If you have parents addicted to cocaine you may be unsure of what to do. This is a difficult situation that you should not have to be in charge of. We are so sorry that you are going through this, and it is extremely unfair to you. However, you are incredible for wanting to seek help for your parents. Depending on your age there is only so much you can do, therefore would love to help with this situation.
There is drug counseling available for parents addicted to cocaine and treatment centers where they can become sober. If you are able to involve a family member or other trusted individual, then call us today at 912-214-3867. There are resources available to help your parents addicted to cocaine and your overall family situation.
If you are not having enough to eat or aren’t being provided warm clean clothes, or if you are not going to school because no one is waking you in the morning, it is very important that you tell the people around you. Keep talking and speaking up until someone understands that your situation is real. Don’t stop fighting for yourself. You can do make a difference by being an active participant in your own rescue. We are here for you and so many other people are too.
Why Your Parents Are Using Cocaine
There could be several reasons why your parents are using cocaine. Addiction is a nasty business that can overtake anyone. Try to envision addiction as a disease that you cannot control. Your parents are probably exhibiting behavior that has turned them into a person you do not recognize. This is due to the chemical qualities of cocaine. Continued use of this substance starts to change the brain’s functions. It soon creates an addiction, which is the inability to stop using the substance. This is really scary and you might not know what is happening.
There might be a reason for their addiction. Parents addicted to cocaine might have biological, environmental, or developmental risk factors for addiction. The more risk factors an individual has, the greater chance they have of forming an addiction. The biological risk factor involves the genes that your parents were born with. These can account for half of the reason your parents are addicted to cocaine. Along with the presence of mental disorders, their ethnicity, and gender can also greatly influence the variables. An environmental risk factor means that your parents could be influenced due to what and who they surround themselves with. Possibilities such as peer pressure, early exposure to drugs, or physical and sexual abuse can lead them to addiction.
The environmental and genetic factors can then affect the separate stages of development throughout one’s life. Resulting in using cocaine as a coping mechanism, social activity, or way to escape. With continued habitual use, an addiction can form unintentionally. All of this is to say, it is not your fault. Don’t ever blame yourself for your parent’s decisions. Whatever factor caused them to get addicted to cocaine that was their choice. Know that you are not alone and that there is help to fix this situation.
Short-Term Signs of Cocaine Use
Children of addicted parents might not know the signs and symptoms of drug abuse. It is helpful to be educated on how cocaine affects the brain and body in order to be on the lookout for symptoms. When cocaine enters the brain, it interferes with the natural chemical called dopamine. It is a messenger in the brain circuits that involves how we understand pleasure and rewards.
Cocaine causes dopamine to build up in one place and flood the brain. This chemical teaches our brain’s reward system that this drug is good. This is because the brain is accidentally registering it as a positive behavior that should be reinforced. Therefore, the brain encourages these behaviors around the drug causing a tolerance to form. Leading to the user having to increase the dosage they take in order to feel the same pleasure. The more this occurs the more likely an addiction will form.
Parents addicted to cocaine are most likely struggling with the addictive properties and don’t know how to stop using cocaine for fear of the withdrawal symptoms. If you suspect one of your parents is using cocaine there are short-term side effects that you can witness. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, parents addicted to cocaine will exhibit:
- Extreme happiness and energy
- Hypersensitivity to light, sound, and touch
- Paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
- Dilated pupils
If you have been noticing any of these factors there is a chance that your parents are addicted to cocaine. You need to involve another trusted family member, a school teacher or counselor, and tell them what is going on. Remember you can not stop your parents from doing this and it is better to involve another adult.
Long-Term Signs of Cocaine Use
Parents addicted to cocaine for a long period of time will have more drastic signs and symptoms of cocaine use. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, long term effects from cocaine use are in reference to how the drug is being used. For example:
- Loss of smell
- Frequent runny nose
- Problems with swallowing
- Respiratory distress
- Higher risk of infections like pneumonia
- Consuming by mouth
- Sores in mouth
- Severe bowel decay from reduced blood flow
- Needle injection
- Higher risk for contracting HIV
- Hepatitis C and other bloodborne diseases
- Skin or soft tissue infections
- Collapsed veins
You might be curious as to why your parents continue to use this harmful substance, especially if it’s causing long-term problems. The reasoning behind a person using drugs varies. Regardless of what made your parents start using cocaine, they will need help very soon if they are exhibiting these long-term symptoms. If they are not responding to your help, it is time to call us, a trusted family member, or a trusted friend to help with this situation. If you are being harmed in any way by words or physical actions call 911. There is help for you to escape this situation. You don’t need to be facing this alone.
