How Can I Educate Myself About My Child’s Addiction?

How Can I Educate Myself About My Child’s Addiction?

When your child struggles with addiction, the family whole suffers. The addict fights a battle that may scar her physically, emotionally and psychologically; friends and family get wounded, too, as they may struggle with fear, anxiety and hopelessness. However, although you cannot force your child into recovery, getting educated about your child’s illness can help you heal and encourage sobriety.

Lesson Number One: What Is Enabling?

Before a concerned parent can begin addressing his child’s addiction, he must make sure he is not adding to the problem. Accelerating a child’s addiction is the last thing a caring parent would do, but experts say that parents often do just that by enabling addicts, a maladaptive coping method that can take any of the following forms:

  • Turning a blind eye to problems in the home
  • Avoiding conflict to keep the peace
  • Burying difficult feelings instead of addressing them
  • Minimizing consequences of addiction
  • Lecturing and criticizing the addict
  • Taking responsibility for problems the addict causes
  • Shielding the addict from consequences of drug abuse
  • Acting superior, as if the addict is incapable of maturing
  • Trying to control the addict
  • Covering for the addict, perhaps by calling in sick to her work or helping her pass a class
  • Giving financial support

Enabling behaviors confuse relationships and strengthen substance abuse, because they mitigate natural consequences of drug abuse. To help an addict recover, parents must step aside and let their children experience the detrimental effects of addictive behavior.

Spotting Lies, Learning Truth

Another way parents can get educated about a child’s addiction is to disabuse themselves of the following misconceptions on drug abuse:

  • Willpower alone can break an addiction – The truth is that drug use changes the brain, so it is difficult to quit even with professional help
  • “Hitting bottom” is the only way to stop using for good – Recovery can start at any stage, and people have equal chances for recovery whether they seek help themselves or are coerced into treatment
  • If treatment hasn’t worked in the past, it isn’t worth trying again – Relapse is an influential teacher that can launch lasting sobriety
  • Addiction is a sign of moral weakness – Addiction is a brain disease, not a character flaw

Swapping out myths for facts is paramount in addiction recovery, but a single Internet search can avail a lengthy list of resources that may be wrong. However, the following organizations are well respected within the recovery community:

  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • Mental Health America
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Drug
  • Pubs Research Dissemination Center

Calling treatment facilities is another simple way to get educated. Most rehab centers are staffed by knowledgeable professionals who can navigate the complexities of addiction and recovery.

Help for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

If your child struggles with addiction, we can help. Admissions coordinators are available at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to guide you to wellness. You never have to go back to a life of addiction, so call now to start your recovery today.