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My mother is addicted to prescription medication. How do I help her get over her addiction?
Mother Suffering From Addiction - Freedom From Addicion
Q:

I think my mother is suffering from addiction to her prescription medication but seems not to realize it. How can I help her?

A:

Expressing your concerns about a loved ones’ drug use can be uncomfortable and scary. However, if you are concerned, it is important that you do talk about it in a way that allows your mother to hear you. She may or may not realize she has a problem yet.

When beginning the conversation, It is important to confirm that your mother is free and available to talk at the time. You might even want to schedule a time to talk to her to make sure that is the case. Designate a good time with limited distractions. Do your best to have the conversation when your mother is least likely to have taken her prescription or to be impaired.

Use “I statements” in communicating what you have observed and how her behavior or use has impacted you. Then, give your mother a chance to speak as well, while you listen. Do your best to make sure this is a two-way conversation.

You do not have to have just one conversation; this can be a series of conversations. How you handle this will depend on your mother’s reaction and ability to hear you at the moment.

Here Are Some Helpful Suggestions:

  1. Approach it as a problem of your own by using “I Statements” and feeling words. For example, you can say “I’m worried,” “I’m concerned,” “I’m afraid.”
  2. Continue to use “I” statement to show your support, such as “I care about you, I love you, and I’m worried about you.” Avoid using “you” statements like “you need help” or “you have a problem.”
  3. Anticipate that your loved one may retaliate with hurtful words such as tell you are the one that needs help, put you down, or say other hurtful things. This is a common response because they are on the defense and scared.

Keep in mind that your role is to provide support. You cannot fix your loved one or the situation. Avoid using statements that are judgmental or trying to tell them what to do. The conversation you are having with your loved is important. Use this opportunity to listen and respond, when appropriate, using encouraging words.

* All responses provided by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

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