Although it’s not uncommon for teens to experiment with illicit drugs, young people with developing brains are especially susceptible to addiction and its negative consequences. Teen drug use has detrimental effects, harming academic performance, relationships, overall health, and brain development. While signs of substance abuse in teens vary depending on the individual and substance, extreme mood swings, self-isolation, turbulent relationships, failing classes, and deviant behavior are all possible warning signs of drug abuse.
As a parent, navigating teen addiction can be upsetting and frightening. Parents become endlessly concerned and fixated on their child as they mourn the little one they once knew. After all, addiction is a disease—one no parent can cure on their own. It’s helpful to understand addiction’s pervasive nature to take the blame off of you or your child and build a foundation of love, support, and understanding.
As a parent, educate yourself, seek additional assistance, and show unconditional love as your child ventures down the path to recovery.
The first steps
The first step of recovery is acknowledging the problem—both on your end and your teens. If your child refuses to admit to addictive behaviors, intervention may be necessary via family and friends or with a licensed counselor. Consider offering incentives to encourage your teen to accept help and guidance, setting them on a path back to health and happiness.
After you’ve acknowledged the issue, research a legitimate addiction recovery facility and engage in an evaluation to better address your child’s specific needs. From here, addiction experts can design a personalized treatment plan and offer resources along the way.
The next and most grueling step is a medically supervised detox from the most addictive drugs. Because quitting drugs cold turkey can be extremely dangerous, medical supervision will be necessary to mitigate withdrawal symptoms safely. When your teen has safely purged these substances from their systems, they can move forward with treatment.
After detox, recovering addicts should transfer to a rehab facility for further treatment. Addiction facilities can closely monitor your child, giving them access to craving suppressant drugs and cognitive behavior therapy. Engaging in physician-led sessions can help your child manage triggers, alter negative behavior, and give them life-long coping skills to avoid future abuse instances. Drug addictions often stem from deep-seated mental health issues and trauma, which is why cognitive therapy can be so beneficial as it addresses and disrupts harmful patterns.
Taking care of yourself
Working through an addictive cycle with your child can be physically and emotionally taxing. To ensure you’re a source of support and guidance for your teen, set aside time for your mental health. Seeing a therapist on your own can improve communication between you and your child, reduce negative feelings surrounding their addiction, and help manage guilt and sorrow, making the process less overwhelming. There are support groups specifically for parents dealing with teen addicts to support and decrease isolation and desperation.
Although you may feel hopeless and lost during the beginning stages of your child’s recovery, having the tools and resources to adequately support your teen is critical in their future success. Begin the process with love, understanding, and unconditional support to ensure a speedy recovery and decrease chances of relapse.