When drug addiction is suspected, there should be a focused effort to help youth overcome their problem with caring and effective treatment. It is important not to let the addiction continue while hoping the child can stop on their own. Consider the information in this definitive guide for parents of drug and alcohol addicts.

Drug addiction is very dangerous and can have lasting effects on any life, with youths being effected dramatically. Drug addiction problems can affect the entire family as well as the individual. The parents of drug addicts may be affected by their children’s drug dependency issues, even if their children are adults.

However, helping teenagers or younger children through drug addiction problems is very different from helping an adult experiencing the same challenges. Children and adolescents need guidance and a caring approach to assist them with getting the treatment they need to get back on track and have a happier, healthier life.

As such, some parents may have to modify their approaches over time since adolescent drug addiction problems can sometimes persist into young adulthood. Addressing these issues is the best way to ensure they have the best outcome.

This strategy works by getting support from other parents of children and youth who struggle with addiction. The parents of drug addicts frequently support one another and they will always have to take the ages of their drug-dependent children into account when offering each other advice.

Remember that no two children or young adults face the same problems and obstacles when addressing their addictions. It is also just as important to keep certain truths about young drug-addicted patients in mind. Consider the following facts to help expand your understanding of how addiction begins and is maintained throughout their formative years.

Understanding Youth Substance Addiction Risk Factors

The topic of youth drug addiction is complex and requires some insight. The misconceptions related to youth drug addiction can make this complicated and emotional issue even more difficult for the addicts and their family members. Some parents may hold themselves responsible for the addictions of their children.

Your path to recovery is waiting
and we’re here to help.

Our admissions specialist are available 24/7 to listen to your story
and get you started with next steps.

Why call us?

However, there are usually some underlying problems faced outside of the home or factors that parents are unaware of that can spark increasing drug or alcohol use in youth.

Drug addiction is a complex enough issue that it is often difficult to anticipate who becomes an addict and why. While still an issue in the United States, teen addiction rates have demonstrated a positive decline across the country. However, that does not mean that teens are less susceptible to exposure to drugs and alcohol.

There are still many factors related to drug and alcohol use in a case-by-case instance. Below, we take a look at some notable risk factors related to drug addiction in youth.

Substance Use and Income

The connection between substance use and income is less clear than many people believe. It is still widely believed that substance use problems are specific issues for the lower socioeconomic classes. There is some evidence, however, that students who are in higher classes are around twice as likely to experience drug addiction problems compared to the average.

Around 80 percent of individuals in the higher socioeconomic classes use alcohol. However, about 64 percent of adults across every income level in the United States consistently consume alcohol, making it seem as if this is an issue with a relatively weak correlation with social class.

There is ample opportunity across the board for youth to access and use illegal drugs and alcohol; no one is exempt from exposure or addiction simply because of their income and/or social class.

Substance Use and Education

Students at all achievement levels can have issues with substance dependence. Parents who believe that their high-achieving children are incapable of having substance use problems might be ignoring a very real issue. Similarly, parents should not assume that a child who struggles academically will eventually develop a substance use disorder.

Making assumptions based on academic performance is not an accurate way to judge risks related to potential drug use. Any youth is at risk because they may use substances to increase performance or escape pressures put on them by their family, friends, and peers. In contrast, other youths may try to escape their inability to focus or to perform because of various factors like family life, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), social pressure, and more.

Substance Use and Home Stability

Even individuals who have stable home lives might develop substance use disorders, particularly if they have their own mental health issues. Mental health issues account for many people self-medicating with substances. This is especially true for teens who have no insight related to mental illness or want to cover up their issues. Substances seem to offer an escape from their undying problems.

While young people who have uncertain living situations might be somewhat more likely to have other mental health issues, including substance addiction problems, people can have those issues despite their home circumstances. Lack of stability in the home is not a clear indicator of drug use risk; however, it is worth mentioning that it is sometimes a contributing factor.

Do not ignore any factors for risk or noticeable changes that point to potential use. Those who notice a sudden behavior change when a child or adolescent’s home life is in turmoil may want to begin asking questions and try to help determine if they have a current issue with substance use.

Supportive Parents Can Help Substance-Dependent Patients of All Ages

A total of 159,000 American adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 sought treatment for substance use problems in 2018. However, at least 863,000 people within this age group simply could not get the treatments they required. This should be notable when parents review the statistics related to adolescent drug problems. A caring approach that provides a safe and secure way to aid in providing help is the best way to prevent children from falling into this statistic.

