Teenage years play a crucial role in a person’s overall development. It is the period when a child starts to explore and act on their curiosities in a manner that may be adverse. For some, it results in exploring substance use and other troubling behavior that may affect their growth. If it all gets worse — it can lead to addiction.
Early Warning Signs
For parents and family, this rapid change in the behavior of a teen can be challenging to address. It’s not easy to supervise a teenager’s activity, especially if both parents are working. As such, they can put up barriers when it comes to communicating their worries and needs.
Here are the warning signs that you must watch out for when it comes to teen addiction:
- Sudden change in behavior and in the way they talk
- They often appear dazed and are hard to talk to
- Hiding drugs or drug paraphernalia and alcohol in their room
- Bloodshot eyes and smelling
- They no longer take part in hobbies that they used to enjoy
- They are not introducing their new friends to you
- A sudden drop in their school grades
If the family fails to address these warning signs, it can result in worse outcomes, such as becoming an offender. As a teenager, becoming an offender may often lead to repeating the offense as an adult if not given the proper intervention.
Addressing The Warning Signs Of Teen Substance Abuse
If you observe the warning signs on your teen, it is possible that they may be under the influence of addiction. As parents, you need to them cease using it.
It is essential to talk calmly. Show that you are present and willing to listen to what they have to say. Then, you have to set a clear and safe boundary for them to follow.
It is also essential to get involved and start knowing your teen’s peers. In most cases, peer pressure may trigger the cause of substance addiction. After reaching a rapport with your teen, only then can you start a specific treatment and recovery path.
Treatment And Recovery Options For Teen Substance Abuse
There are several available treatments for substance abuse. Often, the effective interventions involve the guidance of a counselor or a therapist for an objective view of the situation. They can help you come up with recovery plans that usually happen in sessions.
1. Group Therapy
Occasionally, teens who get into substance use can successfully recover by taking part in group therapies. Learning the adverse effects of addiction from teenagers who got cured or listening to an impactful speaker can encourage them to stay clean.
Moving, educational, inspirational stories can raise understanding and knowledge on substance abuse that can reach your teen in ways you simply cannot.
2. Individual Counseling
Teens often become dependent on substances because of stress from family, job, academics, or the environment. Individual counseling is a positive step towards analyzing and diagnosing the root of the problems. By knowing the source of the problem, the counselor can offer effective treatment alternatives.
3. Family Therapy
Fundamentally, the point of therapy is to develop deep family ties and a healthy home environment. Working with specialists that help families support their teen’s recovery has many advantages. It includes:
- Improving communication skills
- Restoring trust between family members
- Strengthening personal boundaries
- Coming up with clear life goals and expectations
- Preventing recurrence and maintaining self-discipline
4. Peer Group Activities
Teenagers are extremely emotionally sensitive from their peers’ opinions, especially in middle school and high school. Peer group activities can build their bond with other teens in recovery while sharing their strengths and coping skills.
5. Recreational And Experiential Therapies
Most teenagers that undergo recovery may benefit from regular physical activity and creative self-expression. It allows them to divert their energies against substance use and their other problems. It can be significant support for young clients in enduring the emotional challenges of therapy.
Programs such as art therapy, music therapy, wilderness activities, and equine-assisted therapy can provide emotional stability while teaching them essential coping strategies and social skills.
The road to recovery does not end after the treatment period. More often than not, aftercare is a crucial element in a successful recovery. This part of recovery needs the help and support of the whole family. Without carefully planning how they will go on after treatment, it can lead to a relapse.
A relapse may occur because addiction is a chronic condition requiring lifelong support and management with its symptoms. As a whole family, here are the things you can do to prevent relapse:
- Your Teen Might Seem Different
Expect that your teen before and after treatment may be a different person. During and after therapy, act normally when you’re around them as much as possible. By doing so, they will slowly get to adjust and be comfortable while at home.
- Steer Clear Of Enabling Behaviors
Learn and understand how you can avoid enabling behaviors. Even if you have good intentions, it can cause a trigger for teens during their early recovery.
- Monitor Constantly
Keep track of their activities and who they’re with when going out. As parents and caregivers, you are expected to keep close supervision with teens who are recovering from addiction.
- Spend Time
Regularly schedule bonding time with them. Plan something that the whole family enjoys. Also, encourage and join them in pursuing their hobbies.
Dealing with substance abuse of teens can be a challenging time for the whole family. With the proper intervention and support, you can make a tremendous difference in your teen’s life.
Keep in mind not to blame your child for what they have done. Instead, focus on what you can do to correct it for good — for your teen and for your whole family.