How to Talk to Your Child About Addiction Treatment in California
Help with a difficult situation in our home state
One of the most frightening experiences you can face as a parent is the realization your child is abusing drugs or alcohol. After the initial shock, the next step for some parents is to consider addiction treatment for your child. Talking with your child about addiction treatment in California or in your home state can be a scary prospect, but if your child has an addiction, it needs to be done as soon as possible to protect their future and possibly their life.
Why Your Child Might Use Drugs or Alcohol
As a parent, it is important to gain an understanding of what may have drawn your child to use drugs and/or alcohol so that you can be a source of support before, during, and after their treatment program.
Curiosity, Peer Pressure, and Boredom
Sometimes, a child will go ahead and drink a beer that a friend hands them because they wonder how it will make them feel. If they like the feeling, they may go back to it when they get the chance. Some will go back to the drug because they are bored, and using is something to do.
To Deal With Stress or Emotional, Physical, and Psychological Pain
These reasons for beginning to use drugs or alcohol may be more dangerous, because the child is immediately associating the drug use with a way to cope or improve their life. Ultimately, it is destructive, and kids can start out using out of boredom, and discover it gives them temporary relief from their troubles.
Signs That Your Child is Abusing Drugs or Alcohol
Children and teens are constantly changing and growing, and being moody is often part of the process, but when a child or teen is abusing drugs, these changes go beyond basic sulking or irritability. Here are some warning signs
- Drastic Appetite or Sleep Patterns—depending on the substance involved, kids and teens may be sleeping and eating a lot more, or a lot less.
- Apathy about physical appearance
- Withdrawing from social activities and former interests
- Sudden “need” for money
- Change in social circle
- Suddenly getting into trouble at school or with the law
- Change in attitude or personality
- Neglecting responsibilities
Preparing to Approach Your Child About Their Drug Abuse
Addiction is a very serious problem, especially when it comes to children and teens. Children and teens who use drugs and alcohol are at a higher risk for addiction, not only because they lack maturity but because their brains are still being developed and are more susceptible to addiction.
One of the first things to remember is that addiction is a chronic illness, as is hypertension or diabetes. Too often, people buy into the myth that addiction is a choice or a character flaw, but that is a dangerous misunderstanding to have. In fact, addiction is a disease, and understanding this will make it easier to deal with addiction as a family. It is easy to buy into the instinct to be angry, but concern is the more appropriate reaction. Punishing a child with a true addiction is counterproductive.
Approaching Your Child About Treatment
On television and in movies, people often conduct “interventions” where several members of their family and responsible friends get together to convince a person to enter treatment; however, when a child needs to go into treatment, it is about the parent(s) and the child. It is important to be firm about the fact that you are making the decision for them to go into treatment because you love them and their safety is your responsibility. Do not give in if they promise to stop. Whether they mean it or not, very few people are able to stop using without help, and often it is medically necessary to have medical professionals present as drugs are removed from the system.
Your child should be as lucid as possible when they are given the information. If you choose to have others present when you do this, it should be to support you, not necessarily your child. It is highly probable that they will not want to go, but it doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from addiction treatment in California. Entering a treatment program voluntarily versus those who are pushed into treatment through their parents or the courts, does not significantly alter the rate of relapse. Relapse after treatment is a setback but not a failure. It only means further treatment is necessary. Others with chronic illnesses suffer setbacks as well, and they go back in and keep trying.
The risk of relapse is reduced when addiction treatment in California focuses on more than getting the drugs out of your child’s system, but also helps the child cope with life’s challenges in healthier ways. Our addiction treatment center in California, Malibu Beach Recovery Center, incorporates family counseling, nutritional support, and education on healthy stress management. We also continue to provide support after the main portion of the treatment is complete.
As parents, you should support and encourage your child through the addiction treatment process, and help them return to a healthy, fulfilling life back home. If you’d like to know more about addiction and your options, please contact us!