How to Know if My Son Needs Addiction Counseling

If you knew my family, you would know that they are incredibly loving, giving, and passionate people. With an emphasis on the passionate part, we love fiercely, we always protect, and we are there for each other, even if we are not talking.

Unfortunately, we are severed at the moment, and hardly anyone speaks to each other. Why is that? Because addiction runs rampant in my family. Whether it is drugs or alcohol, the disease has taken over, and they are unable to hold healthy relationships with each other. Here are some of the afflictions and addictions my family has:

  • Alcoholism
  • Overeating
  • Workaholic
  • Gambling
  • Sex addictions
  • Opiates
  • Crack cocaine
  • Self-harm

Because of this family history and my ex-husband’s family history, which is similar to mine, I am diligent in talking with my teens about the consequences of drug and alcohol use in our family. Recently, I found vapes and liquor bottles in my younger son’s bedroom during a “room check.”

The room checks were previously initiated as a result of him leaving food and drinks all over his room. I am concerned as his mother on what to do as far as when I should seek treatment and when I should write it off as “normal teen behavior”? I think it is a very personal decision, and there are no correct answers. But a list of what to look for might be helpful.

According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation and to improve the lives of individuals living with mental and substance use disorders, and their families, they suggest the following resources to help loved ones determine if the afflicted might need family services and addiction counseling, “

It’s important to understand that substance use treatment includes a variety of resources and professionals to meet the needs of individuals struggling with the use of mood-altering substances.

*Note: All content within this article is meant for informational purposes only and is in no way a replacement for professional medical or psychological advice or support. Seek immediate and appropriate care from a healthcare professional should you deem it necessary.

What classifies someone as an addict?

Addiction and alcoholism are self-diagnosable diseases, and only the sufferer can make that classification of their self. However, one of the textbook descriptions from the National Institute of Health within the National Institute on Drug Abuse division defines addiction as “A chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. It is considered a brain disorder, because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control,”.

Below are some markers to look for:

  1. Spending excessive amounts of money on the substance
  2. Obsessing about the next dose
  3. ensuring a consistent supply of the substance
  4. worrying about the next source of the substance
  5. Performing risky behaviors while intoxicated
  6. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when unable to take the drug
  7. A belief that you need the substance to do certain things, whether that’s sleeping, socializing, or just generally functioning
  8. Strong emotional cravings for the substance
  9. Loss of interest in usual activities
  10. Spending a lot of time using or thinking about the substance
  11. Thinking of suicide or have made attempts

How to love someone in recovery?

When people are affected by their loved ones’ addiction, Alanon has been an excellent resource for help and recovery. They state, “Trying to cope with a son’s or daughter’s alcohol abuse is one of the most difficult challenges in life. Their problems become ours, as objectivity goes out the window. It becomes a never-ending cycle of crisis and rescue. We pay for doctors’ bills, treatment center stays, attorneys’ fees, rent, food and cars, often at the expense of our own financial security. It is difficult to say no because of the underlying fear that, somehow, we’ve caused the problem.

Many people come to Al‑Anon for the support and understanding they need to handle this heart-breaking situation,”.

Here are some suggestions when engaging in relationships with active alcoholics or people with an addiction:

  • Take it slow
  • Remember, it’s not your job to fix anyone
  • Be ready to accept the consequences        
  • Educate yourself
  • Put recovery first

Living with addiction is a difficult thing to do, and even harder to watch someone you love wither away as a result. To have a healthy relationship with a recovering addict or alcoholic, they should be taking healthy steps to abstain from drugs and alcohol, including becoming a good-standing member in a 12-step program, therapy, healthy coping strategies, and healthy lifestyle habits. If you both pursue recovery (yes, the codependent has recovery options, too), do the work necessary to recover and maintain sobriety, and implement loving boundaries, a healthy relationship will be the result.

Another significant step to take is to seek out a licensed therapist who specializes in adolescent addiction. These professionals can provide tailored advice based on their specific circumstances and help the family address underlying issues contributing to addictive behaviors.

Again, consider getting involved in support groups tailored for parents of children with addiction issues. Groups like Al-Anon can offer emotional support and practical advice from others who have experienced similar struggles.

Another practical tip is to maintain open and non-judgmental communication with the loved one. Explain concerns calmly and supportively, focusing on the love and concern for their well-being rather than punishment. Establishing an open dialogue can create a safe space for them to express their feelings and possibly acknowledge their struggles, which is an essential step toward recovery.

How to know if my son needs addiction counseling

In conclusion, through a combination of professional support, family involvement, and fostering healthy lifestyle choices, you can make strides in addressing your son’s needs and guiding him toward recovery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *