Life comes with a lot of choices. We choose who we surround ourselves with, our careers, what we eat, what we wear, and so forth. We have control over most of the things in our lives, but there is one thing that we absolutely have no control over and that is who our parents are. So what happens when one or both of your parents develop a substance use disorder? How can you help them? Our team at Crest View Recovery Center is here to provide assistance and guidance on how to navigate this difficult situation.
A Guide for Children of Addicts: Understanding Addiction
When trying to understand why your mom or dad has developed alcoholism or drug dependence, it is important that you know it is something you can’t treat on your own. Their actions and choices are determined by their own thoughts and feelings. Also, although they may use you as an excuse and blame you, always remember that it is not your fault.
It honestly isn’t your parent’s fault either. They can become addicted based on the types of genes they carry, so a lot of what determines their addiction is out of their control. Because of this, they may not even realize what they’re doing is affecting not only themselves but also others around them.
Addiction is a disease. It’s not something other people can cause and it’s not something people can simply end. It takes time and medical treatment to help people to overcome substance abuse in their lives.
In this article, we will provide you the information to understand what factors influence your parent’s addiction and how you can help them seek treatment for their disorder.
What Factors Can Determine Addiction?
Our genes have a heavy influence on who we are as people. They decide physical traits like our hair and eye color, how tall we are and what body type we have. They also can be a large part of our emotional and psychological development. They’re not entirely responsible, but our genes can determine our likes and dislikes for an array of things and how we deal with certain situations.
Because of this, they also have an influence on how likely we are to develop disorders like substance addiction. Often, addiction disorders develop because of a gene that is spread throughout generations. If a mother or father had family members or they themselves struggled with addiction, they can pass this trait onto their children.
Because this is something we have no control over, this could be why your mom or dad may be struggling to overcome their addiction.
Addiction Signs to Watch Out For
Your parents can become very good at hiding the signs of their addiction from trial and error experiences. Also, they can learn how to “act normal” in situations even if they are under the influence. Although most of the signs of addiction are apparent, there are others that you have to look closely for in order to spot them.
Some of the physical signs of addiction you should be aware of are:
- Large pupils
- Bloodshot eyes
- Body odor that they did not have before
- Poor physical coordination
- Weight gain or weight loss that has come out of nowhere
- Changes in their appearance like a sunken in face or dark circles that are always apparent
Some behavioral signs you can also watch out for are:
- Mood swings and reactions to situations that are low stress
- Disregard of negative thoughts and feelings towards themselves and others
- Lack of control in regards to consuming the substance
- Avoiding talking about addiction and denying that there is a problem
Children and Parents: Role Reversal
Mothers and fathers are supposed to be people you can rely on and talk to about your problems and goals. They are also supposed to be the ones to financially support you and take of your needs before you become independent. When a parent has a substance abuse problem, these responsibilities can often fall on you, the child, to take care of. You are the one emotionally supporting your parents and taking care of the house while also wondering how you’re going to buy food, clothes and get to school on time.
This is a heavy burden for someone at such a young age to take on, and it’s devastating watching the person you love make harmful choices. There are times when you probably don’t know if you can continue you on much longer. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel if you believe you can help your parent overcome their addiction.
Break the Cycle
Watching your parent or parents suffer from a substance problem may cause you to want to follow in the same footsteps because it’s all you’ve ever known. You may also be scared of helping your parent recover from their addiction because you don’t know if you’ll be put into someone else’s care and never see them again. This is often due to how you’ve been told society views addiction, which is why it’s so easy to fall into the same pattern and continue the cycle of substance abuse.
Since most of society has a misled view of what addiction really is, a lot of children of addicts avoid asking for help for their parents. This is due to people believing that addicts have a choice on whether to continue abusing the substance they’re addicted to. At Crest View Recovery Center, we want to help end the stigma against substance abuse and prevent it from continuing on to the next generation. Our team wants to help more people become aware that receiving professional help for a disorder is okay.
How to Confront Your Parent About Their Addiction
When deciding how to confront your parent about their addiction, it may feel like an impossible task. You might feel like you’re breaking the trust between you two, or you might be scared about the reaction they will have. It is normal to feel powerless in this situation because you don’t know how to make someone who is “supposed to know better than you” understand that what he or she is doing to themselves and to your relationship is harmful. In order to make them understand the severity of the situation, you can always seek help from others.
If you have family members who are also concerned about your parent’s addiction, ask them for help with an intervention. You can all get together and plan out how you are going to face the problem of your mom or dad’s addiction as a family. If you don’t have other family members to turn to, reach out to a trusted adult like a coach or a teacher. Even though they don’t know your parents as well as you do, they can help you map out a plan of action and even accompany you to the intervention.
When all else fails, you can contact a rehabilitation center like ours at Crest View Recovery Center to ask for advice and even have an intervention specialist assist you. We are here to help in any way we can to kick start your parent’s recovery.
The First Step Towards Your Parents’ Recovery
After getting your parent or parents to agree to treatment, the first step towards a complete recovery will be a medical detoxification from the substance they have been abusing. Detoxification is a term that means to slowly rid their body of the addicted substance whether it is alcohol or a type of drug. During their detox process, they may also be put on medication to numb the withdrawal symptoms they will face.
After detox has been completed, they will sit down with some of our team members to decide what type of therapy will be the most beneficial to aiding in their recovery. They will then be assigned to either inpatient or outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment is around the clock and is conducted through our trusted partner DreamLife Recovery, and outpatient treatment is where they will be able to keep up a somewhat “normal” schedule while attending their therapy sessions. The amount of time this can take will be determined by the severity of their addiction and the substance they are addicted to.
Although it is beneficial for your parent to have time away from you to complete their treatment, it is also equally as helpful to provide support within family therapy. We believe a large part of relapse prevention is providing your parent with someone to lean on throughout their journey, and that can be you if you choose it to be.
Why Helping Your Parent is Important
When your mom or dad chooses to abuse a substance, they are ultimately taking days off of their life. Why continue to watch this happen without seeking help and taking action? Our staff at Crest View is trained to give you all the necessary guidance and assistance to break your parents of their cycle of substance abuse and allows you to have as much time as possible with them.
Our goal as a treatment center is to provide you with every tool necessary to help your parent recover from their addiction. We hope to assist you in every step of the process so that it is easy and takes the strain off of what you as the child of an addict is constantly going through. Contact us today and we will set you up with one of our specialists to go over your parent’s treatment options.