Medically Reviewed By: Benjamin Caleb Williams RN, BA, CEN
Written By: Gary Bowers
Article Updated: 01/22/2021
Number of References: 9 Sources
Addiction is a vicious disease no matter the circumstances, but this is especially painful when it is your child struggling. Luckily, there are a variety of resources to help identify, treat, and support a teen who is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. Here we will point out some things to look for if you think your child may be using, the signs and symptoms of withdrawal, and some tips to find a teen detox center. This is a scary time, but you’re not alone in this; help is available.
In This Article:
When it comes to dealing with teenagers and young adults who are struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, there may not be a more fitting adage. Raising children isn’t easy. One minute they’re holding your hand learning to walk, and the next minute they’re asking for keys to the car. The frustrating beauty of being a parent is that there is no single way of doing things. As a parent, when we find ourselves in those situations in which our kids find themselves involved in drugs and alcohol, it’s common to wish for an “easy” button; we long for a simple solution to a complex problem.
Once you have accepted the problem, and are ready to take action to address the issues – no matter how vast – there are many people in this world who can help. Among the many are support groups, other parents, medical and psychiatric professionals, social workers, generous volunteers, therapists, and the caring staff at detox centers and treatment centers.
While overall alcohol use among teens and young adults has been trending down, alcohol, due to its availability and prevalence in society, remains the most widely used drug among teens. Additionally, over 1,700 kids try drugs for the first time each day. That’s over 620,000 kids a year. We can take a look at the statistics to get a clearer picture of the changing trends in using habits:
Anyone can become addicted to drugs and alcohol, but everyone can also recover. The statistics for teen drug use give truth to the problem, but they don’t predict the future, and they don’t define the solution. You’re never alone, and it’s never too late to take action in addressing drug and alcohol use with your teenager; in fact, it has been shown that parental involvement is one of the major predictors for success in recovery. Being proactive in securing safe and effective drug detox is a huge step.
Withdrawal from drugs can be painful, uncomfortable, dangerous, and potentially deadly. Fatal withdrawal may be rare, but it would be irresponsible not to mention it. Despite the dangers and complications, drug detox can be managed safely with the right support.
It’s important to recognize the signs of withdrawal so that you can act quickly in securing help when needed. Here are some signs that a teenager or young adult is going through withdrawal:
The issues listed above are reason enough to seek help, but understanding the layers of physical symptoms can help you gauge the severity of the problem. Withdrawal from different drugs poses different risks and knowing more about the specific risks can help figure out the best way to proceed.
Some specific signs of withdrawal from different drugs include:
Finding the right care for your teenager may require some careful thought and consideration. There isn’t one single way to approach this critical step in recovery, but there are some key elements that can help you make the most informed and effective decision.
School During and After Detox
During acute detox, school will be on hold. However, once the initial detox period has been completed there are a number of options. Studies have shown that enrolling teens in recovery high schools can be extremely beneficial in helping them stay sober. The Association of Recovery Schools has a list of certified recovery high schools from all across the country.
Support Through Community Organizations
Detox centers will often introduce different forms of therapy and support. There are many organizations that have been organized to support teens who struggle with addiction and can serve as a lifeline for those who feel isolated by their struggles, or who find it hard to connect with others following detox. Here are some youth organizations supporting young people with mental illness.
Community forums and web boards are a great resource for offering ongoing support for teens during or after detox. SMART recovery, for example, has a teen and young adult forum that is moderated for safety and to encourage a healthy dialogue.
Volunteer and Support Recovery In Your Community
Following detox, your teen may find new hope and spirit in supporting other teenagers or young adults who are affected by addiction. Giving back in this way can help your teen feel a part of something, give them purpose, and remind them of the benefits of living in recovery. Partners for Hope provides a platform for fundraising benefiting the Center on Addiction and Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
Be a Part of the Solution
You can show your teenager you mean business by investing in them and your relationship. You can even begin taking these steps during detox, or immediately following detox. You can do this a number of ways including 12 Step Programs like Al-Anon or Alcoholics Anonymous that provide fellowship and support in the community for those who struggle with addiction or have someone in the family who struggles with addiction. Participation is free, and meetings can be found almost anywhere.
Seek Personal or Family Therapy
By participating in therapy alone or as a family, you are sending a strong message to your teenager that you are committed to all aspects of their recovery. When a parent takes accountability to improve their behavior and relationships, children are more likely to emulate that behavior and accept accountability for themselves. You can search for adolescent-specific therapists or psychiatrists to find a treatment that will work for your family. Also, a growing number of websites are offering online therapy options that may be appealing for a tech-savvy teen.
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