Addiction is a dangerous disease that is extremely difficult to watch unfold especially when it’s happening to your teen. Many parents of teen addicts tend to feel lost and unsure of what methods to take. Dealing with addicted teens is a sensitive subject that has no definite right or wrong answer because each teen, parent and situation may be different.
If you think your teen is addicted here are 11 steps to take when getting them help:
1. Help yourself first!
You are just as much affected by your teens’ drug abuse as they are. Take this time to attend meetings for addicts. This will familiarize you with what it’s like to live as an addict and what recovery will be like for your teen. Meetings are also a great way to gain support. There are even meetings designed specifically for the family members of addicts that you can turn to for guidance and help.
2. Be caring!
Teens suffering from addiction are often using to hide or escape from their problems or emotional anguish. Along with other mental disorders such as anxiety or depression it is becoming easier for teens to fall prey to drug abuse. If your teen is showing signs of drug addiction it is important to be caring and understanding to their situation and why they might be seeking such a destructive solution.
3. Determine their will
Your teen will most likely be in denial about their drug habits. They may even see their drug use as harmless fun. Use this time to find out how close they are to stopping themselves or just how dependent your teen has become to their drug of choice (DOC).
4. Understand addiction
Research, research, research! This step is vital in determining if your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol. Learn the signs and side effects in order to find out what they are using. At this stage you should also research the risks of their addiction as well as treatment centers available to get them help.
5. Help them overcome denial
At this point you should be talking to your teen about their addiction. Most teens will lie or continue to be in denial about their drug abuse. If your teen openly admits to needing help you can still use the rest of these tips to get them proper help.
6. Setting limits
It is important to set limits between yourself and your teens. Letting your teen know what you will not tolerate. It is also important for you to access your breaking point. Every teen and family is different so just be aware of what could be the last straw for you.
7. Communicate boundaries
After you’ve set your limits straight be sure to also communicate your boundaries. These boundaries will let your teen know what their consequences for exceeding their limits are. Boundaries are set in place to make sure you do not enable your teen’s addiction. It is also important to note that these boundaries are not idle threats, they should be actions you are comfortable and willing to follow through on.
8. Practice detachment
This is one of the hardest steps for most parents to complete. Practicing detachment takes a lot of practice and patience. At this stage start living your life for yourself or family again. Don’t be caught up in the chaos of your teen addict. Don’t be riled up by their acting out or mood swings. You’ve let them know what your limits are and you should stick to them.
9. Get them close to surrender
This step goes hand in hand with practicing detachment. Addicts are often motivated by pain so do not enable their behavior. Allow them to suffer the natural consequences of their actions such as getting arrested or suffering mild side effects such as vomiting from abusing drugs.
10. Organize an intervention
Once your teen begins to see drug abuse for what it truly is this may be a great time to organize an intervention. It is also important to orchestrate this intervention when they are experiencing a crisis and in need of a way out or help. Be sure to coordinate this well with other family members and friends first. For tips on planning a successful intervention check out this blog!
11. Have your solution ready!
You’ve organized the intervention and your teen recognizes they need help. At this point refer to the research you did in step two. Make your teen aware of their choice whether it is a detox then treatment or straight into rehabilitation.