The Role of the Family
Family plays an important role when it comes to parents addicted to cocaine. The family can either help, be hurt, or continue the cycle of drug addiction. Drug-addicted parents affect children because of the examples they are setting. Addicted parents can sometimes guide their children into following in their footsteps unintentionally. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. The family can instead turn this situation around and stop the cycle here and now. Even though you are younger, it doesn’t mean you can’t help. The role of the family tends to be supporting the person who is struggling. If it is one parent or both parents, you get to support them.
The first step is talking about their addiction to someone else. It will be hard and scary but it has to be addressed out in the open. Tell either a close friend’s mother or father, a teacher from school, or any adult you have in your life that you trust about what you have seen, heard, and experienced. This opens the door to talk about what steps can be taken. The hope is that your parents will receive the treatment, rehab, and therapy that they need to heal.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “the family has a central role to play in the treatment of any health problem, including substance abuse. Family can be a source of help to the treatment process. Meeting the challenge of working together will call for mutual understanding, flexibility, and adjustments among the substance abuse treatment provider, family therapist, and family”.
These steps can be implemented once another adult or professional is involved. Don’t address your parents on your own about their addiction. It is better to involve someone else who you trust to help you.
Social environments and who people socialize with can have a great influence on their life. They can either encourage good or bad behavior, judge, support. When you surround yourself with a good crowd of people who want the best for you, they can help influence you to make healthy choices.
Social support can actually improve the success of treatment. There are some cases where people recovered on their own at home and never went to a treatment center. This is because of the influence of their social circle and identity came into conflict with the drug use. Therefore, they stopped abusing the substance. It is not as easy as it sounds, however, it still was a lightbulb moment for the user. They consciously made the decision to stop because it was changing their social identities and friendships. Real love and support from one’s social circle can dramatically change a person. It is often the key ingredient in recovery.
A study called “Social Identities as Pathways into and out of Addiction” was conducted by Genevieve A. Dingle, Tegan Cruwys, and Daniel Frings. They observed people who recovered unassisted from treatment centers. According to the study, “sober networks that include occupational roles and peers have been found to support and destigmatize the recovery process of individual members. People with substance use disorders lose important social identities with the onset of addiction and they are motivated to restore these lost identities during recovery”.
In summary, involve your parent’s community! Once you have another adult involved you can mention this to them. After your parents have been treated for a while they can begin to integrate back into their healthy social communities. Your addicted parents will be reminded of what their sober life looks like. It will remind them of who they are without cocaine and how they are loved and supported by these people.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment Programs
The hope is that one of the methods worked and your parent or parents are ready to sit down with a professional and look at treatment programs. There are several that are offered and it will all depend on the severity of your parent’s addiction. By calling our number we can help walk you through this process instead of you having to guess.
According to the United States Office of Personnel Management, your parents addicted to cocaine should consider:
- Detoxification programs
- Inpatient Treatment
- Outpatient Treatment
All of these programs are essentially drug counseling for parents. It is a safe and healthy process that is tailored to your parent’s needs. The detoxification process can be accomplished in its own facility, it could be part of an inpatient treatment center, or it can be done at home. Detox happens when the body flushes out the substance. It is highly recommended this be done under medical supervision.
Inpatient treatment is where your parents would physically go to a residential program. Parents addicted to cocaine will learn about the disease of addiction and what it does to the brain. Drug counseling for parents is essential because it makes their situation a reality. They will attend group therapy sessions and slowly but surely become stabilized. These programs usually last a month.
Outpatient treatment is where your parents will attend daily counseling and treatment at a clinic or office. This program can be utilized after detoxification. It will include education about the disease and therapies similar to inpatient therapy. These sessions can be attended as long as needed.
Reach Out for Help
It is never too late to seek help. Call us today! We can walk you through all of these options and see what is best for your parents. Healing is right around the corner. Utilize any and all adults in your life that you know and trust. If you are not having enough to eat or aren’t being provided warm clean clothes, or if you are not going to school because no one is waking you in the morning, tell the people around you. Keep talking and speaking up until someone understands that your situation is real. Don’t stop fighting for yourself. You can do make a difference by being an active participant in your own rescue. We are here for you and so many other people are too.
Written by Julia Bashaw
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