If your son or daughter is using drugs and alcohol, they are at risk for all sorts of mental and physical health problems. Having parents who get involved can change a teen’s entire life. By assisting your child with treatment, you can help them to break the cycle of addiction before it is too late.
Many Families Struggle With Addiction
When people think of addiction, they tend to picture a grizzled adult. However, the reality is that many teens also face addiction challenges. Adolescence is when many mental and behavioral disorders first appear, and substance abuse is no exception. Government statistics indicate that roughly 7 to 9 percent of all teens have a substance use disorder. This means that about 1.7 million people between the ages of 12 to 17 are dealing with addiction.
How to Tell If Your Child Has a Substance Use Disorder
Identifying the signs of drug addiction in a teen can be difficult. Not all teens with a substance use disorder are so-called “problem teens.” Sometimes, the parents saying, “My son is an alcoholic” have a teen who seems driven, obedient, and happy. Therefore, all parents need to be on the lookout for symptoms of substance abuse. Some signs of drug addiction include:
- Lack of energy and motivation
- A sudden decline in grades
- Neglecting appearance and hygiene
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Being unusually sleepy or alert at random times
- Mood swings
- Lack of focus
- Memory problems
- Secretive behavior
- Constantly requesting money or stealing expensive items
- Lack of interest in former hobbies
Seek Advice From a Medical Professional
If you think “My son is an alcoholic”, your first instinct might be to confront them immediately and start discussing punishments. However, it is important to remember that substance abuse is a health condition. It may be wise to go ahead and consult with a medical professional before talking with your child. They can give you some tips on how to help an addicted child. This can help you better understand the condition, so you can figure out how to effectively care for your child.
How to Discuss Substance Use With Your Child
When discussing potential substance abuse with your child, the key is being as open and nonjudgemental as possible. You need to pick a time when your child seems sober and have a direct conversation with them. The situation is too serious to beat around the bush, so clearly express why you are concerned and how you would like to help your child.
Avoid framing the conversation as if you are disappointed or mad at your child. This will just set a confrontational tone and encourage your child to become defensive or angry. Now is not the time to try tough love. Instead of punishing your child, emphasize how much you are concerned for them, and stress the importance of them getting treatment. A teen with an addiction may try to insist they are fine and argue they do not need help. Avoid engaging in arguments with an addict where they can try to manipulate you. Being firm and brief can help avoid tension.
Explore Your Treatment Options
Fortunately, there are all sorts of very effective treatment options available for your son or daughter. Depending on the severity of their addiction, they may need to start with detox. A medical detox program will help safely remove all traces of the drug from their system. Then it is time to move onto a rehab program. Outpatient rehab programs let your child live with your family while regularly visiting a clinic for therapy and medication. If your child’s environment is contributing to substance abuse, a residential rehab program may be a better choice. This lets your child live in a care center for several weeks, so they can get focused care in an environment that prioritized sobriety.
Regardless of the type of treatment program you pick, most reputable substance use treatment centers provide the same general treatment strategies. For most types of addiction, behavioral therapy is the main treatment. This helps patients analyze triggers of drug use and find healthier ways of coping with cravings and stress. For some types of opioid and prescription pill addiction, there are also certain medications that can help reduce cravings and addiction symptoms.
Your Role in the Addiction Recovery Process
When you are thinking “My son is an alcoholic,” it can be helpful to understand your role. You can play a very valuable role in how to help an addicted child. At first, you may need to be firm and set boundaries while you encourage your child to get help. While your child is in rehab, they may feel isolated and frustrated. At this point, it is important for parents to provide support and reassurance.
You may want to consider taking part in family therapy offered by your child’s rehab center. This can help address the strain addiction has placed on your relationship. A therapist can help facilitate a dialogue and improve communication in your family. Following rehab, you can help by encouraging your child to go to support groups and being there for them when they struggle. Try to keep expectations reasonable. Relapse is very common. Instead of getting frustrated, just acknowledge that it means your child needs more assistance. By continuing to provide love, encouragement, and guidelines, you can help your child with their sobriety.
Do not let drug or alcohol addiction destroy your family. Defining Wellness Centers can provide the care your son or daughter needs. At our luxury facilities, we provide a blend of addiction therapies and mental health treatments. With our family-oriented program, your entire family can journey through the healing process together. Call or email us now to learn more.