Parents may find out about their children’s problems in different ways. It can be discovering stuff connected with alcohol or drugs, an accidental overhearing of someone’s comment that suggests use or catching them being drunk or high. No matter how the truth is revealed, the reaction is always the same – shock.
Parents found themselves in an incomprehensible situation. They usually confiscate the finding, confront the child, or do both. They have many questions, like “Is he/she really drinks/using drugs? How long has it been happening? Why?” The most confusing and pressing question is, “What should I do?”
Teenagers’ attitude to alcohol, marijuana, and other substances
If your offspring tried smoking cigarettes, weed, or hitting the bottle, it doesn’t mean they need teenage rehabilitation (AddictionResource provides more info). Experimentation is part of teenage life. Youth may be driven by curiosity, peer pressure, a wish to have fun or stress.
Since alcohol is socially accepted among people of legal drinking age, teenagers don’t view it as a harmful substance. It’s the most frequently used substance among them. Teenagers are also more likely to consume excessive amounts of alcohol as their impulse control hasn’t fully developed yet. Most high school students have the same attitude to marijuana smoking.
Trying alcohol and marijuana is not free. So, some teens just look for some pills in their parents’ medicine cabinet. Prescription drugs like OxyContin and Xanax cause intoxicating effects.
The problems with these so-called experiments are the following:
- the risks of long-term cognitive and behavioral effects since the brain of a teenager is still developing.
- a possibility of going on to a life of addiction. Almost 90 percent of adult smokers started smoking in their teenage years. Those who have their first drink before they are 15 are 4 times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who put it off until 21 or older. Half of all drug users are under the age of 18.
- an overdose requiring emergency hospitalization. Misusing of drug or other substance even one time can be fatal.
- an arrest related to substance use or illicit behaviors, especially while intoxicated.
When is rehab an appropriate option?
Before searching a good teen rehabilitation center, make sure that your child needs it. Many teens are tempted to try some substances. They don’t necessarily develop a habit or addiction. It can be difficult to see the difference between the whims of adolescence and actual drug or alcohol use. Parents should pay attention to the common signs of a problem:
- red eyes, unusual tiredness, and laughing for no reason
- frequent hunger or “munchies”
- avoiding eye contact
- loss of interest in studying, lower grades, and problems with attendance
- reduced interest in a previously enjoyed extracurricular activity
- less willingness to be involved with the family and increased defiance
- secretive behavior
- diminished personal appearance, poor hygiene.
Of course, doubts can be clarified by a candid conversation. But children can have a hard time to confess in such a thing as substance abuse to their parents. So, they should pay attention to any odd changes in appearance and behavior.
What benefits does teen rehabilitation have to offer?
We all know that addiction is a serious disease, and it should be treated by specialists. Teen rehab centers provide professional help that has several strong benefits:
It goes without saying that substance abuse affects the body. Skin, liver, heart, and other parts of the body suffer from toxins. The first step to recovery is detoxification that is supervised by medical professionals.
Some teen rehabilitation programs involve physical activities, as exercise has a positive effect on health. Scientists from Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic found evidence that exercise, particularly assisted exercise, is an effective method of prevention and adjunctive treatment substance use disorders, including alcohol, marijuana, opioids, cocaine, and heroin.
Teenage years can be stressful. Statistics say that 11 percent of teenagers suffer from depression by the time they are 18. Thus, it’s best to make everything to prevent the worst possible scenario of depression – suicide.
It can be a lack of coping skills can lead young people to seek out an artificial method of reducing stress. During the therapy, patients learn to overcome psychological challenges and acquire stress-coping techniques. Another aim of therapy sessions is to detect the root of the problem and remove it.
Teenagers with problems of abuse are sometimes prone to commit crimes to get money for alcohol or drugs. They can also act aggressively under the influence of these substances. Addiction treatment eliminates this problem.
Teenage substance abuse deters them from making such important decisions as a career choice and future general objectives. Therapy helps to understand the menace of alcohol and drugs, providing an alert mind and reasoning power.
Treatment in teens rehab, both inpatient and outpatient, allows meeting peers with more severe cases or someone who has already coped with the problem. It gives extra motivation. Indeed, it’s more effective than watching related materials on TV or the net and parent’s “lectures” on the harmful consequences of bad habits.
Can parents facilitate rehabilitation process?
Traditional psychotherapy is not effective enough in helping adolescents overcome severe substance abuse. While individual sessions also take place in rehabilitation centers for teenagers, therapists usually recommend visiting family sessions. Family therapy may be the best choice in mild cases of abuse when going to a teen rehab center is unnecessary.
A lot of parents feel helpless when it comes to communicating with and influencing their teenage children, even if they are not using substances. However, psychologists say that there’s always a deep connection between parents and children, no matter how tense their relationship may seem, and this is what contributes to recovery. In reality, counselors and treatment programs alone don’t have the kind of influence that parents have with their children.
Parents are taught to function as one team. Those who are divorced are told to resolve their misunderstandings away from the children. A whole family works on developing an individual (every family is unique) plan of coping with substance use and other problems.
Youth who has problems with alcohol, drugs, and other substances often think their parents don’t love or care about them. If parents actively participate in therapy and try to implement recommendations in family life, they show their love and care. It increases parental influence, makes children get involved in treatment, and start making positive changes.
About the Author
John Adkins is a professional writer and volunteer who deals with issues of mental health, addiction, and life in recovery. Also, he works with a foundation that helps drug addicts, so he has a clear understanding of their problems. John is currently a writer for Addiction Resource.