How Do I Help My Adult Child Addicted to Xanax and Alcohol?
Being addicted to Xanax and alcohol is a dangerous situation. These two substances are harmful when misused separately, but they are particularly risky when used together. If your adult child is struggling to stop drinking and using sedatives, it is essential that you do whatever you can to support them. Encourage a diagnosis; help them get into residential treatment; participate in treatment as needed; and provide a safe home and non-judgmental relationship for the transition from rehab.
Helping an adult child struggling with addiction to any substance can be extremely challenging. But, although an adult, your child needs you now more than ever. Learn more about addiction to alcohol and Xanax so you can push your child to seek a diagnosis and professional treatment. Continue to be there to support your child during rehab and after, when they will still need you.
When you feel helpless and as if there is nothing you can do to help your son or daughter, a good place to start is learning more about their illness. When you know more about alcohol, Xanax, and substance use disorders you will have a better idea where to go next, how to communicate with your child, and how to be more compassionate and less judgmental.
Xanax and other related sedatives are used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. They decrease activity in the brain to induce a calmer state. These medications are not designed to be used over a long period of time. They are considered to be habit-forming, and any use beyond what is prescribed by a doctor is considered misuse. People misuse Xanax to feel calm and relaxed, and sometimes get addicted to the sensations it produces.
A dangerous combination is Xanax and alcohol. It’s not uncommon, though. A person may start misusing one in order to reduce anxiety and worry and then find over time that it isn’t enough. Adding the other substance intensifies the calming effect, but is also very dangerous. The additive effects of alcohol and Xanax increase the risk of harmful and adverse events, like impaired function, drowsiness, memory loss, dizziness, and even overdose.
If your adult child is struggling with a substance use disorder, it means that their use of one or both of these substances has gotten out of control. They may try to use less, but fail; spend a lot of time and money on substance use; give up other activities due to drug use or drinking; develop a tolerance; use drugs in harmful situations; and even go through withdrawal when not using or drinking.
Talk About Getting a Diagnosis
It can be challenging to talk anyone into believing they have a problem with drugs or alcohol. When it’s your adult child, it may be even more difficult. For you it’s hard to face; for your child it’s difficult to listen to mom or dad.
While your son or daughter may not want to listen to you or take your concerns seriously, they are more likely to listen to a professional, an expert in addiction. Push for them to see someone for a diagnosis. Then, you can say that if you’re wrong and that it really isn’t a big deal, they’ll find out from someone who really knows.
Of course, what you know is that the diagnosis is likely to be substance use disorder. But for an adult addicted to Xanax and alcohol, taking this first step is essential. It helps them to recognize the problem they really have and begins the path to recovery by providing a framework for a treatment plan to be constructed.
Stop Enabling Behaviors
Another important thing you can do to help your child, especially if they are struggling to admit to having a problem, is to take a look at your own actions. Without realizing it, you may be enabling their problematic behaviors. What you do out of love could actually be preventing them from getting help.
For example, if you bail your child out of financial issues caused by drug use or cover for them by taking care of their missed responsibilities, you are not letting them fully feel the negative consequences of addiction. Let your child really see and experience the difficult repercussions of using drugs and alcohol. Let them fail and see that they have been relying on you to keep going. This can be the push some people need to get help.
Offer Treatment Options for Alcohol and Xanax Addiction
Help your son or daughter by providing options for treatment. Simply pointing out that they have a problem and need to stop using drugs and drinking is not enough. They may feel lost, unsure what to do next, even if they do realize there is a problem. Do your research and come up with some facilities for treatment.
A great option for someone addicted to Xanax and alcohol is to commit to going to a residential treatment center, or rehab. Research indicates that effective treatment needs to last for at least three months. Treatment is also most effective when it addresses all behavioral and mental health issues. Residential care can provide long-term treatment and diagnosis and treatment of any other mental illnesses your adult child may have.
Treatment for co-occurring substance disorders should include an individualized plan, which is what your adult child can expect in a residential facility. There will be personalized care from a team of professionals with expertise in different areas. Treatment should include individual behavioral therapy, group support, medical care, and a variety of alternative and complementary therapies.
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Support Your Child in Rehab
Once your adult child is safely in treatment you can still help by supporting them. Patients in rehab benefit from having their families involved in appropriate ways. For instance, you may be asked to participate in family therapy sessions. These can help you both learn to communicate better and address any underlying issues to strengthen your relationship.
You may even benefit yourself and your child by participating in your own therapy or support groups. The loved ones of those struggling with addiction often also need help, and in getting support you become stronger and better prepared to help your son or daughter.
Provide a Safe Home, With Boundaries
Once your adult child’s treatment in rehab is concluded, they will need a safe transition back home. If possible, provide that home. It should be safe in that there will be no access to drugs or alcohol, but there is also much more you can provide. Be part of a positive support system that helps your adult child make better lifestyle choices.
It’s also important to set boundaries. It can be all too easy to slip back into old patterns and habits, so both you and your son or daughter must agree to rules and boundaries that will avoid any regression and minimize the risk of relapse. For example, if you both agree that certain old friends who still use drugs or alcohol will not be allowed to come around, you need to stick by it.
Helping your adult child with a Xanax and alcohol addiction will not be easy. Expect to come across challenges, even as you try your best to be supportive. The most important thing you can do, though, is to try. You may fail at times, but your child needs you now to be encouraging, to listen without judgment, and to push them to get professional treatment.
Alta Mira offers comprehensive treatment for people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders and process addictions. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Bay Area programs and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward lasting recovery.