It is true that anyone—no matter their age, size, gender, or background—can become addicted to drugs. Unfortunately, this reality is most present among teens and young adults who begin drug use at an early age. Our youth are constantly facing the risk of drug addiction. So much, in fact, that over one million youth are in need of drug treatment. The good news is that teens and young adults can benefit most from professional help.
In most cases, however, teenagers do not seek drug treatment on their own. They often rely on the push from adults to get there. If you suspect your teen is developing a drug-related problem, it is crucial for you to intervene. The following steps can show you how to find help for your drug-addicted teen.
Step 1: Address the Issue
Confronting your teen’s drug problem is inevitably the first step to determining the extent of his substance use and what kind of help he will require. You may notice that he is coming home red-eyed and lethargic, or that he is spending less time on once-valued priorities. Your role as a parent is to bring your concerns to his attention. Ask him why he hasn’t been coming to the dinner table, or where he has been going after school. If you feel he is not giving truthful answers, be more direct in your questions. Ask him outright if he is smoking marijuana, or what happened to his father’s Oxycontin prescription.
Make him aware that you are aware of the problem. Help him realize that the problem may be much larger than he thinks. You can only help him once he accepts the fact that he truly does need help.
As with any teen intervention, parents should shape this conversation around rehabilitation, not punishment. Try not to get angry as you confront the situation. Rather, remain calm as you express your apprehension. This is an emotional situation for everyone involved, but in order to get through to your child, you must help him understand why you are concerned.
Step 2: Bring Your Teen to See a Doctor or Specialist
Young people tend to take the advice of professionals over family members. If your teen isn’t listening to you, take him directly to a doctor or addiction specialist. Professional figures who understand the consequences of substance abuse are more likely to instill fear and emotion in your teenager.
You may begin this process by bringing your child to a family doctor who can screen for signs of drug use and drug-related health conditions. As recommended by the NIDA, ask the doctor if he, she, or another medical professional in the office is comfortable initiating these assessments and recommending a rehab center for your teen.
You may also wish to contact an addiction specialist right away, as you’ve recognized the extent of your teen’s drug problem. There are thousands of certified physicians and psychiatrists who specialize in addiction throughout the country. If you and a specialist decide there is a need for treatment, have a plan in place for choosing the right rehab facility.
Step 3: Find a Safe, Secure, Age-Appropriate Treatment Center
Your teen’s treatment plan should be completely tailored to him. The addiction center you choose for his recovery should consider all aspects of his problem: age, gender, desire to get well, substance abuse patterns, as well as any behavioral, medical, psychiatric, and social problems.
If your teen’s substance abuse has spiraled into a greater cause for concern, he may require residential treatment. It is crucial to find a long-term drug treatment center that is fully aware of his stage of development, one that can appropriately surround him with the proper resources and peer support groups he will need to get better. Read our recent blog on the top principles of young adult addiction treatment to help you choose the most appropriate treatment center for your teen.
Step 4: Support his Treatment Plan
Having your teen enrolled in treatment does not mean your job as a parent is done. Your child, throughout the entirety of his treatment, will need your constant support. If he is going to fully commit to recovery, he needs you to follow-through with him. Addiction is a cyclical disease that requires time and patience. It does not disappear overnight. Even when your teen completes his treatment program, he could still be at risk of relapse. He will need you to help support his sobriety.
As a parent helping a drug-addicted teen, you should constantly be encouraging healthy activities and a nourishing diet. Motivate your son, engage your son, and participate in his hobbies. Help him believe in his purpose, and continue to support every healthy decision he makes.
There is no doubt that it requires much courage and strength to help your drug-addicted teen. It is hard to let go of a once precious vision of your child, to put major teenage milestones on hold, and to commit to a lifetime of recovery. Yet treatment is the most promising way for your teen to regain his life. If you want your teen to live a healthy, independent, conscious lifestyle, you will need to take the proper steps to get there. For more information on how to help a drug addict in your family, call Turnbridge at 1-877-581-1793.