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Teen Addiction Recovery: Family Involvement

Addiction is a disease, and one that will affect your child their entire life if they don't get help. It's important you and your family show your teen support during the treatment process. Let us help you find a rehab facility that embraces family involvement.

Find Treatment Options Where You Can Stay Involved

7 min read

What Is Rehabilitation?

teen and mother using the internet

When substance abuse takes over, the damage left in its wake can be incalculable. Rehab is a treatment option that helps a patient who’s dealing with the physical, psychological and emotional consequences of a drug or alcohol addiction. Every teen’s road to recovery is different, so it’s important to consult with your teen’s doctor about all the treatment options available. Rehab is the tried-and-true approach for teen addicts who are trying to get a handle on their lives.

Should I Be Involved?

The ripple effects of drug or alcohol dependence can extend to schools, workplaces and the other areas of society that your teen is exposed to. At home, soon enough, it becomes painfully clear that teen addiction affects the entire family. Addictive habits damage relationships, bring about legal troubles, endanger the well being of others and become costly. Often, it’s the family that foots the bill for the costs of addiction.

Because of the strain addiction can put on a family, it’s understandable that your involvement in your teen’s road to recovery can become reluctant or hesitant. But it’s important to remember that the family is the single most important resource for a recovering teen, possessing the ability to encourage or discourage a teen caught in dire straits. This response can send a teen towards wanting to get better or towards searching for more problems. And often, struggling teens can’t solve these problems on their own.

In cases of teen addiction, your family must forge and foster a relationship with professionals who can help your teen get the help they need. The treatment process is nuanced and it’s important that your family can be educated on all of the options that may be available for your teen’s unique needs. Rehab is a powerful tool, but only when deemed necessary by a medical professional and when everybody involved is on the same page with regards to the teen’s recovery plan.

How Do I Get Involved?

father and son walking and talking

First of all, your family needs to know the difference between being involved negatively and positively in your teen’s life. Some interactions can do more harm than good — especially when you’re not aware of how your actions or inactions are deepening their dependencies on the substances they’re already hooked on. These negative relationships include:

  • Codependency – when an addict’s behavior begins to take a toll on a loved one, forcing the latter to assume the role of being the one in total control of the situation in order to “help” — in reality, this assumed control only deflects the truth that professional help is necessary
  • Enabling – when a loved one behaves in ways (i.e. by denying an issue exists, by lying to the teen’s teachers, paying their missed bills, etc.) that allow for the addict to avoid the consequences of their actions

Fortunately, there are positive ways to begin to make an impact on your teen. None are quick and sure-fire ways to get your teen on the right track, but they can each go a long way towards building trust between members of the family during this stressful time. Some family-based treatments include:

  • Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) – attempt is made to builds relationships with each member of the family in an effort to understand how each person behaves with each other and to change any negative methods of behavior and interactions in the family
  • Family Behavior Therapy (FBT) – attempt is made to join the troubled teen and a loved one together to discuss evidence-based treatment options and allows them to choose a method themselves — behavioral goals are set together and rewards are distributed to the teen at each session if goals have been met
  • Functional Family Therapy (FFT) – attempt is made to dive into the family relationships to attempt to motivate or modify behavior changes, problem-solving and conflict resolution skills between members of the family
  • Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) – attempt is made to strengthen how the family collaborates with external systems like school and the legal system — in the contexts of rebuilding relationships with the teen
  • Multisystemic Therapy (MST) – attempt is made to rationalize teen’s substance abuse problems by contextualizing their relationships with family, peer groups, schools and environments

Family education, in general, is an excellent way for your family to not just understand what’s going on in your teen’s head. It’s also a great way to learn about the different facets of addiction, which are incredibly complex depending on the substance that’s being abused. Your family is not alone. There are thousands like yours that need a helpful push in the right direction. Addiction is not a disease solved alone and family education is a treatment option that intends to instill hope in situations that seem too bleak to want to move forward with.

Is An Intervention Necessary?

parents having serious talk with son

It may not be, but talk to a professional before deciding the steps to take. While it may seem like an obvious choice to unite loved ones and friends to come together and discuss next steps with a teen that’s struggling with a substance abuse problem, there are risks to consider. An event like this is an emotionally charged one and there may be different negative relationships (i.e. codependency and enabling) that allow for your teen’s addictive habits to fester.

If the intervention is considered a worthwhile step in the recovery process for your teen, it’s important to remain calm and patient during the meeting. Because it’s a surprise to them — and because the circumstances are incredibly tense and emotions are bottled up tight — expect resistance. In fact, once they’ve been informed about what’s happening, they may not want to attend or they might leave the session outright.

If the intervention is a success and your teen agrees to go to rehab, you’ll realize that the work has only just begun. Your teen may spend their time recovering thoroughly, but there always exists a chance of relapse, which is when they fall back into their addictive behaviors. Up to 50% of teens who go through rehab experience some form of relapse afterward. This is why family is the most important relationship they’ll have: your teen will count on you for strength through the entire process.

Does My Teen Need Addiction Treatment?

It can be incredibly difficult to admit that your teen is struggling with addiction. You never imagined this for your family. However, your child needs you now more than ever, and when addiction is present, Drug rehab treatment is often the only way back to health. Your teen’s problem is not isolated, and you don’t have to solve it all on your own. In fact, you can’t. And that’s okay.

First, make an appointment with your teen’s primary care physician or a family counselor, who can help you nail down a course of action. If addiction is in fact present, they will most likely recommend rehab. There are countless treatment facilities in the U.S., and you need to choose the one that will best meet your child’s needs. Call TeenRehabCenter.org to get a free, curated list of vetted facilities that specialize in teenage addiction.

We at TeenRehabCenter.org are here for you. If you need free, professional guidance about your family’s problem, give us a call. Everything you say to our treatment advisors is kept strictly confidential, and there are no obligations associated with speaking with us. Together we can guide your teen back to health. Just get in touch.

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