When to Leave a Young Family to Seek Treatment

When to Leave a Young Family to Seek Treatment

Getting help for your addiction can give your children a better future

The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress states that the children of alcoholics and substance abusers are anyone whose parents or parental caregivers use alcohol or drugs in such ways that cause problems for the children. These children may still live with their addicted parents or be separated from them by rehab or legal decree that declares such separation necessary. When young children live in an environment of addiction, that environment often has a detrimental effect on the child’s life. Not all children of addicted parents grow up to become addicts themselves, but children of addicted still endure emotional trauma that can leave scars that cripple future endeavors.

In other words, getting the right kind of treatment for your addiction is the best way to care for your children, even if it means being away from her for a time. If you are healthy, then you can provide healthy care for your family, so seek help today to get and stay clean from drugs.

Children of Addicted Parents

The children of addicted parents live with trauma each and every day. Whether or not they are directly exposed to their parent’s substance of choice, they feel the effects of drug abuse as soon as the addicted parent walks through the front door. Young children are unable to process what is happening around them, so they often respond to their feelings by acting out, bed wetting, fear of the dark, fear of strangers and other indicators of extreme stress. Understand how your addiction impacts your children and take steps to change, because then you will provide the best gift you can. Although you may think that being away from your children for any length of time will be too hard on them, coming back to the family healthy and in recovery is well worth being separated for a little while.

According to the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, a parent’s addiction literally interrupts the normal development of his child. This interruption means that children who witness substance abuse have higher risks for physical, emotional and mental health problems later in life. Parents who struggle with substance abuse are more likely to be involved with domestic violence, divorce, legal problems and mental illness, which mean their children are more likely to be exposed to these life-altering situations as well. The children of substance abusers are also more likely to experience both physical and sexual abuse: children of drug users are six times more likely to witness spousal abuse than other children. Stress-related health problems (such as digestive issues, headaches, migraines and asthma) cause school attendance to drop significantly in children whose parents abuse drugs or alcohol.

Child abuse and neglect, as well as incest, have been linked to parental alcohol abuse. Somewhere between 12 and 70 percent of child abusers have been identified as alcoholics at some point (CITATION). Significant drug or alcohol intake during pregnancy has also been shown to cause a variety of birth defects, as well as fetal alcohol syndrome when children are exposed to the substance in utero.

Treatment Options for Families

Treatment for drug or alcohol addiction can be done in two ways: outpatient and residential programs. Outpatient programs are often the first step to getting help, because they offer flexibility for people who need to maintain a job while also working toward recovery. This treatment option is also convenient for people who are not yet ready to take the bigger step of leaving their families for a time. Outpatient treatment often reveals the need for an inpatient approach as the family works through the process of finding the best plan for their unique situation.

Inpatient programs have the advantage of allowing addicts to focus fully on recovery. They typically last for 30, 60 or 90 days depending on insurance coverage and each individual’s needs. Inpatient programs provide individual and group therapy sessions, as well as family therapy, nutrition and exercise programs, meditation and other holistic approaches. This treatment option is one of the best available for long-term recovery.

After treatment ends, your facility will help you find an ongoing support group. Ongoing support is crucial to rehab success, because such groups provide safe places to share feelings, failures and successes from the recovery journey. This type of accountability with people who have had similar experiences can keep you on the path to healing.

Find Help for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Although it may be difficult to leave your young family for a prolonged period of time, getting the addiction help you need is the best way to care for those you love. Your children will grow up healthier and happier with a parent who is clean and sober, so, if you or a loved one struggles with addiction, then we can help. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.