Having to send a child to a drug rehab treatment facility is perhaps one of the most challenging decisions a parent might have to make. Parenting is difficult in general in terms of being able to help children to grow up understanding how to function in the adult world, how to take care of oneself, and how to be safe and aware of the dangers and problematic behaviors that life can present.
Many parents often face resistance and rebellious attitudes from their children, as they reject authority and may not always understand that their parents want what is best for them. Moreover, if a teenager has started using recreational drugs and is beginning to develop substance abuse or addiction, they may not realize that they have a problem.
As a result, they may get angry or upset at the idea of being suggested to go to rehab centers, as they may believe that they do not have a problem and that they are simply having fun. This is where a parent’s decision to send their teenager to rehab might become even tougher, as they may face serious pushback from their child.
The Difference Between Drug Abuse And Drug Addiction
Furthermore, there is a clear distinction between drug abuse and drug addiction. Drug abuse refers to the usage of an illegal substance or the abuse of prescription medication (i.e., using the drug in a manner that is not consistent with the doctor’s orders).
Continued drug abuse can lead to addiction if it is not addressed, as the person taking the drugs might feel that they need to take them, which then leads to a dependency on the substance they are using.
Drug addiction refers to the instance where a person has become physiologically and psychologically addicted to a substance. This means that they experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms when they refrain from taking it, as well as psychological symptoms, such as feelings of anxiety, paranoia, and depression.
This is the basis of drug addiction, although other factors might come into play, such as mental illness, peer pressure, environmental factors, and more.
Understanding the difference between the two can help a parent with understanding how to approach the situation, knowing what they should say, and it will also help them if it gets to a point where intervention becomes necessary.
Intervention: What Is An Intervention?
An intervention is an event whereby friends and family come together to provide support, and advice, and may also share some tough feelings and emotions with the person that they are concerned about, in relation to behaviors or addiction they are worried about.
An intervention could resemble a group setting whereby everybody in the room sits down and takes turns sharing their concerns for their loved one, while also suggesting what they think the person should do (e.g., going to rehab), as well as outlining the consequences of not taking action to resolve the situation.
Parents could potentially make an intervention more effective by making sure that the room is free of judgment, and that the event is structured in a way that is supportive and which demonstrates that everyone present in the room wishes to help the teenager, rather than punish them.
Before staging an intervention, the parent should first make sure that they have a clear plan in terms of which rehab center their child will be going to, and how the facility will be involved in the process of transitioning from the intervention to the treatment process.
The rehab center will need time to prepare to receive the teenager, and both the parents and healthcare practitioners will want to make sure that the transition from the intervention to receiving addiction treatment is as seamless and smooth as possible.
This is key because if the teenager has responded positively and is willing to receive treatment for substance abuse, they could potentially change their mind shortly thereafter. Therefore, it’s important that they be continually surrounded by people who want to help them by providing them with treatment, and who will also reassure them and help them to understand that this is the best course of action for their health and well-being.
An intervention is likely to be a highly emotional event for everyone involved, especially for the person whom the intervention is for. As a result, this event could serve as a form of positive reinforcement for the teen. They would be among people they love who carefully explain why they are concerned about them, and why they think that seeking addiction treatment might help them.
How To Talk To A Teenager About Receiving Treatment
It might seem impossible to help a teenager to understand why drug abuse can be dangerous, and why their drug use is a problem, but there are things that parents can do in terms of how they talk to their teenagers that can help significantly.
Linking Drug Abuse With Problems In Life
Parents should begin by discussing the problems a teen might be having in life in general. For instance, if they state that they are having problems at school, the parent could carefully link this back to drug use, in order to show the teen that there is a link between the two and that by refraining from taking drugs, they could potentially improve the issues they are facing at school.
Elsewhere, parents could show their teens how their drug abuse is affecting other people and how they are worried for them; they could demonstrate how drugs can prevent them from fulfilling life goals, such as following a career path or going to college.
The key here is that they make a link between drug abuse being a destructive behavior that could cause them many problems in life, and therefore, illustrating how abstaining from drug use will be beneficial and how it will help them live a better life.
Being Free From Judgment
Being direct and straightforward in the approach is key. The teen might for example express interest in following a particular career path, and the parent could respond by stating how an untreated drug problem would get in the way or prevent the teen from pursuing that life goal.
When speaking with the teen, it’s essential not to come across as judgmental, but rather, as suggestive and friendly. Parents should attempt to make their teens understand that they are not being punished, and there is just concern for their mental and physical well-being.
