Relapse is a difficult topic to discuss with your child. It’s hard to know what to say and how to react. However, your child needs to understand that you support and love them. In the event of relapse, it’s good to have a plan in place.
The Process of Relapses
Studies reveal that 40-80 percent of people treated for substance use disorders will have at least one drink within the first year, and around 20 percent of patients return to pre-treatment levels of substance use.
As a process, relapses develop into three main stages:
When relapse begins, it often starts with emotional triggers such as anger, depression, or anxiety. Often, many find the emotional triggers difficult to recognize. However, these emotional triggers can lead to negative thoughts. For example, your child thinks about using again because he wants to escape from his problems and relieve himself of the emotional triggers. Soon, such thoughts can lead to negative behaviors, such as using drugs or alcohol to feed the cravings and ease mental and emotional pain.
What to Say After a Relapse?
When relapse occurs, it is important to let your child know you care and support them. How? Instead of dwelling on hopelessness or helplessness, encourage your son to think about what they can do to move forward. Support the process of targeted self-reflection. Instead of asking “Why did you relapse?” or “What’s the point?” ask “What did you do that led to the relapse?” or “What might have been motivating you to use it again?” The more you know, the better equipped the both of you will be to come up with a plan.
Recognizing Early Warning Signs
For many teens, relapse is a gradual and confusing process. Symptoms might include frequent periods of lying or secrecy, changing their habits, and hiding things from you. By recognizing these early signs, you can help your child make important changes so that they won’t relapse again. However, it is crucial to understand that warning signs of relapse vary for each person.
Some of the most common warning signs include:
- Lack of interest in things they once enjoyed
- Frequent lying
- Decreased trust in others
- Increased anxiety or depression
- Increased aggression
- Social withdrawal
- Obsessive and inappropriate behavior
- Changes in appetite
- Getting sloppy with following their recovery plan
- Resuming relationships with former friends who consume drugs or alcohol
Risk Factors of Relapse Among Teen Males
Teenagers are more prone to relapse because their brains are still developing, which can lead to a lack of impulse control, co-occurring mental illness, and learning disabilities. If these factors go unchecked, it can be difficult for young people to maintain sobriety. A study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that drug relapse often stems from exposure to stressful events, such as violence, abuse, and natural disasters. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to common circumstantial issues that drive teens to relapse.
Circumstantial risk factors include:
- The end of a romantic relationship or close friendship
- Continued social peer pressure from friends, social media, classmates, etc.
- Inadequate coping skills
- Parents divorcing, especially if tumultuous
- Death of a loved one
- Lack of support from family and peers
Develop a Relapse Prevention Plan
When the teen returns home from rehab, parents may want to focus on that joyful return. While celebrating your child’s milestone of reaching sobriety, it is also important to remember the complexities of a SUD and how a plan can help with long-term recovery. Remember, recovery is a lifelong journey. It relies on support from friends, family, and peers and the ability to create plans that aid your child when situations become challenging.
Your plans should consider:
- List of reasons to stay sober
- List of safe places to go to if they use again
- Schedule of local support group meetings
- List of stress-relief practices or coping skills
- Locations of local emergency services
- List of hotline numbers or crisis lines
Clearfork Can Help
As one of the most trusted drug rehab facilities in Fort-Worth, Texas, we understand what you’re going through. We will help your loved one get back on track. As experts in the field, our team of fully licensed clinicians provides a range of treatments.
We offer the following services:
- 12-Step education
- Medically assisted detoxification
- Spiritual guidance
- One-on-one therapy
- Group counseling
- Family therapy and education
- Dual diagnosis treatment for depression, anxiety, ADHD, etc
- Individualized treatment plans
- Adventure courses and equine therapy
- Trauma-based treatment
Let us join you on this journey of recovery.
Let Clearfork Academy take the burden off of you. We work with parents struggling to find help for their teenage sons with behavioral and emotional problems. Clearfork Academy provides evidence-based treatment in a caring, compassionate environment to ensure that your child can live a life of complete wellness. We view a relapse as a turning point that can create a renewed commitment to overcoming SUDs. We aim to turn this potentially negative experience into one of hope and renewal. Rather, it is a chance to retrace your son’s steps and find out what caused him to slip. The therapeutic process will help them recognize their triggers and learn new coping skills. Our 24/7 on-call medical team specializes in addiction medicine to meet your loved one’s detox needs. Our licensed clinicians will work with clients to create personalized treatment plans tailored to meet their individual needs. Contact us at (888) 966-8604 to learn more about our program.