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How to Help an Addict or Alcoholic Parent

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Dealing with an addicted parent is never easy for those who play a significant role in the parent’s life. Many children and spouses are not sure how to help an addicted parent, especially if that parent is their primary guardian or caretaker. The signs of addiction won’t go away without intervention and should not be ignored, even though you may not be sure how to help a parent on drugs.

Why do Parents Turn to Drugs or Alcohol?

addict parent

The life of a parent is a busy one. Parents spend a significant amount of time reading stories, cooking for their family, helping with homework, cleaning the home and planning family activities. Parents work very hard and don’t always get much time to themselves. It often comes as a surprise when people learn that a parent has an alcohol addiction or is abusing drugs, but it is a common occurrence. Many of the individuals coping with addiction problems have children.

Before you can help your mom, dad or spouse, you must determine if they have an addiction problem. Begin by looking for signs of abuse and addiction to verify that there may be an issue if you aren’t sure how to help an addicted parent. Signs of abuse and addiction vary based upon how often the drug is abused by your parent, as well as how much of the drug is being ingested. Start by looking for any or all of the following signs of alcohol and drug abuse:

  • Memory issues
  • Speech that is slurred or difficult to understand
  • Confusion
  • Pupils that are unusually small or large
  • Angry outbursts
  • Excessive energy or extreme exhaustion
  • Glazed eyes
  • A history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • An increase in the amount of alcohol consumed
  • Financial problems that do not have a valid explanation
  • The use of alcohol at inappropriate times, such as driving or during work
  • Anxiety or depression

These symptoms are not always a sign that alcohol or drugs are being abused. Your parent may also be suffering from an anxiety disorder, clinical depression, bipolar disorder or another condition.

How these Problems Affect the Whole Family

alcoholic parentsMaking sure that a parent who has an alcohol or drug problem gets help is very important. Numerous research projects and scientific studies exhibit a correlation between addicted parents and children with issues of a psychological nature. Many reports also show that children of alcoholics often mimic the behavior of their parents, leading to teenage or adult addiction problems. This is especially true when the alcoholic parent is the mother, as a statement from The United States Department of Agriculture warns that the children of alcoholic moms have an increased likelihood of becoming alcoholics.

A report from The 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that only 2.4 percent of the 23.2 million Americans over the age of 12 who needed treatment for an alcohol or drug addiction actually sought help. You may be unsure how to help an addicted parent, but many treatment programs are available that specialize in treating parents with addiction issues. Do your very best to support your mother, father or partner if that person takes steps towards initiating the recovery process.

When it comes to dealing with a drug-addicted parent, each and every experience is unique. Mothers and fathers abuse many different substances, from legal substances like alcohol to dangerous street drugs. It is common for addicted parents to abuse any or all of the following drugs and substances:

This list does not contain all the substances that your parent might abuse. An addicted parent might experiment with a wide range of different drugs, including heroin and crack cocaine.

Get the Help You Parent Needs Today

“…help an addicted parent select a facility that offers flexible visiting hours to make staying in touch with children easier.”
Addicted parents have many different options when it comes to the treatment process. Group therapy or intensive counseling is very beneficial for some mothers and fathers. Other parents prefer to receive inpatient therapy at a detox center or long-term treatment facility. Many treatment centers are familiar with the challenges faced by today’s parents and have programs available that meet their needs. For the best results, help an addicted parent select a facility that offers flexible visiting hours to make staying in touch with children easier.

A drug addiction does not have to destroy your family. Now that you have a better understanding of how to help an addicted parent, contact us today at to begin the drug recovery process. We look forward to speaking with you.

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