There is little more terrifying, overwhelming or frustrating than watching a child become addicted to alcohol or drugs. But you don’t have to feel powerless. At 12 Keys Rehab, we help people every day who have become physically and psychologically addicted to alcohol, painkillers, stimulants, designer drugs, sedatives, psychedelics and more — and we can help your loved one, too. Educate yourself about substance abuse, and let us help your child find a path to freedom from addiction, starting now.
Making a clearheaded judgment about a child’s need for substance abuse treatment is more difficult than one might imagine. Some parents may deny or brush off signs of abuse because they may abuse drugs or alcohol themselves, or they may have abused alcohol or drugs during their youth. Others may jump to conclusions and assume that a one-time use of alcohol or drugs automatically means treatment is necessary. At 12 Keys Rehab, we can help you figure out if treatment is a suitable option for your child.
- The behavioral signs of addiction: Children, especially teenage children, are often secretive about their activities. If substance abuse has become a problem, you may notice your child disappearing frequently, hanging out with a new crowd or forsaking once-loved activities to use drugs or alcohol. These behaviors — plus constant lying, demands for money, and increasing problems in school — may indicate a problem with substance abuse and a need for professional help.
- The physical signs of addiction: Changes in weight, poor hygiene, dental problems, poor skin quality, sores and needle marks are all signs of serious damage caused by addiction. Also, certain drugs cause certain side effects. For example, people who are addicted to opiates such as heroin and Vicodin can often fall asleep even in the middle of a conversation. Stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamines — including attention medicine — and crystal meth cause heart damage. Constipation, cramping and nausea are more physical signs of addiction.
- The psychological signs of addiction: Sudden and drastic changes in mood — such as periods of happiness or excitability followed by intense anxiety, irritability or depression, all indicate substance abuse.
- Other evidences of addiction: Empty bottles or containers (including household chemicals), small plastic bags, lighters, rolling papers, pipes or bongs, vaporizers, eye drops, mouthwash or breath spray, spoons and hypodermic needles all indicate substance abuse. Even if you think your child is too young to abuse drugs, don’t ignore the signs — kids as young as 12 and 13 have died from inhaling household chemical fumes.
Confronting Your Child About Addiction Through Conversation and Intervention
Once you have confirmed that substance abuse is a problem, your next step is to confront your child and reach out for help. All people, even children, who are addicted to alcohol or drugs are usually in denial. Your child may become angry and defensive. Keep in mind, however, that many people addicted to drugs and alcohol point to a family’s concern as an important motivating factor when getting sober. As a result:
- Gently confront your child using active listening techniques
- State your knowledge clearly and without backing down. You know your child is addicted, and nothing he or she says will convince you otherwise
- Tell your child that you will provide the necessary support in the event he or she decides to seek treatment, if you plan to do so. If you are unable to provide assistance personally, promise to help your child find suitable help
- Tell your child that if he or she does not seek treatment immediately, then you plan to arrange an intervention
Arranging an Intervention
If your own pleas pass unheeded, consider arranging a professional intervention. Our professional interventionist will plan and lead a meeting where people close to your child confront him or her about the damage caused by substance abuse. Each will identify consequences that will occur should your child refuse immediate treatment, as well as a promise to provide loyal support in the event inpatient care is chosen. You should be prepared for your child to depart for treatment immediately following the intervention; unfortunately, not all interventions work as planned. As a result, all intervention participants should be prepared to implement the consequences identified during the intervention.
Getting Help for Yourself
If you are the parent of a child addicted to alcohol or drugs, the time to get help is now. More than ever before, your addicted child needs you to make clearheaded decisions and take care of your own needs. Setting boundaries and continuing to convince your child to seek substance abuse treatment will help you manage this incredibly difficult time, and it may lead to your child finding sobriety once and for all.
Call 12 Keys Rehab now and find your path to freedom, starting today.