teenage son upset with his addicted parent

My Parent is an Addict: How Can I Help?

In a country where 1 in 15 adults over the age of 26 suffer from substance use disorder, it comes as little surprise that many children must watch their parents wither away as they continuously battle drugs and alcohol. With overdose rates rising and people dying every day, the sons and daughters of those who misuse drugs and alcohol have good reason to worry.

Even more worrisome, survey data indicates that only 12.1% of adults who require treatment for substance use disorder actually receive it. As mothers and fathers neglect to save themselves, the task of helping an addicted parent falls on the rest of the family. Fortunately, there are a few options that you may pursue when helping an addicted parent. The best option for you will vary depending on your age and resources, but the following should help you narrow it down to the best choice for helping your addicted father or mother.

Seeking Help within the Family

The first option you may consider is to ask another family member for help. Your addicted father or mother may not listen to one person they care about, but multiple loved ones coming to them with the same concern can be a real eye-opener. If there are family members or other trusted adults who might be willing to help, you should reach out to them as needed.

If nothing else, seeking support can provide you with the network you need to maintain your own emotional health. Helping an addicted parent is not easy, and can take a mental toll on the children who feel burdened by the very person who is supposed to be taking care of them. More importantly, the children of addicted parents are almost twice as likely to develop their own issues with substance use disorder. Children who grow up with addicted parents can be quite resilient, and the development of addiction is not a guaranteed outcome. Nonetheless, having a strong support network in your corner certainly cannot hurt.

One problem with seeking help within the family is that some family members might enable your parent’s addiction rather than urge them to seek help. Family members who typically engage in such behaviors as lying to your parent’s boss when they miss work, bailing them out of jail when they break the law, or just generally turning a blind eye to the problematic nature of your parent’s substance use will not be of much help. If your family often struggles with enabling, you may wish to look outside of the family for assistance.

Contacting an Interventionist

A formal intervention allows you to voice your concerns in a supportive tone while asserting the need for specialty addiction treatment. Some interventions take a bit of a tough love approach, in that the family members staging the intervention will propose consequences if their loved one refuses help.

When helping an addicted parent, you may not be able to propose much in the way of consequences. Unless you are older and they are living under your roof, your parent will likely not have anything that you can take away. The most you can do is tell them that you are prepared to cut them off emotionally if they do not seek help for their addiction.

No matter what the circumstances, you should consider seeking the help of a professional interventionist. By seeking professional intervention assistance, you raise your chances of success by involving someone with experience in the field of helping families get their loved ones into treatment. Your interventionist has dealt with other families such as yours, and they have fine-tuned the art of helping an addicted parent into something of a science. Younger sons and daughters should be aware that they may not be old enough to set up an intervention on their own, and will need the help of an adult if they wish to pursue this option.

Treatment Options for Your Parent

After asking the rest of the family to help you speak to your parent, whether directly or through a professional intervention, you will need to propose a treatment plan. In most cases, the best option will be dual diagnosis rehab. Assuming that your addicted father or mother has a history of denying help, there is a chance they may suffer from co-occurring mental and emotional disorders that have gone undiagnosed for some time. A dual diagnosis facility such as those managed by Aspire Health Network can help them get to the root of their addiction and treat the underlying causes rather than the symptoms alone.

Dual diagnosis facilities also treat those without co-occurring disorders, generally through a wide array of treatment options that range from science-based therapies to holistic treatments. Helping an addicted parent will be much easier at a facility that offers personalized programming to fit your parent’s particular personality traits, as well as the mental and behavioral manifestations of their addiction.

If you have any questions about treatment, intervention, or any other matters that pertain to helping an addicted parent, please feel free to contact us at any time. We will assist you in getting your loved one the help they need.