Helping Children and Young People Cope With Alcoholism or Drug Addiction
Although you may be diligent with regard to making sure your children do not use alcohol or drugs, this problem may still find its way into your child's life. Even if your family is intact and life seems as if it is following a positive path, addiction can rear its ugly head and attempt to get your teenager or child in its clutches.
If this happens, it is essential to immediately become proactive in getting treatment for your son or daughter. Fortunately, it is possible to help your child cope with an alcohol or drug problem, and get him or her into an appropriate treatment program. However, it is crucial to first understand the warning signs of substance abuse.
Warning Signs of Alcoholism or Drug Abuse
Substance abuse is a disorder that affects people of all ages, and there are specific signs associated with this problem. If you know how to spot them, it is easier to help your child cope with the problem and seek treatment. Below are some of the most obvious warning signs that your child or teenager may be addicted to alcohol or another substance.
• Changes in behavior
• Frequent lying
• Loss of interest in everyday activities
• Spending time with new friends and ignoring old relationships
• Stealing money
• Bouts of extreme energy
• Mood swings
• Frequent crying spells
• Neglect of personal hygiene
• Slurred speech
• Bloodshot eyes
• Drowsiness and fatigue
• Memory loss or blackouts
• Loss of appetite
• Skipping school or receiving failing grades
How to Help Your Child Cope
If you have reason to believe that one of your children is using alcohol or drugs, your first step should be to simply have a conversation with him or her to try to determine the extent of the problem. Make sure you stay calm and avoid strong reactions, even if you feel yourself getting angry. Do not use a lecturing tone or display an anxious attitude, as this will only make your child or teen defensive. Offer empathy and compassion, and make it clear that you care about your child and are worried. Offer reassurance that he or she can always count on your support.
Once it has been determined that there is a problem and your child or teenager admits to abusing substances, try to empower him or her to get help. It is important, however, to set realistic goals, as your child may initially be resistant to your advice. It is a mistake to expect things to change immediately, as effective treatment programs take dedication and time.
Your next step should be to find a good program for your daughter or son. Professional treatment facilities can assist your child or teenager to break free from the powerful grip of substance abuse and teach your family coping mechanisms. You can find a helpful detox center in Atlanta and other cities alike.
Even if your child refuses help at first, you should still explore treatment options on your own or with your spouse or significant other. Walking your son or daughter through the process may lessen the anxiety he or she feels, which is often due to fear of the unknown: if a child is unsure what will happen upon entering a treatment center, it may lead to resistance and ultimately delay his or her enrollment in an addiction program. Make sure your child or teenager understands that recovery centers are safe places where proper care will be given, and emphasize that you will offer love and support throughout the process.
After treatment has been sought, it is vital to continue to support your son or daughter during the next phase of recovery. Although detoxification is an essential first step, it does not completely eliminate the problem. Substance abuse is a chronic disorder requiring ongoing treatment in the future. Fortunately, with proper care, your son or daughter can achieve abstinence and lead a fulfilling, happy life.