If you discover that your teenager has a substance abuse problem, it’s normal that you’re going to feel overwhelmed and at a loss for how to proceed. You might have the urge to turn into a helicopter parent and monitor every moment if your child’s day, but unfortunately this isn’t always possible, especially with a single parent or two working parents. Plus, it’s a good bet that whoever introduced them to drugs is someone at their school, so unless you pull them out and quit your job to become a homeschool teacher, you’re going to have to deal with the underlying reasons they started using drugs rather than try to hide from the problem.
The idea of sending your teen away for treatment might sound scary. The last thing you want to do when they’re having difficulties is let them out of your sight, but it might be necessary. Inpatient treatment is the best and safest way to get them through detox and find help for any co-occurring mental health problems. Also, you might know what’s best for your child on a lot of subjects, but if you aren’t a doctor or therapist, they’re going to be better off with a professional.
Another consideration is that drug and alcohol abuse can sometimes make people aggressive or violent. You might like to think that your child would never try to harm you, but there’s simply no telling what people might do while under the influence. A teenage boy could pose a real threat to your safety if he was feeling paranoid or under attack. Unfortunately, it just might not be safe for either of you to keep your teen at home.
Is residential treatment for teens much different than it is for adults? One area where teenagers are more vulnerable is their still-developing brain, so it’s important to have medical professionals familiar with the adolescent mind and body. A treatment facility might also have people who specialize in teenage patients. Some people simply don’t get along well with kids, and when it comes to teenagers, in particular, it can be important how you talk to them, or you’re likely to run into a brick wall of defensiveness.
Like adult treatment centers, there will be one on one and group therapy, and probably cognitive behavioral therapy and incentive-based methods. Parents, and possibly other family members, will participate in some counseling sessions to address the things that led to addiction and what you can do to keep the teen sober when he comes home.
You’ll have to make a decision about whether to find a treatment center close to home or out of state. On the one hand, if they’re close by you’ll be available for therapy sessions and to lend support. On the other, it might be easier for you to cave and let your child leave treatment early if it’s a short trip to fetch them.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.