Winter break is a time away from school for teens. With the excitement surrounding the holidays and being free from academic obligations, this break may mean something different for teens with mental health and substance use disorders.
An abundance can mean two things for teens dealing with mental illnesses or substance abuse. It can either mean more time to continue self-destructive behaviors or deal with untreated symptoms. Or, it might mean putting off treatment. However, the advantages of starting treatment during winter break help teens start the New Year off on the right track and regain control of their life.
Advantages of Starting Treatment During Winter Break
#1. No distractions. Winter break offers an ample amount of free time for your teens. Since school will be out, their academics won’t be in the way of their schedule. They won’t have any school obligations that need to come first, nor will their peers be around to distract them.
#2. Supervision. Leaving your teen unsupervised with lots of idle time can be a recipe for disaster. While teens need their freedom and space to be themselves, they also require supervision and close guidance. For teens with substance use, free time without adults is typically the perfect opportunity to use. They can hang out with their friends or other people that influence their drug use.
#3. Insurance. At the beginning of the year, most insurance plans reset their out-of-pocket maximums and deductibles. If you have already met those maximums, your insurance may go ahead and cover the rest of the cost for your treatment. Treatment services can often be very expensive for families, which is why using all the opportunities to lower the cost is important.
#4. Winter break can trigger other problems. The holidays and colder weather can trigger other symptoms like depression or anxiety. Seasonal affective disorder, also referred to as the winter blues, is most commonly triggered by the approach of the colder season and the holidays associated with it. The best way to prevent your teen from entering this form of depression is to get treatment for it before the time rolls around.
#5. New year, fresh start. One of the biggest aspects of recovery is unlearning all of the unhealthy habits that lead to substance abuse in the first place. As your teen goes through the treatment process, they will be taught new coping strategies and learn healthier habits to carry with them for the rest of their lives.
The Harm of Waiting Too Long to Seek Treatment
In the same way, there are benefits to starting treatment during winter break; you should not wait too long to get help.
Symptoms Can Worsen Over Time
Addiction is such a complex disease because it can ultimately gain control of a person’s overall well-being. As use gradually increases, the body, mind, and spirit begin to suffer at the hands of the substance. Drugs and alcohol also have a major effect on the brain. With increased use, parts of the brain begin to change, resulting in long-term damages.
For many mental illnesses, symptoms can also worsen over time. With more aggressive illnesses like bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder, getting evaluated and potentially starting medication should be done as soon as possible to prevent worsening of psychosis symptoms. It is what makes getting treatment for your teen’s illness at the right time so crucial.
Self-Harm or Suicidal Thoughts May Increase
Self-harm or suicidal thoughts are more common in mental disorders and substance abuse than people know. Many people who abuse substances have co-occurring disorders due to coping with one disorder by using drugs. Disorders like depression often create unusual thinking patterns that involve harming oneself or ending their life. For teens, suicidal ideations and self-harm tend to be higher at their age. With the help of therapy and medication, these symptoms and thoughts can be relieved. If you notice any form of self-harm or your teen mentions suicide, you must get help right away.
Continued Damage to Relationships and Life
Addiction is an aggressive disease. It causes people who use the drug to grow dependent on it, causing a need for higher drug levels and more frequent use. The cravings can grow so intense that your teen can start to neglect daily responsibilities and relationships over the need to get intoxicated or high. The need to be under the influence becomes a priority over grades, work, friendships, and other activities that were once important to your teen.
A part of addiction treatment is repairing relationships and other areas of life affected by your teen’s substance use. Waiting too late to get help can cause your teen’s substance use to increase to the point that their world strictly revolves around drugs and alcohol.
If your teen is currently dealing with substance abuse or a mental illness, know that the sooner they get help, the sooner they can get relief. Often teens become very good at hiding their pain and symptoms, causing them to use any time alone as a way to engage in self-destructive behaviors. Our goal at Clearfork Academy is to help male teens form a healthy identity and discover who they are without the need for substances. We serve as a recovery center for substance abuse, mental health disorders, and any co-occurring issues. Through our inpatient and outpatient services and our belief in the power of Christ, your teen can turn their lives around. Your teen needs the best opportunity for recovery, and Clearfork Academy is that opportunity. Therefore, if you are currently in search of a safe, secure, and caring treatment facility, contact us today by calling at (888) 966-8604.