How to Help Your Teenager Overcome Addiction
Teenagers go through a lot. They start new schools, navigate changing friendships, live with mental illnesses, and often come home to a difficult family environment every day. All of these factors and more can contribute to the growing number of teens who are misusing drugs.
According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 50% of teens have misused drugs at least once, and by 12th grade, 62% of teenagers have abused alcohol. Alcohol is the most widely abused substance among teenagers, alongside marijuana and tobacco use.
These numbers can be disheartening, but the reality is that our teenagers need guidance to overcome addiction. The good news is that there is something we can do about it. Keep reading to learn more about how you can help your teen through an addiction.
3 Ways to Help Your Teenager Who’s Struggling with Addiction
Use the tips below to find a solution that might work for your teen. Think through some of these options, and present your teen with what you think is the best course of action.
As you talk with your teen, remember to be empathetic through this difficult situation. What teens often need from their parents is love and understanding, especially when it comes to issues like drug or alcohol abuse.
- Create a Safe Space
Teens often turn to drugs or alcohol because they want to fit in with their peers, feel better with their mental health, and many other reasons. They might not feel like home is a safe space to discuss hard topics like depression, relationships, troubles in school, and other important issues.
If you discover that your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, make it a priority to let your teen know that you are a safe place to turn to. Make your home somewhere your teen can go when they’re struggling so they know they don’t have to use substances as an escape.
Or, if the home is not a safe place, try to encourage your teen to talk with you outside of the home in a place they do feel comfortable.
- Get Them Into Counseling
We often want to give our kids everything they need, but some things are out of our realm of expertise, and that’s ok. If your child is struggling with substance, there may be deeper issues that they need to work out with a trained professional.
There are counselors who are equipped to help teenagers dealing with substance abuse. Encourage your teen to start regular counseling sessions.
If that’s not something they’re open to right away, try to start with just a few sessions, such as every other week, and build your way up to a more regular schedule.
- Start Them in a Teen Drug Abuse Program
If your teen is willing, there are many different options in substance abuse treatment you can get them involved with. These programs can be helpful for teenagers because they can get involved with a community of peers who are going through similar issues and support each other.
Here are a few of those options:
- Outpatient rehab: This is a part-time treatment option that will allow your child to continue living at home and going to school while getting treatment a few hours per week.
- Inpatient rehab: If you’d like a more structured option, inpatient treatment might be the right choice. This is a 24-hour treatment option that usually involves counseling, peer support, and sometimes medications if needed.
- Detox: If your teen needs help coming off a substance, they might need a detox. This generally involves staying in a rehab center for as long as needed (often ranging from three to 10 days) with the medical support of addiction treatment specialists to provide safe withdrawal from substances.
Helping Your Teen to Overcome Addiction
It can be scary when someone you love is addicted to a substance, especially when that person is your child. Thankfully, there are many ways we can help our teens to overcome addiction.