5 Ways To Know Your Parents Are Addicted

Posted by on Nov 19, 2012 in Addicted Parents |

Addicted Parents

5 Ways To Know Your Parents Are Addicted

It is becoming more and more common for adult children to discover their parent is using drugs. The prescription pill epidemic has resulted in people outside the usual “addict demographic” to abuse drugs.  Abuse of mind-altering prescription drugs by Americans 50 and older is projected to triple by 2020, according to a recent study. Empty nest syndrome, medical problems, deaths of close friends and family-these are all reasons why your parent may start abusing drugs late in life.

It may be hard to tell whether or not your parents are addicted. You may suspect it, but you don’t know for sure. It’s important to recognize what drug abuse looks like in an older adult. It may be different from what you expect. Here we’ve compiled a list of 5 ways to know if your parents are addicted.

1.) Frequent Falls: As we get older, balance is sometimes affected. Our legs are not as sure and strong. However, if your mom or dad starts falling or injuring themselves frequently, it can be a sign that your parents are addicted or at least misusing their medications.

2.) Unkempt, Sloppy Appearance: If you notice a sudden decline in your mom and/or dad’s appearance or personal hygiene, it may be a sign that one or both of your parents are addicted.

3.) Sleeping All Day: Most prescription drugs of abuse tend cause drowsiness.

4.) Frequently Misplaced Items: Drug abuse in older adults can sometimes manifest itself in forgetfulness. Take notice if your parent starts frequently misplacing things or seems mentally foggy. It could be a sign your parents are addicted.

5.) Lack of Interest in Activities: If your mom or dad suddenly seems uninterested in things they used to enjoy, it could be a sign your parents are addicted.

5 Ways To Know Your Parents Are Addicted: What can you do?

Keeping track of your parents’ medications is a good way to know what they are taking or if they have been prescribed narcotics. Some older adults are prescribed narcotic medications without really knowing what they are or the addiction potential. If your mom or dad is having surgery, it may be a good idea to review the post-surgical medication plan with the doctor.

The best thing you can do if you think your parents are addicted is get help yourself. Go to Alanon meetings or support groups. Alanon and other support groups can advise you on how to find help for your parents, how to confront them about the problem, what to do if they refuse to get help, how to help them without enabling them, and the group can give you vital emotional support.

It is important not to enable your parents if they are addicted. It can be the worst thing you could do for them and it can prevent them from getting help. Often, family members who think they are helping enable an addict to continue using drugs for far longer than they would’ve been able to if they weren’t being enabled. Most addicts who make a decision to change toward a path of recovery reached a point when they realized that their life was unmanageable or intolerable – when they literally could not continue in the way they had been and live. Enabling an addict allows them to have a life that is not only tolerable but may be pretty enjoyable. This is why enabling an addict actually prevents them from getting better.

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