A Guide for Battling Addiction-What Parents Need to Know

Parents often think they have failed when their child becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol. Sadly, any individual can suffer from an addiction, as the human body is wired to seek pleasure, which is exactly what these substances provide. Parents need to stop blaming themselves and turn the focus to helping their child obtain the help they need. Addiction comes in many forms, and a child may be addicted to sugar, screen time or numerous other things. Anything that leads to pleasure can become an addiction, even exercise.

When an animal comes into contact with an addictive substance or during certain pleasurable acts, the reward and pleasure circuits in the brain are activated. This response is completely normal, and this is why it has survived the evolutionary process. When a person eats, they obtain pleasure, thus they choose to eat again. Instant gratification is received, thus this could be considered an addiction of one kind. What differentiates addiction from normal behavior is the degree at which the person uses the pleasurable item.

A person can have one drink and not be an alcoholic. It’s when the substance of choice is used excessively that it becomes an issue. Negative consequences arise, yet the addict no longer cares about these consequences. The problem is compounded by the fact that certain addictive substances, such as caffeine, are socially acceptable, although they produce withdrawal effects when taken from the user. Telling a child they need help with their addiction as the parent sits there and consumes an addictive substance in the form of caffeine sends confusing messages. The same is true when a parent has an occasional beer, yet sends the child for treatment for an alcohol addiction.

Addiction isn’t a simple disease, therefore parents need to be prepared for a long battle. A child may go through a treatment program and appear to have recovered from their addiction, only to relapse again at a later date. The support of the family is crucial throughout the process, and parents need to stand by their child at all times. Anger and pushing the child away don’t help. With time, the child can recover. It’s a matter of hanging in until they do, and a guide for battling addiction can be of great help. Keep this in mind at all times.