How to Deal with a Drug Addict Daughter

Finding out that your daughter has become a drug addict has to one of the most heartbreaking things that can happen in a parent’s life. Most young women acquire the drug or alcohol habit while they are teenagers, and drug use among girls is now higher than it is among boys. Part of the problem undoubtedly lies in the underdeveloped state of the teen mind: because of the many changes going on at this time, only about half of the reasoning ability that is available to an adult is available to teens and this lack of discernment certainly must play a major role in drug use and subsequent addiction.

Why Girls Start Using Drugs

High school years are hardly carefree ones, and the stresses of school, finding a boyfriend, trying to be accepted by friends, and chafing at household rules all mean that some young women will begin to use drugs. There are several other factors that also contribute to this;

  • Teens are well known for their rebellious attitude, and taking drugs can make a high school girl feel like she is really ‘bucking the system’.
  • Some girls are simply curious about the effects of drugs. The internet and talk with their peers at school can have them wondering about how they would feel if they were high.
  • Worries over appearance or boyfriends can cause a girl to try to escape these problems, at least for a time.
  • Boredom can cause some girls to start using drugs, simply to pass the time.

Parents should always keep in mind that their daughter did not start using drugs with the goal of becoming an addict – the effect generally snowballs until the child has little control over her emotions, or the demands of her mind and body when more drugs are needed. The personality changes that accompany drug addiction will often leave parents feeling hurt, angry, and desperate. There are ways that drug addict daughters can return to normality, but the help of the family is usually needed.

Helping Your Daughter

Drugs will take a cheerful, happy daughter and turn her into some who lies, steals, and may even use her body to get drugs if money is not readily available. Parents should realize that abnormal behavior is caused by the drug and does not reflect the true personality of the young woman. As with any addicted family member, parents and siblings of a female drug addict must, if they sincerely want to help the girl recover, admit that the problem lies with the whole family, not just with the addict.

There are two factors that often delay or destroy the chances of the daughter drug addict becoming a normal person once again: denial and enabling.

  • Admitting that the lovely little girl who shed so much light into your life has now become a drug addict is very difficult for parents. However, facing that the daughter has become a drug addict is one of the essential steps to getting help for her and for the rest of the family.
  • Because of the love that parents and siblings have even for a prodigal daughter, they will often provide money to the addict. A weeping and desperate teen or young adult in need of a fix will certainly draw an emotional response from family members, even to the extent of giving her the money she needs for her drugs. Not only will this only prolong the problem, but it can also contribute to overdose or other physical problems that arise from addiction.

Whether or not the family agrees that addiction is a brain disease, it should be treated as such in order to help the daughter become drug-free. Once a certain amount of drugs have been taken, the chemistry of the brain becomes altered and it is actually impossible for the brain to produce the necessary neurotransmitters for normal mental activity. Drugs take the place of endorphins, the so-called feel-good hormones our brains produce; eventually the drug is needed simply to provide the hormones that the brain is no longer able to supply, which is why addicts are so frenzied when they need their next dose.

  • One of the most important things to always keep in mind is that the mother, father, and siblings should never put the needs of the daughter addict before their own. Each person is, ultimately, responsible for his or her own life.
  • Families should learn as much as they can about drugs so that they can understand the problem that the daughter faces. They should never shilly-shally, either, when speaking with the addict about her problem – be direct and to the point.
  • Therapy should be sought not only for the drug addict, but for the entire family. Drug addiction touches everyone in the household, and therapy can help sober family members deal more effectively with the problem as well as helping the addict overcome her dependency.
  • Encourage the addict to get treatment. Residential treatment centers probably have the highest rate of success, but even an outpatient treatment clinic or support group can provide the impetus for the addict to overcome her addiction.
  • Hide your disappointment and anger when the recovered addict starts using drugs or alcohol again after treatment. It usually takes several sessions of treatment before the addict will be able to face life without drugs.

Dealing with a daughter who is also a drug addict has the potential for being emotionally overcharged. Parents and siblings should always deal with the addict calmly and quietly, but they should never back down from the course that they and their counselor have decided upon. As difficult as it is to face that your daughter is now a slave to a drug, counseling, support, treatment, and love can help her to overcome her addiction and return to being the person she was before.

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