5 Tips for Coping with an Adult Child’s Addiction

It can be heartbreaking to watch your child’s life being destroyed by drugs. Though he or she may be an adult, the parental instinct still “needs” to help and protect a child from harm, no matter what it is.

It’s not uncommon for parents to take on the blame for a child’s behavior, even when they know it’s not their fault. It’s important to move past any feelings of anger and frustration in order to deal with the situation in the best way possible.

Coping with an adult child’s addiction means doing everything you can to point him or her in the right direction without getting caught up in addiction’s web.

For information on addiction treatment programs, call our toll-free helpline at 800-598-5053 (Who Answers?) .

5 Tips for Coping With an Adult Child’s Addiction

1. Learn About Addiction

Adult Child's Addiction

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Learning how addiction warps a person’s thinking and behaviors can best equip you for dealing with the ups and downs in your adult child’s life. In effect, addiction essentially “rewires” the areas of the brain that regulate a person’s thinking, emotions and motivations, according to the University of Utah.

These changes account for how a person can change so much in terms of his or her personality and character. Knowing what to expect along the way can take some of the “sting” out dealing with a child’s unreasonable demands and behaviors.

2. Find a Support Group

Addiction’s effects often extend well past the life of the addict, impacting family and friends in harmful ways. Feelings of blame, doubt and shame can surely wear away at your sense of self-esteem as well as your quality of life.

According to Alvernia University, support groups, such as Al-Anon and Families Anonymous cater specifically to people who have a loved one or friend that’s struggling with addiction. These groups can provide a much needed outlet for expression and also offer guidance and support during the difficult times.

3. Hold Him or Her Accountable

Coping with your adult child addiction also entails taking an active part in helping him or her come to terms with an addiction problem. Holding your child accountable for the inevitable consequences addiction breeds best enables him or her to see addiction for what it is.

Holding your adult child accountable means:

  • Not making excuses for destructive behaviors
  • Not enabling the addiction, be it financially or taking on added responsibilities that your child should fulfill
  • Setting boundaries as to what will not be tolerated
  • Stating and enforcing consequences when boundaries are crossed

4. Offer to Help Find Treatment

In some cases, offering to help an adult child find needed treatment help may be all it takes to get the ball rolling. As the ultimate decision is still his or hers to make, this gesture lets your child know you’ll be there when the decision to enter treatment is made.

5. Consider an Intervention

When addiction’s effects reach a point where an adult child’s behaviors pose a danger to self or others, it’s time to consider conducting an intervention. This is especially true in cases where violent behaviors and/or psychological problems have become an issue.

Under these conditions, enlisting the help of an intervention specialist offers the safest means for conducting an intervention and also offers the best chance of helping your child see the need for treatment help.

If you need help finding an intervention specialist or need more information on treatment program options, please don’t hesitate to call our helpline at 800-598-5053 (Who Answers?) .


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