Children of Addicts: How to Deal with Addicted Parents
Though the loved ones of addicts, including children of addicts, are often overlooked, the reality is that addiction is a family disease. In fact, both young and adult children of addicts suffer as a result of their parent’s addiction. Whether you’re a child or adult, it can be painful to watch a parent suffer from addiction. So, how do you cope when you have addicted parents?
Young & Adult Children of Addicts
There are both young and adult children of addicts. Their parent’s disease of addiction can affect them in a number of ways, including preventing their parent from being present with them and being able to take care of them.
As a young child of an addict, you may not even fully understand what is going on with your parent. In fact, young children of addicts may feel abandoned or unloved as a result of their parents focusing on substances more than them.
Adult children of addicts are also impacted because they may not understand how to help their own parent. It can be confusing and heartbreaking to watch helplessly as the person who raised you becomes unrecognizable due to the nature of their addiction.
Understand It’s Not Your Fault
Both young and adult children of addicts need to understand that their parent’s addiction is not their fault. No matter how great or misbehaved of a child you were, you are not to blame for your parent’s addiction. The reality is that addiction is a disease, and like any other illness, your parent needs treatment to heal. Even if your addicted parent blames you or causes you to feel guilty, the truth is that you did not cause your parent’s addiction. Substance use disorders can occur due to genetics, co-occurring disorders, trauma, after abusing substances as a way to “self-medicate,” etc. It is not because of anything you did or didn’t do but rather the result of underlying problems.
Be Supportive of Recovery
It can be tough to understand your parent’s addiction, especially when you are a young child. However, you may be old enough to understand what your parent is struggling with. If this is the case, then the best way to help them is by supporting their recovery. Give them space when they need it. Try to understand that they aren’t trying to hurt you on purpose but are instead struggling with a mental and physical condition that is preventing them from seeing the situation clearly. If you are an adult child of an addict, then you may want to step in and intervene to get your loved one the help they need to recover from addiction. It can be difficult to do this, but it’s important to get your parent the help they need as quickly as possible before their addiction progresses and worsens.
Seek Support for Yourself
There are support groups and 12 Step Programs designed to help the loved ones of addicts, such as Nar-Anon. Whether you are in need of support or simply just don’t want to feel alone in dealing with a parent’s addiction, going to a support group or meeting like this can be extremely helpful.
Recovery Is Possible
Above all, it’s important to remember that recovery is possible, even for your parent or parents. Having a parent who is addicted to drugs can be devastating, but when they seek the help they need and receive treatment for addiction, they can get off all substances as well as develop healthier coping mechanisms and tools that can help them maintain their sobriety.
The Watershed Addiction Treatment Programs in Florida and Texas offers several addiction treatment programs and services to help individuals who suffer from drug addiction and/or alcoholism. Since 1998, we have treated over 55,000 patients. We can help your loved one too. With our medical detox, inpatient rehab, and aftercare programs, your loved one can begin the process of recovery and learn how to transition back into society as a sober individual. Don’t wait any longer to help your loved one get the treatment they need. Call The Watershed today at 1-800-861-1768.Tags: Addiction, children of addicts, drug addiction, family disease