Sunset beach - Pure Life Adventure in Costa Rica

How to Support Your Son or Daughter Through Substance Abuse Treatment

Pure-Life fav icon - Wilderness Adventure Therapy in Costa Rica

The best thing you can do for your child is to be there for him or her during the treatment process. Grappling with the emotional turmoil they are experiencing can be extremely lonely for young adults. Knowing that you are supportive of their substance abuse treatment can immensely help the healing process. Show your support, love, value, and respect for your child while he or she is healing.

Learn More About Your Son or Daughter’s Struggle(s)

When young adults are self medicating, there is often an underlying emotional, psychological, or developmental issue that they are trying to cope with. These issues can range from an unresolved family conflict, depression, symptoms of ADHD, or anxiety. Whether your child is diagnosed before or during substance abuse treatment treatment, it is important to familiarize yourself with whatever struggle they are facing.

For example, if your child is diagnosed with depression, do some research and find ways to support him or her. Research, read, and learn from the many available resources online, from blog posts, podcasts and videos, to eBooks. This is an excellent way to show concern, love, and interest; however, be cautious not to try and “diagnose” your child, or interfere with directions from your child’s treatment team or healthcare provider.

Encourage a Healthier Lifestyle: Lead by Example

Although your child is an adult, and will ultimately make their own decisions, it is vital to be an example of how to live a healthy lifestyle. Since young adults who are self medicating are using unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with their struggles, it is vital to show them that there are much healthier ways to cope with stress and anxiety. The best way is to live an active, healthy lifestyle.

  • Exercise: While it may be easier to turn to drugs or alcohol to deal with everyday struggles, exercise is healthy coping mechanism that helps with a variety of issues. Aside from physically feeling better, regular exercise has been shown to help with the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and ADHD. Encourage your son or daughter to find a form of exercise that is appealing to them; better yet, offer to join them! Something as simple as taking regular walks with the family dog or attending a yoga class at the local community center can be a great, healthy way to unwind and relieve stress.
  • Proper Sleep Hygiene: While it is very common for young adults to “burn the candle at both ends,” encouraging adequate sleep hygiene can help your son or daughter’s symptoms. When young adults don’t get enough sleep, this leads to stress, irritability, and fatigue– which increases the chances that they will self medicate to alleviate these symptoms.
  • Nutrition: This one is simple. When you eat better, you feel better! Encouraging your child to make healthy decisions, and to eat several smaller meals throughout the day, can minimize blood sugar spikes and keep his or her energy up. This, in turn, can keep his or her mood up.

Be As Involved with the Treatment Process as Your Child Desires

While your child is an adult, they may still want your support and/or involvement in their treatment process. If this is a desire of your child’s, be sure to have an open line of communication with doctors, therapists, or counselors during treatment, so that afterwards you can help to make sure that he or she is sticking to all of the treatment recommendations. This includes taking medications at specified times and attending scheduled therapy sessions.

RELATED: Why The Rise Of Cannabis Use In Teens?

Don’t Have Unrealistic Expectations

Going to treatment is a huge step for young adults who are self medicating. This means that he/she has acknowledged that they need help, and are taking steps toward progress. However, it is important to realize that your child will likely stumble along their journey. Keep in mind that this is normal– it is not a sign of failure. If your child falters along their journey, don’t stop encouraging their progress.

Accentuate the Positive

Be sure to highlight your son or daughter’s success. Tell him/her how proud you are of them for being brave enough to attend substance abuse treatment. Everyone needs a cheerleader; focusing on building an individual’s strengths is much more effective than trying to remedy one’s shortcomings.

Download our free white paper to learn more about self medication in young adults.

Download Your FREE White Paper

Share this post

Check out some of our other posts: