How to Help Your Addicted Child
For many years now, we have acknowledged drug and alcohol addiction to be real problems among adults. However, things have changed over the years. It seems that nowadays, it is not uncommon to see teenagers and young adults falling in the hands of addiction as well. This article aims to show you how to help your addicted child and loved ones.
This is why we felt the need to inform every desperate parent out there about the signs of drug use that they need to keep an eye out for as well as offer some tips that will help them to talk to their child in case they are struggling with a known addiction.
Why addicts choose drugs over love?
Over the years, there have been many individuals that have found themselves to be in a relationship with an addict. No matter whether or not they have known this information from the beginning of the relationship, or they have discovered their partner being an addict later as their relationship has progressed, in most cases, these relationships are predisposed to fail.
There is only one relationship that matters to the addict – their relationship with the substance of their choice, whether that is alcohol or drugs. And it is because of this relationship that they are unable to engage in any other one, including an intimate relationship with a partner, or even a relationship with their family members or friends.
From the moment that the user becomes a true addict, they will only see any relationship that they may have had to that point, as a source of something that will help their addiction. This is why it is not uncommon to see addicts stealing money or even things from their family, friends, and partners in order to sell them to get money for drugs.
And you cannot really blame them, because what we are talking about here are individuals who, somewhere on the path of life, have lost control over their bodies. Addiction changes your brain chemistry. Now, they are slaves to the substance of their choice. This is a sad reality that most parents have to face. Otherwise enabling behavior can happen. However, we do not want you to lose hope. This behavior is all to common, but recovery from addiction is possible!
Most common drugs used by adult children and teens
While alcohol and Marijuana are the most commonly used substances that lead to addiction in teenagers and young adults, more often, we see cases in which they also abuse harder illegal drugs as well. For teenagers, statistics show that it is an inhalant substances such as pens, glue, and fumes of household cleaners that they often choos to experiment with.
Marijuana use is particularly common, with around 6.6% of the 8th, 18.4% of the 10th, and 22.3% of the 12th graders have reported being using marijuana. This is a popular choice of the drug since it is possible for teenagers to obtain this drug easily in high school and is now legal for recreational use in many states .
An estimated 20% of teenagers have abused prescription drugs. Once again, this is a popular choice since these drugs are easily found in every household. There is also the problem of the so-called pharming parties where teenagers bring different prescription drugs that they have found at their home to share and exchange with the others.
Teenagers often abuse Xanax, Vicodin, Valium, and Oxycodone, with many of them abusing these drugs in combination with alcohol. Adderall and Ritalin, attention-deficit hyperactivity drugs (ADHD) are also commonly abused as well. And while many teens use alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana as a way to fit in with the others, many of them abuse Adderall and Ritalin in order to enhance their athletic or academic performance. Unfortunately, although less commonly, heroin and cocaine too, are often abused by teens. Again, many of them mixing cocaine with alcohol as a way to allow themselves to drink more, according to a study published in 2009.
Signs of drug use in teens and young adults
In the following, we will list the common signs of drug use seen in teenagers and young adults. We hope that this information will help every parent out there to recognize an existing addiction in their child during the early stages and ask for help as soon as possible.
- Poor academic performance;
- Aggressive behavior;
- Isolation from friends and family;
- Unexplained disappearances for a long period of time;
- Missing school for no apparent reason;
- Memory problems;
- Changes in sleep pattern;
- Poor concentration;
- Low energy levels;
- Slurred speech;
Frequent mood swings, etc.
How to talk to your child about addiction treatment
Once you recognize that your child is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, it is very important to talk to them as soon as possible about the possibility of getting proper treatment. Living with an addiction is not a sustainable possibility for anyone, and everyone deserves support and proper medical care in this time period.
It is very important to be patient and honest with your child at times like these. You will quickly discover that it will not be the easiest thing to do, especially considering that an addict does not look like anything with the person that you have known and loved until then. Many of their words and actions will offend you, but this is not the time to turn your back to the person that is counting on you for help, although they are not aware of that.
Holding an intervention may be the best option. That way, you can gather a group of family members and friends that can talk directly to the addict and tell them how his/her addiction has affected them. They can offer words of kindness and support that every addict needs when making the decision to go and get treated.
It will help to make it clear that what they are struggling with now is a disease, and like any other disease, this one has to be treated as well in order for any potential complications to be prevented. Let your child know that you are not mad at him/her, and you will still be here for them throughout this difficult journey that they are, hopefully, about to make. You can also talk to your child together with a proper psychologist or addiction specialist like our very own, Dr. B, that can help you choose the right words and methods of action at a time like this.