What to do if your child refuses to seek drug abuse treatment

Recognize that Treatment is the Best OptionDrug Treatment

For parents with children who are struggling from drug abuse problems, getting treatment is the best way to help a child overcome the addiction. Professional drug rehab programs not only give recovering drug abusers structured and proven methods for beating the addiction, but it also prepares them to successfully reenter regular life and remain drug free.

However, even though drug abuse treatment may be the best choice, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to get a child to agree to treatment. In fact, many drug abusers initially refuse to enter rehab for many reasons, including denial about their problems, fear of the unknown or even previous failed attempts at rehab.

While parents should expect to face some resistance, it’s important for them to get their children into treatment as soon as possible. The following approaches can help make the process smoother and faster.

Stop Enabling

It’s natural for parents to support their children in most situations and circumstances. However, this natural behavior can actually become dangerous for someone suffering from a drug addiction. The behavior, which is known as enabling, encompasses any modes of support that make it easier for someone to continue using drugs.

Often, parents will engage in several forms of enabling without even realizing it. One of the most common forms involves making excuses for bad outcomes that are directly related to drug use. For example, when teens get in trouble at school or when their grades start falling, some parents might blame teachers, school policies or other factors that have nothing to do with the drug abuse problem.

This behavior may seem harmless, but it actually prevents a drug abuser from being realistic about the severity of the issue. Instead of joining in by placing the blame on others, parents should help their kids face these realities and take full responsibility for their actions.

Other forms of enabling involve giving children monetary support or modes of transportation, both of which can make it easier for them to obtain drugs. This support can also take the pressure off young adults who would otherwise need to hold a steady job to fund their drug use. As difficult as it may be, parents should take a close look at their actions and decide whether they are unintentionally making it easier for their children to use drugs.

Give an Ultimatum

Providing an ultimatum can be similar to the process of avoiding enabling, but it’s often more decisive and firm. Parents can inform children that if they don’t enter treatment they’ll no longer have access to certain conveniences or even necessities. For example, parents could tell their adult children that if they continue to use drugs, they can no longer live at home. As harsh as it may sound, any type of support parents give to adult children may be potentially taken away and used as an ultimatum. Parents should consider cutting off access to money, food, modes of transportation or even communication.

One of the most important steps of giving an ultimatum is actually following through with it. Unfortunately, many parents find this to be the most difficult part of the process. However, when parents don’t do as they say, their loved ones may see it as an opportunity to take advantage of the situation. Parents should always remain firm in their promises in order to give their kids the best chance at seeking recovery.

Have an Intervention

If you and other family members have been repeatedly trying to get your child into rehab, it can be helpful to take a more organized approach by holding an intervention.

An intervention is a meeting between a drug abuser and that person’s close family members and friends. During the meeting, the loved ones should make it clear that they are worried about the drug abuser’s health and well-being and express exactly how the addiction is affecting everyone’s lives. This step can be especially useful for drug abusers who are in denial about how much their addiction is influencing everyone around them.

One of the most important parts of an intervention is proposing a treatment solution to a drug abuser. Before the intervention takes place, parents should carefully select the appropriate treatment option, so they can deliver a clear, definitive course of action that they want the drug abuser to take. It’s essential to choose a rehab program that is a good fit for the individual so that he or she is more open to treatment and will have a better chance at success.

For parents who haven’t previously set out ultimatums or who didn’t follow through with ultimatums in the past, an intervention is the perfect time to clearly put them on the table. Drug abusers will often feel more compelled to go through with the treatment option when these ultimatums are clearly set out before them and come from multiple loved ones.

Make Children Enter Rehab

With more than 48% of high school seniors reporting that they’ve used illegal drugs, it should come as no surprise that many teens fall victim to drug addiction. And while many of the aforementioned approaches are good ideas for older children, there is a more definitive option for teen drug abusers.

While it’s ideal for drug abusers to enter treatment on their own, parents with kids who are under 18 can make their children enter rehab. If parents have repeatedly used other techniques that simply aren’t working, making children enter rehab is often preferable to the alternative, which is continued drug use. Long term drug abuse puts teens at risk for:

  • Accidents
  • Liver damage
  • Depression
  • Overdosing
  • Heart damage
  • Death

It’s often better for parents to go through the short-term difficulty of forcing their child into treatment, rather than risking any of these potential dangers. To make the process a bit smoother, some parents use professional transportation services to ensure that their teens get to the rehab facilities safely and quickly.

Avoid Misplaced Blame

When parents are having a hard time getting children to enter rehab, it can be an emotionally draining process, and many parents end up blaming themselves. However, all family members should keep in mind that addiction is a disease that leaves drug abusers with very little control over their choices.

Rather than agonizing over whether they may have contributed to their children’s addiction issues, it’s more productive for parents to focus on finding solutions. It’s also important to remember that a child’s addiction can have numerous negative effects on the whole family. Parents should take time for themselves and for other family members so they can remain as emotionally healthy as possible while seeking help for their loved one.

Take Personalized Solutions for Getting Help

While all of these approaches have been effective for drug abusers in the past, it’s essential for parents to recognize that their child is an individual and may respond differently to various techniques. Parents should take whatever combination of approaches is necessary in order to get their child into a professional treatment center and on the road to a healthy, more fulfilling life.

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