This article was written and published by Faith in Recovery
Regardless of our age, our parents will always have some sort of influence on our lives.
These influences not only include the genes that we inherit biologically but also the behaviors, habits, values, morals, and communication styles we have adopted from our parents or caregivers. The same goes for children of addicts. Growing up with drug-addicted parents can be difficult in more ways than one. If you’re in this situation, below is a guide on how to deal with drug-addicted parents that can help.
Tips for Children of Addicted Parents: How to Cope
The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 25% of youth under the age of 18 are exposed to family alcohol abuse or dependence.1 Children of addicted parents are also twice as likely to develop substance use disorders.2 These children with parents addicted to drugs or alcohol are also likely to experience poor performance in school, emotional and behavioral issues, low self-esteem, increased risk of abuse, and increased risk of mental illness.
With that said, offering help to children affected by parental substance abuse is important in promoting healing within the family. Children can also have a major impact on their parents’ lives, which is why we’ve shared some tips on how to deal with drug-addicted parents that can guide you in getting help for your loved ones.
Eventually, this constant increase in doses may lead to physical dependence, which is marked by withdrawal symptoms that occur when Xanax use is discontinued. Users with Xanax dependence may continue to take the drug to prevent withdrawals from occurring, which are often uncomfortable and terrifying.
Over time, the person may eventually develop a psychological addiction to Xanax, making it nearly impossible for them to control how often and how much of it they use. Someone with a Xanax addiction can take as many as 20 or 30 pills a day. If the user decides to quit at any moment or doesn’t take their usual dose for a few hours, they may begin experiencing withdrawals like restlessness, insomnia, tremors, and rebound anxiety.
Despite the possible consequences, once an addiction to alprazolam takes hold of someone, they may not be able to quit without prescription drug addiction treatment and medical assistance.
Reach Out to a Family Member For Support
Whether you’re in high school, college, or working on your career, having someone or several people to help you is important. Like the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work, so if you have a parent with an addiction and don’t know where to start, ask another trusted and close family member for help.
Make sure this person is someone reliable and has the person’s best interests in mind. Make sure this is someone you respect, trust, and who understands you and the situation you’re in. It doesn’t even have to be a family member, either. It could be a teacher, counselor, or coach.
Having an addict as a parent can change your life in many ways, and something that many children of addicted parents are guilty of doing is completely sacrificing their time to be the caretakers. Although you want to be there for your mother or father (and it’s important to do so), you have to draw the line somewhere.
For instance, joining a club or spending time with friends every once in a while, is healthy for you. It’s important to have connections with people outside of your home and family. It’s also important to not feel guilty for wanting to spend some time away from your parents.
A little breathing room is a good thing. It allows you to clear your head and have the patience to care for them when you have to. As a Christian drug rehab, we believe that while it’s important for you to stick by your mom or dad during something as challenging as addiction, you need to take care of yourself, too.
Speaking of taking care of yourself, develop a self-care routine that helps you wind down and recollect yourself. Caring for a parent or parents with substance use disorders can be stressful, and sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. In addition to asking for help, you also need to create a self-care routine for yourself to help you reset and recharge.
Self-care can be in the form of anything you like. Do you enjoy running? Go for a jog once a day as many days of the week you can or want to. Do you like reading? Read your favorite books or buy new ones that interest you. Like art? Take up a new hobby like painting or sketching.
Build Good Habits
Because the risk of addiction is higher in people who grew up in households impacted by substance abuse, you must take certain precautions. There are certain habits you should implement early on to avoid falling into a cycle of addiction, as well.
For instance, if your mother’s or father’s alcohol use disorder began with stress drinking, find healthier ways to cope with stress. Use an agenda to keep yourself organized, set alarms to avoid forgetting things, and practice self-care, among other things. Building your own good habits will prevent you from falling into some of your parents’ bad ones.
Get Help for Yourself
Remember that this is not your fault. Addiction is a cruel disease that can happen to anyone for any reason, and you are not to blame. When you find yourself feeling guilty or upset about your parents’ addiction, remember that you’re not the cause.
You can’t control another person’s behavior, and you can’t cure them of their addiction. But what you can do is strengthen yourself by reaching out for help. Don’t neglect yourself in this complicated process of caring for addicted parents. Support groups like Al-Anon are great places to turn to when you feel overwhelmed by your loved ones’ addictions.
Get Your Parent(s) Help
While you can’t cure your parents’ addiction, you can set them up for success. If you haven’t already, try and get your parent(s) help. Encourage them to seek out drug or alcohol treatment for their disorder. List to them all of the benefits that will come out of receiving treatment and express your desire to help them every step of the way.