Addiction isn’t always easy to recognize in those we love. People who have an addiction may exhibit any range of behaviors depending on the types of addiction. But as a parent, you must know how to spot addiction in your child so that you can get them the help they need to overcome it.
What Is Addiction?
When you hear the term addiction, you might think of drugs. But addiction is much broader. Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by a compulsion to do something even though you know it has severe consequences.
Addiction professionals often look at the effects on five aspects of life to determine if a person has an addiction. Those are:
- Important relationships
- Health (mental, physical, and/or emotional)
- Career or school
- Safety (e.g., doing illegal things or putting yourself in unsafe scenarios)
Is your child experiencing negative consequences in one of these areas because of something they’re doing? But they appear unable to quit?
They may have a diagnosable addiction.
As a parent, knowing this takes the guesswork out of identifying addiction. Just because your adult child continues to get good grades or go to work doesn’t mean they don’t have an addiction if relationships, finances, or safety has been impacted by the use, for example.
How Does Addiction Alter the Brain
It doesn’t matter so much what the addiction is. They all alter the brain physically.
Your brain is filled with neural pathways. As you do something repeatedly, particular channels get stronger. Then the stronger a given path becomes, the harder stopping something becomes.
Addictive activities often target the reward center of the brain. As a result, the brain creates solid brain pathways more quickly. Then add to this the powerful brain-altering chemicals found in drugs and alcohol, and you have some hazardous types of addiction.
Drugs cause severe mental and physical dependencies. And in turn, they may make a person feel like they’re dying if they go too long without the drug.
The Two Types of Addiction
The two basic types of addiction are behavioral addiction and alcohol or drug addiction, which often overlap. Behavioral addiction includes things like:
- Internet activities (including social media, porn, online shopping, etc.)
- Free games with in-app purchases
Each of these targets the reward center in the brain, strengthening the compulsion. But remember, the activity alone may not be a problem. It’s only addiction if the one you love can’t quit even though it’s negatively impacting their life.
Substance addictions include addiction to things like:
- Prescription painkillers
These substances are highly addictive because they target the reward center and create dependence. You might notice different behaviors depending on the drug being used.
For example, if your loved one is using Adderall, they may seem hyper-alert and focused. On the other hand, someone on heroin may sleep a lot and become scarily thin. In both cases, the drugs are dangerous even if one sounds better than the other.
Many parents choose to intervene before the behavior becomes addiction through teen or young adult treatment. Early intervention can prove useful. But parents need to understand that because the child hasn’t yet experienced negative consequences, it may be hard for them to grasp why they need treatment.
Professionals can help your child understand by walking them through those five areas being impacted by addiction.
How Phoenix Rising in Palm Springs Can Help
Phoenix Rising Treatment Center offers individualized and holistic treatment through our substance abuse programs, such as:
- Alcohol Addiction Rehab Center
- Benzo Addiction Rehab Center
- Heroin Addiction Rehab Center
- Opioid Addiction Rehab Center
On our four-acre ranch, we help your adult child overcome addiction through a variety of evidence-based therapies like talk therapy combined with complementary therapies like equine (horse) therapy and group activities. Through our addiction programs, the child you love can learn to manage their addiction and renew their life.
No parent should have to watch helplessly as their child suffers from types of addiction. Addiction treatment program built to meet your loved one’s unique needs can generate renewal of body, mind, and spirit. Call us at 855.232.8211 to explore your options.