How to Deal with a Drug Addict Daughter or Son

What Is a Drug Addiction?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains how drug addiction, also known as substance use disorder is a “relapsing brain disease.” This occurs when someone craves a substance and struggles to not use it. Besides the aforementioned signs of drug addiction, there are other signs to look out for that an addicted person may present:

Behavioral Signs

There may be differences in your child’s behavior when they are struggling with substance abuse:

  • Mood swings
  • Defensiveness or anger when asked about the drug abuse
  • Decline in social activities
  • Criminal behavior

Physical Signs:

In drug addiction, there may be physical changes that you should look out for:

  • Being tired more often
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Poor hygiene
  • A decline in memory or cognition
  • Headaches that do not go away

Causes of Drug Addiction

There is a multitude of factors that can cause drug abuse, whether it is environmental or co-occurring disorders. Here are some different reasons why your son or daughter may have a drug addiction:

  • Self-medication
  • Other mental health disorders
  • Lack of self-worth or esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lack of emotional support
  • Unstable relationships with family members

Along with these factors, gender can also play a massive role in your son or daughter’s addiction. A drug-addicted daughter may be more likely to misuse drugs if they have had physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime.

Drug or Alcohol Treatment

Substance abuse treatment for your addicted son or daughter is crucial for recovery. Whether they visit a treatment center or attend treatment programs, there are many options for parents.

  • Support groups – A support group is a great way for your addicted child to connect and feel less alone. It is also helpful if they have another mental illness, due to this potentially contributing to their drug addiction. A support group like Al-Anon can offer 12-step programs for the child and their parents.
  • Rehab program – Rehab centers are a healthy way to recover and stop drug use by creating a physically safe environment. Rehab will detox the individual of drugs, afterward providing a mental health support network to minimize the chance of relapse.
  • Family therapy – Involving the whole family will be useful for addiction recovery as it helps understand everyone’s feelings and can set healthy boundaries in a safe environment. This will also establish a safe support network, something that is vital for your child’s well-being.

When choosing addiction treatment for your son or daughter’s substance use disorders, it is important to support their own decisions in what treatment program they would feel meets their individual needs.

Seven Do’s and Don’ts For Helping Someone With a Substance Abuse Disorder

DO Set Boundaries

Whilst looking after your child is important, self-care is also something that needs to be practiced for addiction recovery to be effective. Boundaries do not mean tough love like saying “I did not raise you to be like this.” Instead, do things that are stopping the greater risk of drug abuse. You may set boundaries like:

  • Buying them gift cards as opposed to giving them cash
  • Stopping them from spending time with other children who are abusing drugs.
  • Testing them regularly for drugs

DON’T Let You or Your Family Members Go Through It Alone

Practicing self-care is like giving yourself an oxygen mask; it can significantly impact your life and family if you do not care for your own life. Many parents forget themselves when dealing with a drug addict son or daughter.

Treatment options for yourself could include getting your own therapist, attending support groups, or 12-step programs like Al-Anon. This may also help you to meet other parents going through similar things.

Even family members who are not directly living with the child of addiction can still have affected mental health, so therefore, attending family therapy to establish a healthy support system is essential.

DO Approach Them In a Compassionate Way

It can be difficult to see an addicted daughter or son and sometimes it can make you feel angry. Confrontation and judgment will only push your child away more (something that may feed the addiction more).

When approaching your child about it, try to understand they are hurting and that is why they are doing this, so empathy is going to go further than anything that may make them feel guilty. Positive reinforcement is necessary when you see them do things to help overcome their drug use.

DON’T Ignore It If It Is An Adult Child’s Addiction

Even if they are an adult child, that does not mean you should not help them with addiction treatment. Whether they are a young adult or fully grown, addiction treatment could potentially save their life. Getting your adult daughter or son to accept drug treatment may be even more necessary if they themselves have children as you want to avoid any destruction of family relationships.

DO Understand The Disease

It can be hard to know how to deal with a drug addict daughter or son; however, addiction is a mental health disorder that can be helped with many treatment programs.

Along with recognizing the treatment options, drug and alcohol abuse can have very serious long term consequences such as:

  • Mental illness
  • Homelessness
  • Relationship breakdown
  • Ageing prematurely
  • Job loss
  • Dental issues

DON’T Blame Yourself

You may feel that it is your fault for your child’s addiction to drugs, but feelings of guilt and shame will not help you deal with the situation from a healthy place. If you are struggling mentally, then it will be very hard to support your child going through addiction.

Substance use disorders can occur for many reasons, not always from traumatic experiences. Those who have faced trauma may not always develop an addiction. Self-care and providing therapy for yourself can help with these feelings if you’re struggling to overcome them.

DO Stage An Intervention

Professional interventionists may be able to intervene if your child is struggling to accept their addiction or refusing to get treatment. Come together with your child’s support system to agree that treatment is the best option.

An intervention is a meeting staged by family and friends to help their loved one try and get help for an addiction. It works by creating a methodological way of getting the person to arrive without awareness of the intervention as this may deter them from coming. A professional interventionist is useful to create a neutral party to avoid anything getting out of hand. Each family member will usually begin with stating positive things about the addict, then explain how their addiction is affecting them and give them an ultimatum to receive treatment.

If the individual refuses treatment, family members and friends will explain how this will cause a change in the relationship whether that is a divorce if it is a spouse, or telling them to move out if it is family members. If they do end up saying yes to treatment, you need to have a plan for where they will go, you don’t want to have nowhere for them to go if they do agree.

When the intervention occurs, make sure to not invoke any feelings of blame or judgment as this is only going to push your son or daughter away.

Receive The Best Support For Your Child

Watching your child have an addiction to drugs is very traumatic but with individualized treatment programs here at NP Addiction Clinic, we can get you and your family back on track. Call us today at (772) 281-5242 to find out more information on how to deal with a drug-addicted daughter or son.

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Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner


As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns


Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine