If you’re wondering how to help an addicted parent, you’re not alone. When your parent or spouse shows signs of having addiction issues, it can turn your world upside down. It’s hard to know how to handle that kind of situation, especially at first. The natural order of things is for parents to look after their children. When the roles become reversed and the parent needs help, it can be disorienting.
Luckily, there are people who know how to help older adults who are struggling with dual diagnoses. At Defining Wellness Centers, we offer luxury rehab tailored to work for parents. That can mean the parents of adult or minor children.
How to Help an Addicted Parent
Finding an appropriate rehab for parents can be a big challenge. Defining Wellness offers a variety of programs that work with parents’ schedules. Aftercare programs are also available for people who have already completed a rehab program. Often, structured aftercare can make the difference between lasting change and a return to old habits. Whatever level of help a parent needs, there’s something available for them here.
- Residential Treatment: This is what most people think of when they envision a luxury rehab. Inpatient treatment is a common way to treat dual-diagnosis patients. It allows plenty of time to address both addiction and mental illness issues. During inpatient treatment, clients receive both individual and group treatment.
- Partial Hospitalization Plan: This is a very structured program that allows patients to maintain a home life. PHP is a great way for addicts who are beginning to learn to organize their lives in healthy ways. Clients receive group and individual therapy. This is a great option when it comes to rehab for parents.
- Outpatient Therapy: Two levels of outpatient therapy are available at Defining Wellness Centers. Intensive outpatient therapy features at least ten hours of therapy sessions per week, and night-time counseling sessions are available to accommodate patients who work. Standard outpatient programming is less intensive. It’s designed for people who have recently completed inpatient or intensive outpatient therapy.
The Role of the Family in Addiction
Addiction is classified as a family disease. It doesn’t just affect the person who is using the substances. It also causes disruptions in the lives of parents, children, friends, and co-workers. Whole family dynamics are changed due to addiction. Sometimes, the child takes on a parental role and will in some ways raise their parents. Helping an addicted parent can be a daunting task. By definition, parents have people who rely on them and look up to them. They often struggle to admit they have a problem. They don’t want to let their children down.
If you’re struggling to help an addicted parent, be assured that help is available. There are 12-step programs like Al-Anon that are designed for people like you. In support groups, you can learn how to keep your side of the street clean, and how to deal with the ups and downs of the situation. Al-Anon and Nar Anon teach people to detach with love. They’re able to provide some support but at a healthy level. They can help family members learn that they don’t have to be completely enmeshed with the addict.
Defining Wellness Centers are family owned and operated. Many families have been touched by substance use disorder, and ours is one of them. We understand what addiction can do to a family, because we’ve seen it up close and in person. Families have an important role to play in treatment. Often, families are key in getting an addict to accept that they need help. Family interventions can sometimes be successful in convincing parents to enter rehab. This is particularly true when a professional interventionist helps manage the event.
Addiction is a Growing Problem for Older Adults
Somewhat unsurprisingly, substance use disorders are a big problem in older adults. Older widowed men have some of the highest rates of alcoholism of any demographic, for example. As people age and retire, they can sometimes become more isolated and lonely. The lack of work and family obligations means that there’s less structure in their days. It’s easy to see how in that situation, people can start to rely on substances to cope. Percentage-wise, elderly men are more likely than women to develop drinking problems. Overall, about 6% of older adults show evidence of problem drinking.
Older adults require a special touch when it comes to addiction treatment. It can be hard to figure out how to help an addicted parent in part because they don’t fit many of the criteria. The warning signs on standard checklists just don’t apply to them in many cases. It doesn’t make sense to ask a retired person how drinking is affecting their career. Similarly, if someone is widowed and lives alone, drinking alone is not necessarily the warning sign it once was. It can take an experienced clinician to get a good history and arrive at an accurate diagnosis when older, single adults are showing signs of addiction.
As Baby Boomers enter their golden years, they’re presenting additional challenges to the establishment. In this age group, doctors are starting to see evidence of other drug problems in addition to drinking. The Boomers were the first generation in decades to really embrace recreational drug use. They still show higher rates of problem substance use than prior generations. As they’ve aged, in many cases Boomers have continued to use substances like marijuana.
Although marijuana is becoming legalized in many jurisdictions, it can still be problematic for the elderly. Due to changes caused by aging, substances like alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs may have more serious impacts on mental and physical health. Older bodies just process substances differently. What used to be moderate use now hits the liver much harder. Luckily, there is plenty of research being done on this subject. Primary care doctors are also learning to talk to their older patients about substance use.
If you are asking yourself how to help an addicted parent, you’ve come to the right place. Reach out to Defining Wellness today. We have the tools to help you or your loved one get better.