However, parents should also make it clear that taking drugs can be destructive and dangerous, and there are serious consequences both in the short term and long term for continued drug abuse.
Parents should aim to provide as much information as possible about the dangers of drugs and how they can ruin people’s lives. The more their teenagers understand, the more likely it is that they will respond positively to the idea of seeking help.
Understanding The Consequences Of Drug Abuse
Furthermore, parents should continue to make it clear that abusing drugs has dangerous consequences, and that it will always present a problem for them in achieving whatever goals they might have.
By making this link clear, the teenager might begin to understand that they need to seek treatment for their substance addiction disorder, as well as understand how drugs can be a destructive and harmful thing in their lives.
Exploring The Choices Available With The Teen
Elsewhere parents could help their teens to understand all of the different choices they have in terms of how to move forward. For instance, the teen might want to get a job or complete their studies, and might not want to go to a rehab center.
The parent could then (depending on how severe the teen’s substance abuse and mental well-being are) advise their teen on how to proceed moving forward. For instance, the parent and the teen could agree to a short-term stay in a residential treatment facility such as Clearfork, where they could reside for several weeks and get access to the care and treatment programs they need to get back on track.
Or alternatively, they could agree to the teenager attending several sessions a week at a local medical facility, which might be more beneficial in terms of allowing the teen to keep up with their studies and slowly work on their recovery process simultaneously.
The point here is that by talking with the teen and giving them control over their choices, they are less likely to rebel or resist help. With this continued dialogue, it might even reach a point where the teen enters rehab and does so with the understanding that it was their decision, and therefore, they take ownership of that decision.
This could also develop into a situation where the parent and the teen both agree simultaneously that the teen enters a rehab center, and they make a plan together on how they are going to proceed with seeking treatment plans.
Can A Parent Force Their Teenager To Go To Rehab?
The law in the US states that teenagers who are aged 17 or under are able to be sent to a residential treatment center without their consent. This is of course a tough situation for a parent to be placed in, but ultimately they may need to proceed with this course of action if they believe that their child’s life is at stake.
If the teenager is above the age of 18, it is not possible to send your teen to rehab involuntarily. Once they become 18, they legally become an adult. Therefore, there are several factors that have to be considered and agreed upon before this decision can be made.
These include the severity of the addiction and how it is affecting their health and well-being, proof of whether they are at risk of harm from others or from themselves, and also proof of whether there is an addiction or not.
Why It’s Important To Send A Teenager To Rehab If They Need Help
The teenager is likely to be very resentful, angry, and upset with their parent as a result of being forced to go to rehab, but in the long term, they will likely come to terms with the decision once they understand the dangers of substance abuse, and how it has and could affect them.
The Damage To A Teen’s Health
Moreover, it is essential to note that a teenager’s brain is constantly developing and forming, and this process actually continues until a person reaches the age of 25. Therefore, the damage that a person younger than 25 can receive to their brain and body as a result of drug or alcohol abuse could be significantly worse in the long term in comparison with a person above the age of 25.
This is because the drugs or alcohol consumed could damage or prevent the development process within a person’s brain, meaning that their brain might not fully develop, or other irreparable damage could be caused.
In addition, falling into an addiction cycle at any point in life is a dangerous and destructive road, but it could be especially problematic for teenagers as addiction could prevent them from realizing their true potential in terms of future opportunities, such as going to college.
How Can Rehab Help A Teenager?
Sending a child to a teen drug rehab center could save a teen’s life, as it not only would help them to overcome the damage that the drugs have caused to the teen’s brain and body, but it could potentially help to reverse these effects. In addition, rehab could help the teenager by providing them with tools, advice, prescription medication, and the emotional support that they need to regain control of their life.
If possible, it’s important to try and get the teen to decide to seek addiction treatment on their own accord. By making the decision themselves, they will feel more ownership over the situation, and as a result, are likely to better respond to treatment and advice that they receive. This in turn could help them with achieving a full recovery from drug addiction.
How Do You Determine When A Teenager Needs To Go To Rehab?
The key point of consideration is understanding exactly what the teenager needs, and what the problem is. Addiction might indeed be a factor, but in some cases, it might not be. For instance, if a teen is suffering from a mental illness, the use of drugs could be an attempt to deal with the symptoms.
Therefore, forcing a teen to go to a rehab treatment center might be the wrong course of action in this particular scenario, and the teen would benefit more from counseling, one-to-one therapy, or even family therapy sessions, where they could also receive additional support and the presence of their family members while they receive help.
