Blog | Drug Addiction

Parents of Drug Addicts: Can You Help Your Child?

If you are a parent who has a child that struggles with a drug addiction, you know how difficult it is. No matter how old your loved one is, drug addiction is emotionally exhausting and hard on the whole family. You long for relief and the return of normalcy, but it does not seem to come. So what can you do to help your child when he or she is struggling with drug addiction?

Don’t Enable Their Drug Addiction

First things first, you do not have the power to “fix” your child or save them from themselves. However, you do have the power to not enable your child’s addiction. Enabling behavior manifests in many ways. It could be as obvious as handing the drug addict in your life money or allowing them to stay with your rent-free without getting a job. It could occur when you cover for them with their employers, teachers, friends or other family members by lying about their behavior. Enabling also occurs when you continually do their work for them, handle their responsibilities or in any way protect them from the consequences of their actions.

When you stop doing these things and allow their drug addiction to lead to consequences, you are helping them. You aid your child by allowing him or her to get one step closer to dealing with the fact that they need to seek professional help.

Mother holding addict daughter

Drug Addiction Intervention

A proactive way to handle the situation—when your child refuses to acknowledge his or her drug addiction—is to stage a drug addiction intervention. At an intervention, you have the opportunity to gather together the people who mean the most to your child. Then each person tells him or her about a particular incident in which your child’s drug addiction was hurtful or dangerous. The intervention closes with an offer to go to drug rehab and get the necessary medical help.

If the individual rejects treatment, different ultimatums will be appropriate depending on your situation and the age of your child. You tell them to move out or that you are no longer funding them financially. For those who are underage, it may mean moving to a different city or changing schools. It is very important to talk with the interventionist and your loved ones to make this decision. Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective.  Sanctions or enticements from family, employment settings, and/or the criminal justice system can significantly increase treatment entry, retention rates, and the ultimate success of drug treatment interventions.[1]

Letting Go

If your child struggles with drug addiction, know you never have to stop loving him or her. However, it helps no one to enable this dangerous behavior. When you make it possible for them to continue using drugs and/ or alcohol without real consequences, you only make matters worse.Letting go will look different for each family depending on the specifics of the situation and the addiction issues of their child. Only you know what’s best for you.

Drug Addiction and the Family

Drug addiction shares many characteristics with other chronic illnesses and needs professional treatment.[2] If you would like to learn more about substance abuse treatment for your child, Michael’s House is ready to help. Call now to speak with one of our admissions counselors. We are glad to answer all of your questions and pride ourselves on giving you the highest quality care available. Our drug rehab services are for those 18 and older. Call today to learn more.

[1] Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide.

[2] Addiction is a chronic disease.