How to Deal With a Daughter Who is a Drug Addict

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I have a drug addict daughter. No parent wants to say these six words. But if you suspect that your daughter has developed a substance use disorder, denial will only prolong her suffering and increase her risk for myriad negative outcomes, including overdose and death.

Signs That Your Daughter is a Drug Addict

People who become addicted to alcohol or other drugs often go to great lengths to hide their compulsive behaviors from parents and other loved ones. However, as the disorder progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to disguise.

The following signs and symptoms may indicate that your daughter is a drug addict:

  • She exhibits dramatic, unpredictable changes in mood, attitude, and energy level.
  • Her performance at work or in school has declined precipitously.
  • She has begun to act with uncharacteristic anger and/or aggression.
  • She has become secretive about how she spends her time and who she associates with.
  • She has lost interest in hobbies, activities, or other pursuits that used to be of great importance to her.
  • She is having unexplained financial problems.
  • She has attempted to borrow or steal money or prescription medications.
  • Her appetite has changed, which has resulted in a considerable weight gain or loss.
  • She seems to be neglecting her appearance and hygiene.
  • She frequently appears to be confused, disoriented, or otherwise “not herself.” 


On their own, none of these signs are irrefutable proof that your daughter has a drug problem. But if several of them apply to her, she should be evaluated by a healthcare provider who can make an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options.

How to Deal With a Drug Addict Daughter

Confirming that your daughter has become addicted to alcohol or another substance can be an important step toward getting her the help she needs. But the path from acknowledging the problem to starting treatment can be long and difficult.

Here are a few tips for how best to deal with a drug addict daughter:

  • Educate yourself: As you learn more about addiction, you will be better able to understand what your daughter is going through. Education alone won’t solve the problem. However, it will help you separate myths from facts so that you can get a better grasp on the nature of the challenge that you and your daughter are facing.
  • Research treatment options: In addition to learning how people are affected by addiction, you should also investigate types of treatment that have helped people whose circumstances were similar to what your daughter has been going through. This research may include contacting rehab centers or other providers whose services seem to align with your daughter’s needs.
  • Talk (and listen) to her: Talking to your drug addict daughter about her substance use disorder will not be an easy conversation. But it is essential. Express your concern, emphasize your support, and talk about treatment. Be prepared for pushback or even denial, but don’t turn the discussion into a lecture. Let your daughter speak, and listen to what she has to say. Her response will give you valuable insights into her state of mind, which can inform your future actions.
  • Establish appropriate rules and boundaries: Rules define what your daughter is and is not allowed to do. Boundaries establish what you will and will not accept. Rules will have little to no effect if your daughter is an adult (especially if she doesn’t live with you), but setting boundaries can be an important way to protect your relationship until she gets professional help.
  • Understand what you can (and cannot) control: As we alluded to when discussing rules, it’s important to recognize the limits of your control. Even if your daughter is a minor who lives with you, you can’t cure her addiction through force of will alone – and trying to do this may drive a wedge between you and push her even deeper into the abyss of active addiction. Try to work with her, not against her, in this battle. 
  • Get help for yourself: Your drug addict daughter isn’t the only person who is impacted by her compulsive behaviors. To maintain your mental health, and to retain the strength you need to protect and support her, it’s a good idea to consult with a therapist, counselor, or other qualified professional. In addition to helping you process your experiences, this person may also be able to advise you on how best to deal with your daughter. Effective in-person groups for family members of drug addicts to attend include Al-Anon and Nar-Anon.

Treatment Options for Youth

Age and developmental level are important factors to consider when trying to find the right source of care for your daughter. If she is an adolescent, you will want to find a treatment provider that focuses on helping young people who have been struggling with addiction, or at least offers separate programming for patients under the age of 18.

The type of treatment that’s right for your daughter will also depend on the amount and frequency of her substance abuse, how she has been impacted by addiction, and if she has any co-occurring mental health concerns. This information can help you determine if she will be best served by inpatient care, residential treatment, or one of several outpatient options.

Any reputable treatment provider will assess the full scope of your daughter’s needs. Then, they will work with you to decide which level or levels of care are most appropriate. Once that choice has been made, the provider can then evaluate which therapies and services will empower your daughter to end her substance abuse and achieve long-term recovery.

Treatment Options for Adults

In general, addiction treatment options for adults sound similar to those for adolescents. Most adults who get professional help for addiction spend time in one or more of the following programs:


As with adolescents, adults in addiction treatment programs may benefit from a range of therapies and support services, such as:


Regardless of her age, your daughter should receive a discharge plan as she nears the end of her time in treatment. This plan can identify the professional services and community-based resources that will support her as she progresses in her recovery.

Contact Our Addiction Treatment Center About Getting Your Daughter Help

If your daughter’s life has been disrupted by an addiction to alcohol or another substance, Renewal Health Group is here to help.

Our network includes several trusted treatment centers in Southern California. At each location, your daughter can receive personalized care from a team of skilled and compassionate professionals. 

In addition to detoxification, we also offer both residential and outpatient options. We also have a wide range of therapies. This allows us to select the levels of care and types of services that best match your daughter’s needs and goals.

To learn more about our programming, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact page or call us today.

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