Recovery is a lifelong and transformative process. Recovery is also not without its share of challenges. What does this mean for teens struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD)?
Teens need help to develop the skills necessary to stay sober and sustain recovery. Helping teens address and manage their SUDs can prevent relapse. Let’s take a closer look at different methods that will help your teen’s continued growth in recovery.
The Benefit of Recovery Skills
Developing practical recovery skills will allow your teen to maintain abstinence. Such a skill set will decrease the likelihood of them relapsing. Strong recovery skills will also help them “bounce back” should they relapse. Essentially, these skills provide the tools for navigating life’s challenges without resorting to self-destructive behaviors.
Your teen can apply these skills in everyday life. For example, relapse prevention strategies such as self-monitoring and setting proper boundaries will help them navigate relationships with friends or family members in a healthy manner. Additionally, these skills will help teens find meaning in their lives outside of their SUD.
Other benefits include:
- Increased self-esteem
- Improved relationships with loved ones and significant others
- Healthier habits such as exercise or healthy eating choices
- Reduced stress levels due to less anxiety about relapse potentials
Avoid Risky Situations
While in recovery, we suggest that your teen avoid situations that involve any alcohol or drug use. Therefore your teen must understand their limitations. Being in such risky situations can leave them feeling confused, unable to assess the problem, and incapable of making good decisions. They could succumb to their urges and return to patterns of addictive behaviors. Therefore, we recommend that they participate in activities that support their sobriety.
Find a Peer Support Group
Many teens who struggle with a SUD may feel isolated and alone. They might also find it difficult to discuss their problems with friends and family. Such a predicament may cause them to feel different or unable to fit in with other teens. However, a peer support group will benefit your teen.
In a peer support group, teens share their experiences with other teens managing a SUD. Being among peers that share similar experiences creates a comforting environment where your teen can express themselves without judgment.
A peer support group also helps teens develop communication, conflict resolution, and stress management skills. These are crucial life skills that will help them stay sober and safe in recovery.
Manage Triggers and Cravings
Triggers happen when individuals with a SUD are exposed to certain stimuli that remind them of using substances. Certain sights, sounds, or people could all be potential triggers. When triggered, the brain seeks to relieve stress and increase feel-good emotions, and too often, the method of choice is using substances. Therefore, such a process can make staying sober difficult for your teen.
However, your teen can manage their triggers using techniques that include:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Motivational interviewing (MI)
- Social support groups
Consider Behavioral Therapies
Research shows that behavioral therapies successfully treat SUD symptoms and causes. Such therapies focus on identifying, understanding, and changing behavioral patterns to achieve long-term change.
The goal is to replace harmful habits with healthy habits. Long-term therapy will also reduce negative experiences and implement positive ones.
Find a Distraction
Sometimes your teen may feel restless thinking about how they cannot use substances. Therefore, having a healthy distraction like a hobby or pursuing a passion will help distract them from thinking about substances.
A hobby can also give them a new sense of purpose and motivation. Such hobbies include:
- Playing music
- Going for a walk
Ultimately, participating in healthy activities will help your teenager expand their outlook on life without feeling pressured to use substances.
Many teens lead stressful lives. Schoolwork, peer pressure, extracurricular activities, and searching for colleges contribute to stress. Adopting healthy ways to manage stress can help them learn how to handle these situations.
Here are some of the most effective methods of coping:
- Exercise regularly
- Spend time outside
- Talk about thoughts and feelings openly
Since stress can occur at any moment, your teen needs to understand their stressors and triggers. Knowing what contributes to their desire to use substances will help them manage their stress and cravings.
Support Good Mental Health
Untreated mental health disorders can also contribute to relapse. Individuals who struggle with a mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or bipolar disorder are prone to using substances. Therefore, seeking professional help for mental health disorders will help prevent relapse.
Recovery is a life-long journey that requires persistence, motivation, and support. At Clearfork Academy, we offer teen-specific treatments that appropriately speak to their needs. We also work with teens and their families to educate them about substance use disorders and how to work together to overcome challenges. Our resources to care also include individual therapy, peer-supported groups, and holistic approaches. With our help, your teen will learn to deal with stressors and manage their addiction. We understand that recovery can be challenging, which is why we remain a pillar of support should your teen need help at any point in their recovery. Our aftercare programs also ensure that your teen stays involved in the recovery community. If your teenager is currently having difficulty sustaining their recovery, then the time to seek help is now. To find out more about our therapies and treatment programs, contact Clearfork Academy today and call (888) 966-8604.