Addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic, relapsing neurological disorder. An individual that struggles with addiction will prioritize satisfying his or her drug cravings above all else. This can wreak havoc in all facets of one’s life, causing a plethora of adverse effects, including physiological complications, relationship fractures, financial strain, legal challenges, employment issues, and more. Nearly 20 million individuals and their families are affected by substance use disorder every year. As a parent of an adult child struggling with addiction, you may feel helpless and unsure of how to offer meaningful support. Psychology Today provides various suggestions for parents to help an adult child with substance use disorder, some of which include the following:
- Do not be an enabler: According to Healthline, “the term ‘enabler’ generally describes someone whose behavior allows a loved one to continue self-destructive patterns of behavior.” Enabling is meant as a well-intentioned means to protect one’s child by allowing them to engage in substance-abusing behaviors that are irresponsible, destructive, inappropriate, and/ or dangerous. For example, covering for your child when they arrive late to a commitment (or does not show up at all) by lying or excusing this behavior is essentially enabling them to continue to prioritize drinking and/ or abusing drugs, and inadvertently helps him or her avoid experiencing the natural consequences of his or her actions. This can perpetuate destructive substance-abusing behaviors and prolong your child’s untreated addiction.
- Consider an intervention: The purpose of holding an intervention is to help your child realize that they need treatment in a respectful, empowering, and effective way. An intervention offers a platform for your child’s family members and loved one’s to present and share how their substance-abusing behaviors have negatively impacted their lives, respectively, in hopes that your child will agree to begin treatment.
- Allow them to make amends: Addiction compels people to say and do things that are out of character yet extremely hurtful. Part of the recovery process is mending relationships. As a parent, it is helpful to let your child know that you understand their actions were motivated by the disease, forgive them for their past mistakes, and offer them a clean slate to move forward.
It is important to be mindful of the fact that addiction does not develop overnight, nor will recovery from substance use disorder occur instantaneously. Even though your child is grown, there are many ways you can help your child move towards accepting treatment and offer continued support throughout their recovery process.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long-lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.