the brain’s very structure and function, leading to profound and lasting psychological impacts.

Scientific research has shed light on how addiction alters the brain’s reward system. Substances of abuse hijack this system, leading to an overemphasis on the substance’s value and a decreased ability to derive pleasure from other, healthier activities. It’s all your child can think about. It becomes a physical and psychological obsession.

Addiction and Mental Health

Addiction often coexists with mental health disorders. This comorbidity is not coincidental; substances may be used as a coping mechanism for underlying mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, or various others. The tough part is, drugs feel like they help. Your child is getting relief from mental health issues that plague them. But of course, drugs make mental health disorders worse.

This bidirectional relationship underscores the critical need for a nuanced understanding of addiction’s dangers, extending beyond physical health implications to encompass the profound psychological distress and disorder it can foster. And how to treat both at the same time.

The concept of dual diagnosis—where an individual simultaneously struggles with addiction and another mental health disorder—is more common than many realize. A significant proportion of those with substance use disorders also have symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.

2. Friends walking together in the city, smiling and enjoying each other's company, symbolizing support and connection in the context of 'What to Do If My Child Is Addicted'.

Step 1 – What to Do If My Child Is Addicted: Spotting the Signs of Addiction

Understanding the signs of addiction involves channeling your inner detective, but instead of seeking culpability, you’re gathering insights. Changes in behavior, such as withdrawing from family activities, noticeable shifts in mood or energy levels, and altered sleeping or eating patterns, are your clues. Here are some common signs that someone you love might have an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

  • Withdrawal from family and social activities: Increasing isolation and lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyed.
  • Noticeable shifts in mood or energy levels: Experiencing sudden and unexplained changes in mood, ranging from euphoria to depression.
  • Altered sleeping patterns: Insomnia, oversleeping, or other significant changes in sleep habits.
  • Changes in eating patterns: Significant weight loss or gain, or changes in appetite.
  • Unexplained bruises or injuries: Physical signs of accidents or self-neglect.
  • Neglect of personal hygiene: Decreased attention to cleanliness and personal appearance.
  • Secretive behavior: Being unusually secretive or lying about whereabouts and activities.
  • Financial problems: Unexplained lack of money, borrowing money frequently, or spending large amounts on substances.
  • Problems at work or school: Decreased performance, absenteeism, or loss of interest in work or academic commitments.
  • Changes in social circles: Associating with a new group of friends, especially if known to use substances.
  • Increased tolerance and withdrawal symptoms: Needing more of the substance to achieve the same effect or experiencing physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms when not using.
  • Continued use despite negative consequences: Using substances even when it causes problems in relationships, health, or daily functioning.

Step 2 – What to Do If My Child Is Addicted: The Pitfall of Enabling

Enabling might feel like helping, but it’s where good intentions pave the road to exacerbation. Covering up for missed commitments, providing money that could be spent on substances, or ignoring problematic behaviors might seem like acts of love, but they inadvertently fuel the addiction. It’s about setting boundaries that encourage responsibility without withdrawing support.

Step 3 – What to Do If My Child Is Addicted: Compassionate Intervention

Imagine you’re trying to help a cat stuck in a tree. It’s the same when wondering what to do when my child is addicted. You wouldn’t shake the tree or shout; you’d probably stand by, offering a reassuring presence until the cat feels safe enough to come down. This metaphor might stretch thin, but it’s not far from the truth when considering how to approach a loved one dealing with addiction.

Here are 4 possible conversation openers for drug addiction intervention for your adult child:

  1. Express Concern Without Judgment

“I’ve noticed some changes in your behavior and mood lately, and I’m genuinely worried about you. It seems like you’re going through a hard time, and I want you to know that I’m here for you, no matter what. How can we work together to address this?”

  1. Focus on the Relationship

“Our relationship means the world to me, and lately, I feel like we’ve been drifting apart. I believe some of it might be due to the struggles you’re facing. I love you and want to support you in finding help so we can heal together.”

  1. Use Specific Examples Without Blame

“I’ve noticed a few things that concern me, like [specific behavior]. I’m not bringing this up to blame or criticize you but to express my love and concern. I believe seeking help could be a positive step, and I’m here to support you through that process.”

  1. Offer to Seek Help Together

“I can only imagine how overwhelming this must feel, and it’s okay not to have all the answers right now. What if we explore some options for support together? I’ll be with you every step of the way, and we can figure this out as a team.”

Avoiding the Blame Game

For parents, it’s easy to fall into the trap of self-blame. “If I had only been more attentive,” or “Perhaps if I had done things differently,” are common refrains among parents. But addiction is complex, influenced by myriad factors beyond parental control, including genetics, environment, and individual psychology.

You will help your child the best when your focus is on support and healing, not on assigning blame.

The Role of EagleCrest Recovery Rehab in Arkansas

This is where EagleCrest Recovery steps into the narrative. We know the terrain of addiction inside and out. We offer comprehensive approach to treatment, addressing not just the addiction but its underlying causes, including any dual diagnoses. With a blend of therapy, medication management, and support groups, they tailor the recovery process to fit the individual needs of your adult child. Even more, we can talk you through this process.

Involving the Family in the Recovery Process

Recovery is not a solo journey. It’s a communal climb where each handhold and foothold matter. EagleCrest Recovery emphasizes the importance of involving the family in the treatment process. Call us today to find out more about how to get help for your child.

Remember, the journey might be challenging, but it’s a journey of hope, leading to a future where your child regains control over their life, and you, as a parent, stand by them, stronger and more connected than ever.