The Impact of Substance Use Disorders on Families and Children: From Theory to Practice PMC

Enabling is a very easy habit to slip into unintentionally, as it is often disguised by well-intended actions that you feel may benefit your child at the time. As a parent, it is important to know that this is not deliberate nor is it your fault. And by knowing the signs of enabling, you will be able to truly help yourself and your child.

Bellevue Hospital Center (HHC)

enabling a drug addict child

Having said that, a child’s safety is, of course, the most important. So if you see signs of physical or sexual abuse, definitely call the authorities. Reflect on the toll that your son’s addiction has taken on your own mental, emotional, and physical health. Is it affecting your overall quality of life, relationships, or other responsibilities? It is essential to prioritize your well-being and consider whether continuing to stay enmeshed in the situation is detrimental to your stability and happiness. Put simply, anything you do that allows the addicted person to keep using alcohol or other drugs without consequences is enabling.

Substance Use

enabling a drug addict child

“Seeking treatment should not be something that people should be afraid of.” “As these kids get to adolescence, they too might start using drugs,” says Nelson. The impact of the country’s overdose epidemic on children is something “we really don’t speak much about,” says Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and an author of the new study. Eric Patterson, MSCP, NCC, LPC, is a professional counselor who has been working for over a decade to help children, adolescents, and adults in western Pennsylvania reach their goals and improve their well-being. If you find yourself too upset, sarcastic, or irrational to manage your emotions, consider leaving the situation with a plan to return to the subject at another time.

  • However, the long term risks may be even greater for kids who lost a parent due to a drug overdose, says Nelson.
  • Problems with unexcused absences in childhood can turn into more serious truancy problems in adolescence and culminate in school dropout.
  • When a child develops a drug problem, however, this “helping” becomes harder to do, and also harder to define.
  • You can choose to finance some or all of the costs of treatment or set up a payment plan.
  • Enabling a child’s addiction serves no purpose and creates more issues than parents realize.

Impact of Parental Substance Abuse on Children

Express your boundaries calmly and assertively, separating the person from the addiction. Let him know that your boundaries are aimed at addressing the addiction, not rejecting him as a person. Offer support for treatment and encourage him to seek professional help.

Recovery Centers of America at Raritan Bay

Those families that want to get a jump on treatment planning can do so with a call to The Recovery Village. This comprehensive rehab facility offers therapies for substance abuse, mental illness, or both. It might mean looking for separate living arrangements, or it might involve nothing more than a verbal promise that no more money is forthcoming. When addictions become too expensive to maintain and funding sources are hard to come by, people might finally get the help they need. Families should also resist the urge to keep a person’s workplace reputation pristine. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that people with addictions are much more likely to miss work, when compared to people who don’t have addictions.

  • • Do you find yourself ignoring or tolerating violent or otherwise unacceptable behavior?
  • Whether you’ve got a 35-year-old daughter who keeps asking for money while falsely claiming she will pay you back or a 25-year-old son who just can’t keep a job, adult children with addiction issues who behave immaturely can be stressful.
  • Nobody will accuse me of “relapsing” or suggest that money spent on my treatment was wasted.
  • To help families navigate this issue, it’s vital to understand its prevalence in parenting.

One teenager who attended an Eluna camp for several years in Florida, we’re using her middle name Isabel, talks about how, as a child, she was convinced her mother’s addiction was her fault. “I was seeing my mom every week. And then, all of a sudden I didn’t see her for months. And so, you think to yourself … I did the wrong thing, I must’ve upset her somehow. I just don’t think I knew any better.” “We are not expecting adults to have to go and do a crash course. You don’t have to go and read a book all about addiction,” she says. “All that you really need to know how to do is to be caring, to be loving and to be able to connect with kids and engage with them. That’s as simple as it is.” Remember that episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, where he tells children to “look for the helpers”? Mary Beth Collins with the National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA) says you certainly don’t have to be an expert in addiction.

Drug Information and Education for Parents

You may consider attending your own therapy to help cope with your child’s addiction. Most experts say most of the time families with addiction issues come off as functional. They say there’s a far greater likelihood of neglect or emotional abuse — like constant criticism or unrealistic expectations.

  • Then I helped him write his college essays and hounded him about getting them in on time.
  • Put simply, anything you do that allows the addicted person to keep using alcohol or other drugs without consequences is enabling.
  • This comprehensive rehab facility offers therapies for substance abuse, mental illness, or both.
  • California, where Dunkle lives, has also shifted its drug policies, cracking down harder in recent years on people who perpetuate use.
  • Social workers may serve on multidisciplinary teams to advocate for a child who is adjudicated, abused, and/or neglected.
  • The attitudes and beliefs that family members have about SUDs are also of importance as these will influence the individuals as they try to get sober and will influence the efficacy of treatment interventions.

Family systems theory and attachment theory are theoretical models that provide a framework for understanding how SUDs affect the family. In addition, understanding the current developmental stage a family is in helps inform assessment of impairment and determination of appropriate interventions. SUDs negatively affect emotional and behavioral patterns from the inception of the family, resulting in poor outcomes for the children and adults with SUDs. Social workers can help address SUDs in multiple ways, which are summarized in this article. Families who have lost children to overdoses say such policies won’t reduce deaths like those their relatives suffered.

You’ll feel a profound sense of loss as you witness your child struggling with addiction, as the person you once knew seems to slip away. Olt serves as executive director of Broken No More, an organization founded by families and friends of people with substance use disorders. The organization held a virtual news conference in the lead-up to Mother’s Day to share their support for drug policies informed by evidence-based public health practices, rather than punitive approaches. An estimated 321,566 children in the United States lost a parent to drug overdose from 2011 to 2021, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Tags: No tags

Comments are closed.