When you have a child, regardless of if you are the mother or the father, your whole entire world changes. You are now responsible for raising them. But when your child grows to be an adult, your role changes significantly. You are no longer the sole provider or have control within their life. If your adult child develops a problem with alcohol, the whole foundation of your being can feel like it has been rocked. Learning how to help an alcoholic child is critical in order to keep yourself and your child as well as possible during this difficult time.
What is Considered Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a disease that is characterized by uncontrolled drinking and preoccupation with alcohol. In the United States, approximately 1 in 8 adults is an alcoholic. Alcohol is easily the most widely abused mind-altering substance in the country, as it is consumed by people of all ages. Alcohol use disorder falls into three categories:
Each category has various symptoms and side effects that will need treatment no matter the severity. However, if alcohol use is left untreated, it can spiral out of control. That is when your child is at great risk of having severe alcohol use disorder. Alcoholism is dangerous because it often feels as though one cannot function without alcohol.
Sometimes, warning signs can be noticed. Other times, it takes longer to see. So, it is important to understand what the signs of alcoholism are to know how to help an alcoholic child.
Common signs of alcoholism include:
- Being unable to control alcohol consumption
- Craving alcohol when it is not present
- Putting alcohol above personal responsibilities
- Feeling the need to keep drinking more
- Spending a substantial amount of money on alcohol
- Behaving differently after drinking
Knowing How to Help an Alcoholic Child
It may be hard to know how to help an alcoholic child, especially when that child is your own. While it’s difficult to witness this damaging moment in their lives, it’s especially hard to understand the best ways to help. Knowing where to start and how to reach out and help them will benefit their overall health and quality of life for you and your adult child.
If you want to talk with your child about alcoholism, talk when they are in a good mood. Usually, it is best to speak with them in the afternoon as they are likely to drink in the evening and be hungover in the morning. When you confront them, it is also important to do so compassionately. Let them talk their feelings through and avoid being judgmental towards them.
Additionally, it is important to be patient with your child. If you feel as though they are pushing back, follow up with them another time. This will let them know how serious you are. Coming back to them at this moment will let them know that this is something they need help with. Being patient with them and coming back will let them think about it and hopefully want treatment.
How to Help Your Alcoholic Son
Ways to help your alcoholic son will take a lot of effort from you as a parent. But that’s what parents are here for. Even though your adult child is not under your care anymore, you still care for them and want to protect them from anything dangerous.
Some ways to help your alcoholic son are:
- Encouraging to cut toxic people out of their lives
- Encouraging your son to attend support groups
- Engaging in new sober activities
- Avoiding places that serve alcohol (bars, clubs, etc.).
How to Help Your Alcoholic Daughter
Reaching out and helping your alcoholic daughter will benefit their well-being. Just as there are ways to help alcoholic sons, there are ways to help daughters too. When you notice any signs of alcoholism in your child, it will be difficult to change their way of life, but there are still ways you can help.
Some ways to help your alcoholic daughter are:
- Avoiding enabling environments
- Suggesting minimizing social media use
- Encouraging more one-on-one time with your child
- Attending family therapy with her.
How to Support an Alcoholic Child
One of the most important ways you can support your child is by being there for them. It is difficult to stay and offer support when alcoholics become stubborn, but this is where they need it the most. If you decide to leave them on their own, this will only make them drink more and more. Being there for them and knowing they have someone that wants to help them will greatly benefit your alcoholic child.
Encourage them to get the services they need for treatment. However, it is good to know that you should not feel guilty if they refuse service. It may be hard to cope with, but trying again patiently will offer more of an outcome than forcing them to get it. When they have finished treatment, it is also essential to know that is not the end of it.
There can be lingering temptations, so it’s good to be there for them and help them decrease any risk of relapse. You can even offer them a place to stay so they are closer to you for needed support.
What Not To Do When Helping Your Alcoholic Child
When your child has finished treatment, it does not help to threaten to kick them out of the house. That threat can make them spiral back into alcoholism and possibly develop depression and anxiety. Instead of making them fear you, you should let them know you are there for support. They should not be afraid to come to you for help and tell you things they are afraid to share with other people.
Additionally, it is best to not get overly mad at your child or lack any kind of compassion for them. Understanding their situation and knowing how hard it is for them to stop will help. Alcoholism is not treated with one specific service. In fact, alcoholism is hard to overcome. Being angry and lashing out at them for not stopping will not help.
This will actually hurt them as they will feel guilt and possibly drink again. Let them know that you are here to support them rather than judge and accuse them. Knowing how to help an alcoholic child will allow both of you to understand the need for treatment.
Treatment Options for Alcoholism
There are many treatment options for alcoholism that your child can benefit from. Here at Launch Centers, we know how to help an alcoholic child with the many treatments we offer.
Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
One of the first forms of treatment someone with alcoholism goes through is detox. However, if the abuse is severe and symptoms persist, PHP is the best form to keep stable and sober. PHP requires the patient to stay at the facility and is provided with more of a monitored way of treatment. Other services are also provided in this program such as skill development, therapies, and more.
When a patient has gone through detox and other treatments to help with their symptoms, they have a chance to go into outpatient rehab. Our outpatient program offers more flexibility with treatment if there are jobs, school, and other responsibilities that hinder you from staying at a facility.
Launch Centers offers a plethora of therapies to help you and your alcoholic child. Our therapies range from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Emotion Focused Therapy, Family Therapy, and much more. Addiction does not only affect the body, but also the mind. Therapy is there to help you every step of the way in improving your mental health.
How to Help an Alcoholic Child
If you know that your child has developed signs of alcoholism, it is never too late for them to get treatment. Whether they have a moderate level of abuse or a more severe case, Launch Centers knows how to help an alcoholic child by providing the support and stability necessary to achieve sobriety. If you or someone you love is dealing with alcohol abuse disorder, contact us or visit our admissions page today.