Parental Self-Care in Crisis: Navigating Emergency Situations in Your Young Adult’s Addiction Journey

Parental Self-Care in Crisis: Navigating Emergency Situations in Your Young Adult’s Addiction Journey

As parents, we tend to forget about ourselves, especially when our kids are in trouble. For many parents, this doesn’t change, even as their kids grow into adults. If your young adult child is suffering through an addiction, you are likely in a high crisis mode where nearly all your time and energy is being put toward your child.

While you may see helping your child as your top priority, you can’t forget parental self-care. Someone who is overly stressed, sleep deprived, and emotionally spent will not be an effective helper. Prioritizing your own self-care in times of crisis will help you be better prepared to support your young adult through any emergency situations that arise.

Understanding Crisis Moments

Having an addiction can be a crisis all on its own. However, many people suffering with an addiction also experience additional problems or crisis moments along the way. One of the most common co-occurring problems is a mental health crisis.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than one in four adults with mental health problems also have a substance use problem. These issues occur most frequently in adults with:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Schizophrenia

Another common risk factor that can exacerbate an addiction or make someone more likely to relapse is stress. For young adults, recent negative life events including parental conflict, divorce, or low parental support can lead to increased stress and increased addiction vulnerability.

These crisis moments can take a toll on you as a parent, and you might feel guilt and your own stress as you navigate through these situations.

Creating an Emergency Plan

The best course of action to decrease stress and avoid some crisis moments with your young adult child is to create an emergency plan. This gives you a course of action, so you know what to do when an emergency happens. Your emergency plan should include the following:

  • Crisis triggers: What might cause a substance-use crisis. This could be people, places, things, or even feelings.
  • Crisis manifestations: What symptoms or behaviors might appear during an emergency. Learn to recognize the early signs of relapse.
  • Preventative resources: Have the contact information for professional help (doctors, therapists, sponsors, etc.) easily accessible. Changing their physical surroundings (immersing yourself in nature), exercising, and attending support group meetings can help alleviate a crisis.
  • Exit plan: Create predetermined exit strategies for situations that might threaten the recovery process. For example, if your child goes to dinner with friends and they suggest going to a bar afterwards, what is he going to do? He could decide he’s going to text another friend who comes up with an “emergency” that needs taken care of.

It’s important to always keep the emergency plan up to date. If triggers change or a relapse happens, you will need to update the plan.

Parental Self-Care: Prioritizing Mental Health

With all the worries you have for your child, your mental health is likely suffering. Just as you want your child to prioritize their mental health, you need to do the same, especially during times of crisis. This is one of the most important parts of parental self-care. Many parents of children with substance use disorders seek professional mental health of their own from a therapist, doctor, or psychologist. There are also support groups for parents that can be helpful.

Ease Your Parental Burden with Support from a Sober Living Home

Sharing the mental load of worry about your children can help make crisis moments more manageable and less of an emergency. If your child live in a sober living home, like Ethos Recovery, you can feel reassured that he is in a safe, supportive environment equipped to deal with substance use crises.

Contact us today to learn more about sober living at Ethos Recovery.