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My Fear is That My Daughter is Addicted to Pain Killers

by Libby
(Long Island NY)

I know for a fact that my 23 year old daughter is snorting pain pills. She is not aware that I know. We as a family are going to confront her this weekend. She must be taking these pills for about 1 1/2 years but it seems to have got worse in the last 4 months - missing money, jewellery, bouncing checks, late payments on bills, spending all of her money.

However she is a professional in the medical field that never misses a day of work and continues her education at night and maintains a 3.5 GPA. How can this be????? She has mood swings and does associate with other persons that have addictions. How addicted could she be???

One would think that you would need to be taking pills every few hours. She seems to go all day and evening until late at night .... and then she gets high. I need direction. We as a family are very close but I am afraid that she may become embarrassed and reject our help???? Answer

Hi Libby

You'd be surprised how well some people can seemingly hold it together, while maintaining an addiction. So it is possible that on the surface you daughter is working and studying hard, but dig a little deeper and she's self-medicating with pain pills to help her cope with the stress.

The only way to approach this is to talk to her with love and honesty. Don't sugar-coat or hide your feelings because you fear how she'll respond. That you can't control. But you can control your response which is to tell her you know what's going on and you're really worried about her ... and that you want to help her.

Yes, she may reject your help, but that's a chance you're going to have to take. Because if you're not totally honest and don't confront her now ... all you're doing is further enabling her addiction because she has no one to be accountable to.

Make your daughter aware of the consequences of continuing with the way she is ... all her hard work and studying could come to nothing if she's found out. And then all you can do is encourage her to get professional help. Then it's up to her.

Don't be angry, don't blame when you speak to her. Speak with love and concern, but make sure you're totally honest and make all the consequences clear of what could happen if she continues her addiction to pain killers.

And hopefully that will trigger something in her own mind, not necessarily immediately, that she has to change because she stands to loose too much if she doesn't.

God Bless and Good Luck

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