It is also important to note that 55.8 percent of adolescents report that they primarily avoided drugs because they were concerned about how their parents would react to their drug use.

Parents may feel as if their children ignore them, but adolescents do take their parents’ concerns seriously regarding drug use. This is why it is important to have conversations about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Share the risks surrounding addictions to these substances and how substances can impact their lives in the long-term.

Adult children still often long for parental approval. However, adults who are facing substance use problems may also need financial support from their parents. It is increasingly common for adult children, in general, to rely on their parents for financial support. In many cultures, this situation arises for adults who have mental health challenges of all kinds.

Parents who can offer the right support put their children in the best position to avoid substance use. It is important to let children know they can depend upon their parents to provide them with the support they need when facing addictions and need stable support and recovery treatment.

Many resources are available for parents to help their children find treatment and ongoing support to ensure they overcome the issues and move on with a happier and healthier life.

Any parent who has a child or adolescent with a substance use problem should take advantage of every available resource to help them start on the road to recovery as soon as possible. Time is essential when youth need addiction treatment. The longer the use goes on, the more risk they face in struggling with long-term addictions.

Assisting Drug-Addicted Teens and Adults

Many people still believe that those addicted to substances have to lose almost everything to begin their journey in recovery. Parents might worry about their adult children getting to that point and they may wonder what this would even entail for younger children.

Fortunately, this is not true; actually, with the right support and attention, many who face drug addiction have great potential to recover before they do significant damage to their mental and physical health. The following factors allow them to recover without a drastic, “hitting rock bottom,” moment.

Parental Support

Parental support is one of the key components in helping get children and adolescents the treatment they need to overcome and recover from their addiction. Regardless of age or what factors contribute to the use, the parent’s support and encouragement greatly impact the person’s overall recovery. They have a better chance of success when they know they can count on their parents to help them through hard times.

Access to Insurance

Having access to insurance can help significantly. Parents can ensure they help their children by providing them access to insurance or securing assistance and funding for treatment to overcome their addiction. Financial support goes a long way to securing the treatments they need and getting them started on the road to recovery.


Counseling is an ongoing process to help those with addiction begin their recovery process and all the ups and downs that come with it over time. Counseling helps them articulate their issues, learn more about themselves, and identify contributing factors related to their addiction. It is one of the best tools for helping ensure they stay sober for years to come.

Effective Treatment

To begin the process of recovery, parents must ensure there is an effective treatment plan in place. Not all treatments are the same and it is vital to find the program best suited for their recovery needs and particular situation. The best way to find the proper treatment is to work with a center like Cardinal Recovery. The expert staff can accurately assess each case and help find the right treatment plan for each person.

Substance use patients who have social and emotional support are more likely to recover than other individuals. Parents providing their adult children with shelter and financial support as they recover are not necessarily enabling their children or causing their addiction to persist. Instead, a solid parental support system allows for the child to focus on recovery.

Early and Late Addiction

Parents who recognize an addiction to substances in its early stages will be more likely to help their children through it successfully. The longer the use goes on, the more challenging it is to provide the necessary treatment.

There is also the risk of overdose and other health issues with addictions. Some adults with substance use disorders can still receive treatment at an outpatient level, which enables them to maintain employment throughout treatment processes while addressing the issues stemming from their addiction. Even individuals who need inpatient treatment may still be able to complete their program relatively quickly and successfully, especially if they have support from their families.

Adults who develop problems with substance addictions are more likely to recover than adolescents who do so and every year during an adolescent’s neurological development matters.

The people who become addicted to substances during their early adolescent years will experience more pronounced problems than those who become addicted in their later adolescent years. Adults have fully developed brains after the age of twenty-five, giving them more resilient brain chemistry.

However, the brain is relatively good at healing itself at all ages if given the time to heal. Individuals addicted to substances who have that opportunity can move forward at any age. It is never too late to seek help; anyone can recover, regardless of how early they began using or how long they use substances.

Suggested Reading: Guide for Loved Ones

Reach Out

Is your child suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol? We understand the pain that you are going through and we are here to help. Reach out to Cardinal Recovery today to get the assistance necessary to begin the process of treatment for your loved one and get on the road to a happier life.