Teen substance abuse is hugely concerning. One reason that people should be very concerned about this is that nine out of ten people that end up with a substance abuse problem later on in life started using before the age of 18. That and no parent wants to think that their child is out hurting themselves — and maybe their future — by using substances now. What are your options here? Should you find a drug and alcohol treatment program?
How to Handle Teen Substance Abuse
It is important to remember that if your teen is using, it is not your fault. Teenagers are often persuaded by their friends to use at any given time. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent; it just means that your teen is using. The good thing here is that you want to help put a stop to it before it gets worse and wreaks havoc on their lives like so many other people that you have watched.
A lot of the time merely reaching out to your teen will not be enough. Some parents take their children to see what jail is like, some offer ultimatums, and others try moving or counseling. Many solutions can and will work for you. Sometimes it is a matter of figuring out what will work for your teen and sticking with it when you do find it.
Warning signs of abuse:
- Obvious intoxication
- Friend changes
- Sudden changes in weight and changes in sleeping or eating
- Smelling like substances
- Mood swings
- Academic problems (especially where there had been none previously)
If you notice any of these changes in behavior or can clearly see that your teen is intoxicated, then it’s time to find a teen substance abuse treatment center.
Make sure that you let them know that you know what they are doing and how you feel about it. You should also make them aware of what you plan to do about it. This conversation does not need to be confrontational. You can even write them an email or leave a note on their pillow so that the following actions you take are not a complete surprise.
What to Expect in Counseling
Counseling is a great way to get your teen to realize what they are doing is not healthy. One way to get them to go willingly to counselling would be to schedule some family therapy sessions. If they are willing to go to counselling on their own, then certainly do that. It can be hard to get people to see that substance abuse is unhealthy and that being stuck in the cycle of addiction can make for a very hard life.
A teen counsellor or teen drug and alcohol treatment center will likely work on the following:
- Alternative Therapies (role-playing, art, animals, nature)
- Behavioural Therapies (CBT, DBT)
- Group Therapy
- Family Therapy
Alternative therapies are at the top of the list because teens can often find it hard to talk and express their emotions about things. These types of therapies access different parts of the brain where robust emotions may be found. The behavioural therapies will work to change the behaviour of reaching for substances over more healthy things to relieve stress or other issues.
Additionally, group therapy will show them that they are not alone and give them others to relate to. Family therapy can show them that they still have good people on their side, and everyone can learn to understand and work together better.
Finding A Program or Therapist For Your Teen
Venture Academy is a treatment center for teen substance abuse. We offer many levels of treatment, from outpatient psychiatry to teen residential treatment programs. Give us a call today at 866.762.2211 to find out how we can help you get your teen back on track.