24 Apr Family Support for Addictions in Vancouver
Addiction is a disease, and like all diseases, it doesn’t just go away by itself – it needs treatment. Every parent’s worst fear is that their child is doing drugs, and if they discover that this is a fact, they will experience a deluge of emotions, including fear, desperation, guilt, shame and anger.
According to Stats Canada 60% of illicit drug users in Canada are between the ages of 15 and 24.
All kids are at risk of drug abuse, the problem is not limited to children from impoverished communities. Teens from across all social levels are at risk of drug use. Some teens take drugs to fit in with the crowd, to demonstrate their independence or to overcome stress, anxiety, depression, or even just boredom.
Once you know for a fact that your child is doing drugs, you know that you must take action, but you might be worried that whatever you do or say will push your child further away. Fortunately, there are many family support groups and addiction services in Vancouver that can help you take the necessary steps that will help your child.
The first thing you must understand is that there are many factors that lead to an addiction, and although family dynamic may play a role, it is certainly not the only cause. This is not the time for self-blame, and feeling guilty or ashamed will not help your child, but there are several steps you can take to help your family through intervention and treatment.
Careful communication is key to engaging your child in a conversation about treatment; however, in an emotional situation you may not have the skills to stay calm throughout this difficult conversation. The most sensible step you can take at this stage is to engage the help of an interventionist. An interventionist can help you prepare for the initial conversation to ensure that it is effective and not merely confrontational.
You should also learn as much as you can about the addiction including how different drugs affect the brain, the body, and the behaviour of the addict. By being informed you will be able to distance the behaviour from the youth. This can help remove an unhealthy cycle of anger and blame.
Another beneficial step you can take is to connect with understanding peers and/or professionals. We recognize that people with addiction problems can benefit from regular interaction with support groups, and so can their families. By sharing your concerns, and learning from the experiences of other families who are dealing with an addict, you will find it easier to cope. Helping a loved one recover from an addiction does not happen quickly, you will need support to help you through this long and difficult period.
There are many support groups in Vancouver for families of addicts; many of these groups are run by the government or church groups. An interventionist will have the information you need to access the group that can help your family.
In addition to a support group, go to regular family therapy sessions. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a family therapy program will help manage emotions and mitigate feelings of distrust, guilt, and stress. Families that do not recognize negative patterns will become aware of destructive habits. With professional help, they can be transformed into a family unit that is supportive, aware and understanding of each members’ emotional struggles.
Schedule some ‘me time’. To be able to be supportive, you must take care of yourself. Make sure you take the time for regular exercise to help relieve stress, pay attention to eating well and getting enough sleep. Don’t forget to schedule in some activities that bring you joy. It’s ok to be happy, the best way you can help your child through recovery is when you are in a good mental state; taking time for a little rest and relaxation will recharge your batteries and give you the strength you need to help your child without burning out.
Take some comfort from the fact that the addicts who make a full recovery from their addiction have had the support of family members who helped them through this difficult period.
If you suspect your child of drug abuse, or if you know that they have become addicted to drugs, call us today. Every day is one day closer to a fatality or recovery, but take courage, help is just a phone call away.