Parents of Addicts, Addictions Affect Families

Here's what's happening on the HealthyPlace site this week:

When Your Child is an Addict

Whether your child is a teenager or adult, seeing your child self-destruct before your very eyes is maddening, intensely sad, angering, emotionally conflicting. In the end, many parents of addicts express a strong sense of powerlessness. But does it have to be that way?

While recovery is always the addicts choice, as parents, you can help lead them in the right direction. How?

  • It's important to understand the underlying causes and effects of addiction on the addict.
  • Codependence, manipulation and guilt are part of the addiction cycle. Your child addict will both blame you for causing the addiction and not doing anything to stop it. You'll end up blaming yourself and then actually start doing things, such as providing excuses for behaviors and money for drugs, that continue and increase the addiction. Addiction treatment specialists work under the assumption that the addict is responsible for starting and stopping the addictive behaviors.

If you fall into the guilt, codependence trap, it's a downhill slide for you and your family.

My Child is a Teenage Addict

That means your child is a minor and you have more control. Here are some suggestions from addiction treatment specialists.

  • Try the supportive approach first. Offer help with counseling, but be prepared for tough love and being viewed as a "horrible person."
  • You can try restricting friendships and monitoring their activities, but your addicted child can still get away with things.
  • Your child should not have anything of value that can be used or traded for drugs. You should regularly search everything in the house for drugs, alcohol and drug paraphernalia, including your child when he/she comes in and out of the house.
  • Get software that allows you to monitor all chatroom and blog conversations.
  • If the child refuses to quit drugs and/or alcohol, get school and police authorities involved and ask for advice on what to do next.

My Adult Child is an Addict

If the adult child lives in the house, all the above will be harder, but they still apply. One powerful option you have is to kick the addicted adult child out of the house. Sounds harsh! Keep in mind that your entire family is at risk. If drugs were found in your home, you could be arrested, you could lose your job, your other children, your home -- just because you wanted to seem supportive. Think about it another way. You are providing them with everything they need to continue their drugging and drinking ways. Kicking them out forces the addict to assess their situation and choose recovery as a viable option.

Sometimes, being a parent requires tough action. Our guest on this week's HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show has another important reminder: "Remember to take care of yourself."

The HealthyPlace Addiction Community homepage and sitemap with links to all addiction information on HealthyPlace.

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"Parents of Addicts" On HealthyPlace TV

Having a child who's an addict can lead parents to emotional insanity. How you, as a parent, deal with the tough questions may determine how you and your family get through this ordeal. Catherine Patterson-Sterling, MA, RCC and Director of Family Services for the Sunshine Coast Health Center in British Columbia, is our guest on this week's HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show.

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You can watch the interview on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show website.

Still to Come in March on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show

  • Ex-Gay Therapy Destroyed My Faith
  • Helping My Daughter Recover Her Sanity
  • Eating Disorders Recovery: The Power of Parents

If you would like to be a guest on the show or share your personal story in writing or via video, please write us at: producer AT

Click here for a list of previous HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Shows.

From HealthyPlace Mental Health Blogs

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of any blog post. And visit the mental health blogs homepage for the latest posts.

back to: Mental-Health Newsletter Index

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2010, March 10). Parents of Addicts, Addictions Affect Families, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Last Updated: September 5, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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