Addiction is a challenging disease to fight, and anybody can be affected by it. No one thinks they are going to get addicted to a substance when they use it for the first time, but it happens all the time — and addicts are often left feeling stranded, alone, and unsure of where to turn for help. This is especially true for young addicts in their twenties, who are trying to manage the new demands of adulthood while struggling with their drug or alcohol use.
Addiction is a particularly heavy burden for young people and their families. The younger someone is when they become addicted to drugs or alcohol, the less life experience they have to draw on when they decide to recover. Young people can and do recover from addiction and drug abuse, but it often takes some extra support and care. If you are a parent and you think your child may need addiction treatment, supporting them will make a big difference in how quickly and effectively they recover.
How Can You Tell Whether Your Adult Child Is Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol?
Different substances cause different physical effects in the body, which can make it difficult to figure out whether your child is using substances and which ones they’re taking. But in general, any type of physical change you notice in your child can be a red flag for drug or alcohol abuse. Bloodshot eyes, unusually small or large pupils, and weight gain or loss can all be the result of drug or alcohol use. A noticeable decline in hygiene and grooming can also be a sign that somebody is in trouble.
Of course, it’s important not to jump to conclusions — these symptoms can have many causes, and addiction is just one possibility. Addiction also causes changes to a person’s social habits and personality. Consider whether your child has mentioned hanging out with a different crowd of friends lately, or whether they’ve stopped going out at all. Decreased academic performance, loss of interest in favorite hobbies, and withdrawal from family activities can also indicate that a person is using drugs or alcohol instead of working on things they once cared about.
What to Do if You Think Your Child Is Addicted
If your adult child is over the age of 18 and no longer lives with you, it can be tough to know how to help them recover from an addiction — especially if you don’t know for sure whether they are abusing drugs or alcohol in the first place. One of the best things you can do is to remain supportive and non-judgmental. Many addicts avoid seeking help because they feel guilty or ashamed of their behavior.
While it’s important not to enable your child if they are indeed addicted, it’s also essential to let them know that you support their recovery and will help them if you can. If your child is open to talking about their struggles, a gentle but frank conversation could be the catalyst that encourages them to seek treatment. Be careful not to make it sound like you’re blaming your child, or they may shut down. Instead, let them know that you’re worried about them. Bring up specific examples of concerning changes you’ve noticed in them, such as:
- A decline in overall health or hygiene
- Abandonment of former hobbies and goals
- Avoiding family and friends to spend time alone
- Emotional outbursts, anger, or irritability
Make sure your child knows that addiction is treatable. Tell them that help is available and they don’t have to live this way. Even if they aren’t ready to recover yet, your words could spur them to seek help in the future.
Problems That Occur Alongside Addiction
Addiction is rarely an isolated problem. If your child has a problem with drugs or alcohol, there is a good chance that they are also struggling with their mental health or a difficult situation in their life. If your child has a history of problems with their mental health, such as depression or an eating disorder, it’s important that they seek treatment for both problems at the same time. Otherwise, the problem that isn’t treated will probably cause a relapse.
Let your child know that there are many treatment centers that focus on healing a person’s life holistically rather than just focusing on drug and alcohol use. Addiction is a tough issue for young adults to deal with, and it’s hard to make a full recovery without the support of loved ones. If you think your child may be struggling with an addiction, don’t be afraid to talk to them and help them find a treatment program. Your support could make all the difference in your adult child’s life. Call one of our counselors today for support at 770-299-1677.