Drug Addict Son Living at Home: How Can I Help My Boy?
Addiction is a family disease that know no boundaries or age limits. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that there are over 20 million Americans over the age of 12 and older living with a substance use disorder. Most of these people have whole communities of loved ones who are hurting right alongside them and who would do anything to bring their loved one back from the brink of fatal overdose.
When your son is struggling with drug addiction, there is likely a mosaic of causes, consequences and aggravating factors that are based on unique factors like gender, entrenched family dynamics, pride, isolation, vulnerability and many more. Navigating these waters can be exceedingly difficult, especially if they’re adults, but you don’t have to feel powerless or watch your son descend further into chemical dependency. While each family is different, dynamic is different, there are multiple steps you can take to guide your son toward the lifesaving treatment they need for addiction.
Prepare to Fail, but Don’t Fail to Prepare
The first thing you need to realize is that getting your son into treatment is not likely to be an easy task, especially if they’re over the age of 18. They are not likely to go quietly, and it’s going to take a lot of work and emotional strength. This shouldn’t, however, stop you from putting a plan in place to ensure treatment and support is readily available. Once you’ve determined that your son needs help, get in contact with a treatment center to get them into a program. The treatment center you choose will be able to conduct a full insurance verification and give you a detailed description of their levels of care.
Try and Understand Your Son’s Problem
Right now, it’s very possible that all you know is that your son is being affected by drugs and acting erratic as a result. Maybe they’re slipping at school or work, sleeping too much or not at all, neglecting their hygiene, driving under the influence, or coming home with marks on their arms or experiencing other physical changes. Whatever the case may be, there is a complicated set of circumstances and emotional issues that are contributing to the problem.
SAMHSA reports that over eight million Americans who struggle with addiction also have a co-occurring mental health issue. Your son could very well be one of them. Instead of just confronting them about their addiction, make an effort to understand the factors that drove them to substance abuse. This will not only help you show that you’re on their side, it will also help you to decide what type of treatment they need. They may very well need additional help for mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
Don’t Treat Your Adult Children Like They’re Children
The interactions between adult children and their parents are obviously different from those between parents and underage children. Autonomy and independence, both legally and behaviorally can make the process of getting them help more difficult. With that being said, there are still ways to guide them toward treatment. Over 15 percent of American adults are still living with their parents and there is ample overlap between this population and millions of American adults who are struggling with addiction. If you have an adult son living with you who is struggling with addiction, try staging an intervention and getting other members of your family involved in getting them into treatment. You cannot do this on your own, nor should you.
The Intervention Process: What you Need to Know
Within the context of addiction treatment, an intervention is a pre-orchestrated gathering of concerned loved ones in hopes of getting an addict to go to treatment. The process is often guided by a trained certified addiction interventionist, who may or may not be affiliated with a treatment center, and can help you come up with a plan of action for treatment should your addicted loved one agree to seek treatment. They can also help the intervention-usually a very emotionally charged process-to devolve into counterproductive name-calling and insults and keep the meeting on track.
Here are some things to remember when organizing an intervention:
- Enlist the Help of Other Loved Ones Who Have Been Impacted by the Subject’s Addiction
- Keep the Gathering as Small as Possible
- Be Prepared for Outrage and Denial from Your Loved One at First
- Get Help from A Professional Interventionist
- Have Each Member of the Intervention Team Write Letters Outlining Examples of Addiction Has Impacted their Respective Relationships
- Decide on Specific Consequences
- Have A Plan for Treatment in Place
Do not include anyone in the intervention team who your loved one dislikes or does not trust. You should also refrain from inviting people who have no emotional filter and won’t be able to exercise control.
Exercise Patience, Care and Understanding
Although addiction may have driven them to extreme behavior, lying, manipulation and even violence and criminal activity, it’s important to remember that your son is still “in there” somewhere. It’s also important to remember that their addiction is not your fault, and that you need to do everything you can to keep yourself and the rest of your family safe. This may mean making tough decisions regarding consequences and boundaries, but in the end, it will ultimately prove to be for the best. As a parent, it’s the hardest thing in the world to feel helpless against a force that’s hurting your child—you are not powerless.
We’re Ready When You Are
If your son is struggling with drug addiction in Ohio, the Ridge is ready to help you guide them toward the lifesaving treatment they need. We offer comprehensive residential treatment to help them address the medical issues, root causes and sustaining factors of your substance use disorder. We offer a full staff of experienced and qualified addiction treatment professionals and mental health specialists.
Contact us today at 513.613.4026 to learn more about how we can help your son.