Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

My Son Is an Addict: One Parent’s Advice

No parent’s struggle with their son’s addiction is easy to deal with or overcome. In a recent column, one mother shared her experience with the hope of helping other parents dealing with the same issue.

Her son, Joshua, was a happy and bright child. It wasn’t until his teen years that a much darker side of his personality emerged. When Joshua was 14, his mother found marijuana in his pockets. She found it hard to believe that her little boy would be experimenting with drugs, but she brushed it off as exactly that—harmless experimentation.

What she didn’t realize at the time was that there was no such thing as “harmless experimentation.” It wasn’t long after that that she discovered that Joshua was also drinking alcohol and abusing prescription medications that he stole from the family medicine cabinets and from the medicine cabinets of his friends’ parents.

It was clear to her that Joshua needed help. She quickly enrolled him in a teen-specific addiction treatment program. She found it to be effective but not the quick fix she had hoped for; after he completed the program, he still needed help and encouragement. The road to recovery can be a long one, but given the success she experienced with her son, her first bit of advice for concerned parents is to get their child into a treatment program that can create a tailor-made therapeutic plan to meet their needs.

Addiction Is All Too Common

Unfortunately, the story above is not uncommon. Many parents discover that their children, no matter what their ages, have been abusing drugs and/or alcohol and may be addicted to the substance in question. Like the mother above, the best course of action, when you discover that your son is abusing substances, is to seek help for him immediately. Waiting is not an option. Early treatment can subvert a lifelong addiction and alter your son’s future for the better like nothing else can.

The Warning Signs of Addiction

Unfortunately, addictions are not always easily recognizable, particularly if you don’t have any idea what substance your son may be abusing. While signs of use will vary from one drug to another, some universal signs of addiction can indicate the need for treatment:

  • Changes in behavior
  • Withdrawing from social activities and peers, or acquiring a new group of friends
  • A loss of interest in hobbies once enjoyed
  • Changes in mood
  • Experiencing difficulties at work and/or school
  • Getting into legal trouble or being caught with an illegal substance
  • Changes in hygiene or personal appearance
  • Changes in personality

While none of the above definitively indicates that an addiction is present, they are warning signs that your attention is needed and drugs or alcohol may be a part of the problem. Contact us at Muir Wood today to learn more about your options in teen-focused rehabilitation.