Moreover, it is important to find out as much as possible about the teenager’s usage of drugs and how they are feeling. This information could then be discussed with a healthcare professional in order to better assess the situation, from which they could advise the best course of action for the teen moving forward.
Signs Of Addiction
There is a range of different early warning signs and changes in behaviors that might indicate that a teenager is using drugs, and therefore, is potentially addicted to an illegal substance.
These may include a sudden change in their grades at school, being absent from classes or full days of school, staying out later than usual, lying about their whereabouts, a change in grooming habits or a drop in hygiene standards, or being secretive about their lives or withdrawing completely, and evidence of drug paraphernalia in their rooms.
Some of the physical symptoms might include bloodshot eyes, an ability to focus, smaller or larger pupils, energy crashes, tiredness, frequent sickness, and significant weight gain or weight loss.
From the mental health side of things, teens might experience mood swings, feelings of paranoia or anxiety, depression, or other behaviors indicating that the teenager might have developed one or several mental health disorders.
Types Of Treatment Centers For Teenagers
There are tens of thousands of treatment centers available in the US, and they all vary in terms of the treatment programs they offer, as well as their approach and philosophies for treatment processes.
Some centers are designed specifically for teenagers, some have a focus on a particular substance, some might use religious teachings to aid their treatment programs, and some might provide a mixture of different forms of treatment.
What Factors Should Parents Consider When Seeking Treatment For Their Teens?
There are many different factors that parents should consider when choosing addiction treatment services for their children. They will need to conduct a considerable amount of research in order to understand all of the viable options for their child.
Factors that they should consider include the philosophies that the centers use and whether or not they are agreeable with the parent’s and teen’s views, the cost of treatment and if this is able to be covered with the family’s health insurance, the distance between the treatment center and the family’s home, and how long treatment will last for to name a few.
Parents should discuss treatment options with their personal medical professionals, the healthcare representatives at the centers they are considering, as well as with their insurance providers. Additionally, some centers even offer people the opportunity to get financing or access to less expensive healthcare solutions.
What Forms Of Treatment Are Given To Teenagers In Rehab?
Addiction treatment that takes place within a center via an inpatient program may last anywhere between seven to ten weeks depending on the severity of the substance use disorder being treated.
Teenagers will receive treatment programs such as a medical detoxification process that will remove the drugs from their system, and access to prescription medications that will help them overcome their addiction, and they will then move on to longer-term forms of therapy such as 12-step recovery programs, one-to-one therapy sessions, and counseling.
Fortunately, families are able to visit their loved ones during this time, and for teenagers, this would be especially important, so that they know they are not alone and would feel supported during their treatment process.
Parents might even be asked to take part in different aspects of the process, such as family therapy, in order to help the teen to overcome any drug cravings they might have, as well as to help them with building confidence and coping mechanisms they need to overcome addiction, and also to avoid the potential of relapse in the future.
The first step of treatment is medical detox, the removal of all of the drug toxins within the teenager’s body. The medical detox will involve the person receiving prescription medication and being supervised by an addiction treatment specialist whilst they slowly overcome the withdrawal symptoms associated with the substance they have become addicted to. Depending on the severity of the addiction, this may take a few weeks or longer.
During the medical detoxification part of the treatment process, it is highly important that the parents or close relatives be present in order to provide emotional support and reassurance. The withdrawal symptoms are likely to be tough, so it will help to have the support of family and friends during this time, as it likely will help with the process.
Inpatient and Outpatient Therapy Programs
Treatment programs may come in the form of inpatient and outpatient programs. Inpatient programs typically involve the person receiving care while residing in a rehab center for the majority of their recovery.
Outpatient programs might take place at hospitals or medical centers, as they may involve a part-time schedule. Parents might find that their teens could benefit from a mixture of these programs, as this could potentially cause less of a disturbance to their education and lives in general. They could receive care via several sessions a week, instead of a long and intensive period.
However, this all comes down to the nature of the substance disorder, and what is necessary in treating it. Whatever is required in order to help teenagers to become healthy and happy once more will be the best course of action to take.
If you are seeking treatment to help your teenager to overcome a substance abuse problem, be sure to consider Clearfork, a center dedicated to helping people to receive treatment and successfully claim back control of their lives.
Clearfork Academy offers teenagers access to a treatment model that is specially designed to help teens overcome substance abuse, as well as helping them with mental health issues. What’s more, Clearfork has a focus on helping families as a whole, including them in the process and giving teens the best possible chance of long-term recovery.