As a parent, you want to shield your kids from pain and you do your best to do so. But when your child is a victim of the disease of addiction, it seems you are completely powerless.
Fortunately, if you have a son or daughter who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, there is hope. Here are 14 things that you should know about children and teens who are addicted to alcohol or drugs.
Addiction is a Brain Disease
Addiction is a brain disease – a complex one that deeply affects those who are addicted to a substance. This may be a tricky concept to wrap your mind around but it is TRUE.
NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) defines addiction “as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain.”
Addicts are Sick, NOT Wicked
You may feel very angry with your child because of his/her addiction. Most parents condemn it.
The substance abuse may be affecting him/her as well as the rest of your family and you may witness examples of BAD behavior in action. But, that is all addiction, not your son or daughter.
Addiction is a failing of a person’s character. It is a DISEASE.
Addiction is Not a Choice
Understanding that addiction is a disease, and NOT a choice, is hard for many parents. Your child is not CHOOSING to use drugs. S/he may have chosen to do it the first time, but once the addiction is in control, s/he is powerless over the disease. The drugs run the show.
Addiction disrupts the brain’s function of critical thinking and decision making, rendering the addict powerless to exert free choice.
NO ONE wants to be an Addict
Yes, it is true – no one wants to be an addict. No one wants to become hopelessly addicted to a substance, let it ruin their lives and destroy them.
Many people try drugs and move on. However, for those predisposed to the disease of addiction, the brain clings to the high and never wants to let go. Once addiction sets in, the addict is robbed of all free will.
Your Child’s Addiction is NOT your Fault
Many loving parents start blaming and beat themselves up for the mistakes they made as a parent, when they discover that their child is addicted to a substance.
Remember that you don’t cause it or control it. It is not your fault. But you can help your son or daughter get help at a professional rehab and help him/her lead a life of sobriety, doing all they dream of.