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Having the Conversation When a Family Member is Abusing Drugs

Drug abuse doesn’t just affect the addict; it can cause long-term effects on the family. Whether it be from a spouse or child using drugs, it’s crucial to protect the rest of your family from their harmful lifestyle. Read about ways to protect your family from a drug abuser.

If a Spouse is Abusing Drugs

You may not have known if your spouse was abusing drugs but might have suspected. If so, your children may have been exposed to their lifestyle and may be too young to know or too scared to tell. If children are involved, you must protect them, especially if the spouse has become violent. The first thing to do is talk with your children. Let them know your spouse has a disease and that they are struggling, but they still love them. Tell them an age-appropriate explanation of what’s going on and that if the spouse gets angry or starts acting strangely, it’s not their fault and to let someone know. When your spouse shows signs of abuse, keep the kids away. Get your spouse help asap. A child can be emotionally traumatized by their behavior, so the sooner a spouse gets help, the better. Tell your children that Mom or Dad need help for their disease, so they will be at a place that can help them. Ask your kids if they have any questions and try to answer them. Also, if the abuse has been going on for a long time, children may need counseling, especially if the abuse directly involved them getting abused themselves. If a spouse exposed them to drugs or danger, the child might have emotional issues. If your spouse refuses to seek help, there’s no shame in kicking them out to protect your kids. Hopefully, they will want to get help, but if not, your kids come first. If needed, get a restraining order.

If a Sibling is Abusing Drugs

If a child has an addiction, sit down and tell their siblings. If the addict is a teen or young adult, don’t let a younger child alone with them. Tell your other children to let you know if and when they start acting up. It might be a good idea to let the children stay with friends or extended family so that you can talk to the child about their abuse. If one of the siblings was affected by the abuser, sit down and talk to them. If needed, call the police or a rehab center immediately. A judge may force the child into rehab, getting your other kids away from the situation. Children do not need to be in a toxic environment with a sibling abusing drugs. If the other children are old enough, enlist their help, so you’re not going through it alone—particularly if you’re a single parent. If the child is harming other family members or you, first, get the other children to safety, then contact the police. Protect yourself, so if they become violent, you remain safe. Don’t be afraid to use a weapon for self-defense.

Contact Ardu Recovery Center

If you suspect a family member is addicted to drugs, contact us, please. Even though an addict may not mean to harm someone, their addiction may cause them to lose control, which could put your family at risk. Protect your children, spouse, and you from the effects of drug abuse. Call our staff and let us get help for your loved one with our customized in-patient treatment.