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I Don't Think the Treatment My Daughter is Getting for Her Addiction to Painkillers is Working. What can I do?

My ex-husband was an alcoholic for over a decade before he died of the disease. I've seen the ups and downs. My daughter who is in her 30's became addicted to painkillers after his death and her divorce. She knew she was addicted and sought out help on her own. She has been on the drug Suboxone for 6 months.

This drug is also addictive. All I keep hearing is she still isn't stable. The anti-depressants don't seem to be helping. The doctor was slow in prescribing them and in upping the strength. She just began to see a therapist who is digging deep into her issues which is making her more anxious. Yet, she is not being given any coping skills.

She has shut me and her siblings out choosing to talk to only one of us at a time, which she alternates. She has no friends. She goes to no support groups. She is not working. Her father left her some money and I feel that is her enabler right now. There is no need for her to suck it up and get on with life.

I feel that another treatment plan would be better such as regular detox and rehab. She'll hear nothing of it. She feels safe with this one. Safe is not always good. Is there anyway we can make her do another treatment plan? Would it be a wise thing to do? Answer

You can't force another treatment plan on your daughter. She's an adult and responsible for her own decisions, so if she doesn't want to listen to your advice there isn't a lot you can do.

Unfortunately not all treatment programs and Doctors are created equal. Like all things in life, some are better than others. It is important when dealing with addiction, that Specialists are used, because many Therapists and Doctors don't necessarily understand addiction, and so their advice and the meds they prescribe can end up being counter-productive.

Whether that's the case with your daughter however, we can't say. The positives are that at least she is in therapy and making some effort to deal with her stuff. It could be a lot worse, she could still be in active addiction. But because we aren't there we obviously can't judge how effective her treatment/therapy etc is.

So perhaps you should try use a slightly different approach. Instead of telling your daughter what you think she should be doing right now, focus on building your relationship and developing her confidence. In other words just be there for her and listen, and tell her that if she's comfortable with the path she's on, you support her. That way you start breaking down her resistance and hopefully she stops shutting you out.

And once you have her in your full confidence again, then perhaps gently start suggesting that she consider another treatment plan if her current efforts are still not producing results, i.e. rehab etc. She's obviously experienced some serious trauma in a short period of time, so pushing too hard will cause her to retreat and isolate further. That's why being gentle, winning her confidence again and having her open up to you, will in the long run likely produce better results because then she'll be more open to your advice.

Good Luck.

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