According to research, there are around 28 million Americans who are children of alcoholics, which does not account for those with parents abusing other drugs. One of the main reasons addicted parents do not seek help is because they either can’t afford residential rehab or they do not want to leave their children. Many also have concerns that they will lose custody of young children if they are recognized as having substance abuse issues.
For these parents, outpatient drug treatment programs can provide a vital lifeline that can lead them to recovery.
A typical outpatient drug treatment program meets from three to five times a week at times that are convenient for parents with children at school or with work responsibilities and patients can remain at home. This enables parents to get the help they need without having to leave their children for an extended period of time.
Why Addicted Parents Should Seek Outpatient Treatment
There is no typical profile of an addict. Addiction is a chronic relapsing illness that can affect people from all walks of life. The common denominator for all people with substance use disorder is that they initially started using drugs or alcohol as a conscious choice and this is something that levels the playing field among sufferers.
Women, in particular, can be prone to turning to substances for emotional reasons or as a way of self-medicating conditions such as post-natal depression. First-time mothers are particularly vulnerable to being overwhelmed by the sudden impact of giving birth to a heavily dependent baby they may have difficulties bonding with.
Fathers of newborn babies are also faced with a life-changing situation that many find hard to cope with. Some feel unable to help with the baby’s practical routine or be concerned about their feelings when they cry through the day and at night.
Ultimately parenthood places enormous pressures on an individual that sometimes leads to them seeking release from stress with alcohol or drugs. When substances become a crutch to help a person deal with daily childcare duties, an outpatient drug treatment program can help them considerably.
The Benefits of Outpatient Treatment Programs for Parents
Alcohol outpatient treatment programs are less time-intensive than residential rehab but this is for a reason. Parents are especially good candidates for outpatient substance abuse treatment programs because they get real-time support. Many need help to stop using substances so that they can focus entirely on their parental role. Parents benefit from the flexibility of an outpatient treatment program which allows them opportunities to focus on their mental health in their lives that are full of responsibilities for others.
Outpatient substance abuse treatment programs are a form of ongoing care that is generally available for as long as the individual requires it. Ultimately, parents are motivated and empowered by weekly outpatient therapy sessions so they are better able to care for their children substance-free.
Substance Detox for Addicted Parents
Detox is the vital first step of addiction treatment and is a process which expels alcohol and other substances from the body. In order to get the most benefits from rehabilitation, it is essential for individuals to be completely sober before starting the program. Because everyone is different, detox takes as long as it takes for the individual concerned.
Generally speaking, a person who has been abusing substances for some time or has developed more serious addiction is likely to have a more difficult withdrawal than a binge drinker for example. For the most part, people with more serious addiction issues are recommended to attend an inpatient detox program. This is mainly because some withdrawal symptoms for certain substances can be life-threatening, making it important that there are medical professionals on-hand throughout.
Although residential detox is recommended for most people, it is still possible for people with mild or moderate substance abuse problems to go through withdrawal on an outpatient treatment program. This is something that should be determined when the individual is first assessed by addiction therapists when they have decided to commit to a program.
A Better Understanding of Addiction
Whereas in the past people believed addiction to be a sign of moral weakness, it is now recognized as a chronic mental health condition. Substances have a mind-altering effect which is how they work to produce pleasant sensations but this also does considerable damage on an emotional, physical and psychological level over time.
Now that we have a better understanding of addiction, attitudes towards sufferers have changed significantly. Society is generally much more empathetic toward addiction than they were in the past. Over the years we have seen high-profile people fall victim to addiction illnesses, which has lifted the veil of secrecy to reveal it as a very human problem that can affect anyone.
For these reasons, parents should not be wary of committing themselves to addiction treatment, whether on an outpatient substance abuse treatment program or in a residential center. In fact, there is every reason to feel empowered by taking the incredibly difficult step of reaching out for help. Ultimately, parents need to take care of their own mental health before they are able to nurture their children and for an increasing number, alcohol outpatient treatment programs give them this opportunity.