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How to Help an Addict or Alcoholic Father

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A family with an alcoholic or drug-addicted father has special challenges. The father may claim to be able to handle his addiction or hide it out of shame. The mother in the family may feel frustrated and angry or, conversely, may live in complete denial in an effort to maintain some sense of normalcy for the children.
“Alcoholism and drug addiction must be confronted and treated.”
Children who are dealing with a drug-addicted father are confronted with complicated adult problems, often at a very young age. Small children may feel confused and frightened by a father’s sudden mood swings or other behaviors they can’t understand. Older children may learn to live in denial, become enablers, or become embittered and angry. But most just want to know how to help an addict or alcoholic father.

Did You Know?

  • A 2006 HBO, USA Today and Gallup Poll showed that seven of 10 respondents who had an addicted family member said they had personally confronted the family member about their addiction.
  • The same study showed that respondents most often cited family support or pressure as the main reason the family member was able to overcome addiction.
  • The study showed that eight out of 10 study respondents said they had some idea of how to find treatment for their family member’s addiction.
  • According to government studies, children of alcoholics also need, and benefit from, professional counseling.

Whatever the cause of the drug or alcohol addiction, children who are dealing with a drug addict father, or an alcoholic father, should understand the addiction is not their fault and that they are not responsible for their father’s life choices. Dealing with a drug-addicted father is not easy, and experts say that family members often suffer from emotions such as guilt, anger and shame. Counseling may benefit not just an addicted parent but also the children of an addicted parent.

Alcoholism and drug addiction must be confronted and treated. Let us help you help your loved one.

How to Help an Addicted Father

Many families try to help a father on drugs by pretending that everything is all right or by covering for the father’s erratic behavior. Denial or enabling behaviors only prolong the problem, according to experts. Adult children may also simply fail to recognize the signs of an emerging alcohol or drug addiction in a parent over 50. A 2005 study in the Annals of Epidemiology found that “non-medical use of psychotherapeutic drugs will increase…to almost 2.7 million” in those 50 and older by the year 2020. The study posits that the baby boomer generation may be more prone to substance abuse because of prior experience with drugs and alcohol. Older adults may also become addicted to painkillers after surgery or may mistakenly take more medications than prescribed and become addicted in that way.

Did You Know?

    The signs of drug abuse in those over 50 include:
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Falling often
  • Loss of interest
  • Untidy appearance
  • Misplacing items

“It’s important for children to recognize that they need not wait for their father to ask for help before seeking help for them.”

The earlier an addict or an alcoholic receives help, the better, according to Dr. Kathleen Brady, a professor at the Medical University of South Carolina. The HBO Addiction website also cites experts as saying that it’s a myth that the addicted person must want to recover before they can recover. Many addicts have recovered as a result of being forced to enter rehab. Children can help their father who is on drugs by showing the same tough love parents often must show their drug-addicted children. It’s important for children to recognize that they need not wait for their father to ask for help before seeking help for them. The longer an addiction is allowed to rage on unchecked, the greater the likelihood that it will result in health complications, negative career consequences, and loss of money, relationships and time that could have been so much better spent.

Let us show you how to help an addicted father. We’re here to answer questions and to offer help. Call us at today.

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