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Teens have unique needs when it comes to addiction treatment. Drug addiction impacts teenagers differently than other demographics.
In certain cases, they might require professional treatment. It’s worth taking the time to find a rehab center that caters to youth, regardless of its proximity. Your teen may feel more comfortable recovering in an environment surrounded by peers in their age group.
Searching for the best youth-friendly rehab center is a task many parents face. Drug and alcohol addiction is difficult enough when an adult loved one struggles. But when addiction affects your child, the stress is particularly challenging.
It’s important to remember that you have options, and youth-specialized rehab can help.
Some common addictions among teens include:
Some signs your teen might need rehab include:
Low grades or changes in school performance may be signs that your teen is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Even a slight slip in grades may indicate that your teen needs to attend rehab, especially if they are at-risk for mental health problems.
In such cases, your teenager may be dedicating more time to drugs and less time toward their studies. Or, they may also lose concentration on homework, tests, and grades.
If your teen is acting secretive or defending unusual behavior, it might indicate drug and/or alcohol use.
This could especially be true if your teen is:
Keep an eye out for drastic or unexplained shifts in your teen’s schedule, social life, and energy levels.
Sometimes smaller, unexplained changes in daily activities can suggest your teen is using drugs or alcohol.
If your teen has a drug addiction, their habits might affect their physical appearance.
Physical changes to look out for include:
You may also notice changes in your teen’s behavior that could indicate substance use habits.
If you notice any of these signs, your teen might need rehab. This is especially true if you see more than one of these signs.
Another sign to look out for is abrupt and significant shifts in your teen’s social circle.
If they seem to be spending less time with old friends and are suddenly hanging out with new people, it could suggest they’re taking on new and potentially risky behaviors.
Another significant warning sign of substance use is if your teen is missing classes or skipping school.
If your teen isn’t in school and is spending time with people who are also skipping, there’s a good chance they’re engaging in risky behaviors.
Ask your child’s school to alert you to these absences. This way, you can address the problem at home. In severe cases, the issue has already taken hold.
Losing interest in once-favorite hobbies or activities can also suggest trouble.
Quitting sports teams or clubs or stopping favorite hobbies or interests means your teen might be leaving room for different activities. This can include alcohol or drug use.
Additionally, drug and alcohol withdrawal can cause physical side effects that can make your child tired. As such, they may not feel up to participating in their normal activities.7
Not all signs of drug and alcohol use occur externally. Some happen at home.
For example, finding a hidden stash of drugs or alcohol is typically a sign that something’s wrong. Sometimes the signs are more subtle.
Keep an eye out for other unusual changes at home, such as:
Having a parent with a substance use problem is one of the most significant risk factors for a teen substance use issue. This is because there’s a strong genetic component to addiction.
Another reason why substance use influences children is because they learn by watching. They may assume that whatever you do is usual behavior, even if it’s heavy drinking or drug use.
Having drugs and alcohol in the house also enables access. If they are already at risk, this allows them to experiment with drugs and alcohol at a younger age.
If you have a substance use problem, it’s best to seek a drug addiction treatment program for yourself before trying to help your child.
It may seem unlikely that your child would admit to drinking or drug use on social media. However, never underestimate a teen’s desire to impress their friends. This can even manifest through substance use.
If you suspect your child may have substance use issues, consider looking at their social media activity.
Many parents who believe their teen may have a problem with drugs or alcohol are unsure how to speak to their child.
Consider enlisting the help of a professional to help you speak to your teen about rehab. This can include:
Once you’ve determined your teen has a substance use problem, a medical or drug treatment professional can assess its severity. They will develop an appropriate treatment approach.
There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for drug addiction. What works for one teen may not be suitable for yours.
It may be challenging to move past feelings of frustration if your teen refuses addiction treatment. Hearing your teen’s side of the argument without bias or assumptions can also be difficult.
If your teen refuses treatment, try to understand their perspective.
Remember: your teen is struggling with an ‘adult problem.’ You’re an adult, so use this connection to your advantage.
If you have any personal experience with addiction, teenage refusal, or rebellion, share it with your teen.
Acknowledge what your teen is dealing with by showing you respect their hardships. Make it clear that you’re not belittling their capacity and that many adults receive treatment for addiction, too.
If your teen still refuses treatment after solid communication efforts, consider an intervention.
An intervention is an attempt made by a family member or friend to help someone addicted to drugs or alcohol accept treatment.6
The first step of an intervention is to contact a qualified substance use professional. They will walk your family through the intervention process.
An intervention provides support for the family as well as the teen who is using drugs or alcohol.
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