Helping Parents Enter Substance Abuse Treatment

All generations are welcome to rehab at Sierra by the Sea.

A recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that admissions to substance abuse treatment by adults older than 50 nearly doubled between 1992 and 2008. That points to a growing trend among older adults to both admitting they have a problem with drug or alcohol abuse and a willingness to seek necessary treatment.

These may be reassuring facts to know if you are watching a parent struggle with drug or alcohol abuse. Getting a parent to admit they have a problem and enter treatment may not be easy, but it is worth trying to help them have a successful recovery. Here are some things you can do to help your parent enter substance abuse treatment:

Know Your Facts. Before you try and convince your parents that they should enter treatment, make sure they do actually have a problem with substance abuse. Watch their behaviors for signs of drug or alcohol abuse and take stock of how quickly they go through their prescription medication.

Have a Discussion. Talk to them about your concerns and why you think a problem exists. When you do this, make sure not to take an accusatory tone, but to instead be understanding and supportive. If your parent feels like you are on their side, they may be more willing to get help.

Get Confirmation. If you can’t get your parent to admit there is a problem, you’re not going to be able to get them into treatment. Don’t press them into admitting to a substance abuse problem but give them the time needed to make the realization. If they don’t, even after a reasonable amount of time, you may want to consider an intervention or having them speak with a treatment professional.

Parents are “At Risk”

Research Treatment Options. When you talk to your parents about entering substance abuse treatment, it’s a good idea to have some options available to them. Take time to research residential addiction treatment and outpatient treatment facilities in your area to determine what would work best for them. You can make a confidential call to a treatment facility to get more information about what would work best for your parents.
Be Supportive. Let your parent know that you understand how difficult this is for them, and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to help them recover from their disorder. Most treatment facilities have some type of family component to them, so be sure to let them know you will get involved so that you are on the same wavelength when it comes to their treatment.

Get Help. Approaching a parent with a substance abuse problem can be difficult. Get the help you need to do it by enrolling the help of a sibling, spouse, friend of your parent, another family member or your other parent so that you have some support too. It may also be easier for your parent to make a decision about entering treatment if they know there is a group of people around them who are caring and supportive.  Feel free to contact the specialists at Sierra by the Sea who have years of experience helping families get  a loved  one into treatment.

Recovering from substance use disorders is a challenging journey that feels more doable in an environment that tends to each individual’s complex needs and strengths. Our goal is to foster a treatment experience that is built on compassion, hope, and caring, and fueled by excellence in the provision of evidence-based and trauma-informed care.

– - Anonymous