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Teen Phone Addiction

Teen Phone Addiction

Most of us are probably guilty of spending too much time on our phones. With continuous technological advancements, endless apps, and the possibility to communicate while being physically absent, software companies continue to find ways to draw people into their digital products. And teens are their perfect target audience.

Teenagers have grown up in an era where they are learning how to use cell phones younger than ever before. Cell phone use is ingrained in teenagers from an early age, increasing the risk of developing a cell phone addiction later on in their lives.

But what exactly is teen cell phone addiction and why are so many adolescents falling into the same trap? This page will explore what cell phone addiction is, the possible causes, red flags that may indicate a cell phone addiction, and steps that parents can take to help their teenagers avoid this modern phenomenon.

What is Teen Cell Phone Addiction?

What is Teen Cell Phone Addiction?

Cell phone addiction puts into question many stereotypical assumptions about addiction. While parents once worried about their teens falling into substance abuse and the possibility of drug addiction, recently, the addiction landscape has shifted. Parents now also worry about their teenagers having too much screen time and their risk of developing a cell phone addiction.

On average, teens have been found to spend around seven hours a day on their mobile phones, compared to adults who have a screen time of around four hours a day. But teen cell phone addiction is so much more than talking and texting. For teenagers, cell phones open a gateway to an escape from reality, it includes games, apps, and the biggest time consumer of them all, social media.

When it comes to interaction amongst peers, teens now like to admire and approve, comment, and criticize. They aren’t always communicating one on one but instead are constantly checking for responses and likes to their posts and others.

Smartphone addiction is real and the more that teenagers are using the apps, the more their behavior is reinforced by the dopamine that is induced through their mobile phone usage.

Why Are Teens Addicted to Their Phones?

Why Are Teens Addicted to Their Phones?

Teenagers tend to be naturally more sociable, they are at an age of questioning life and the things that happen around them. Interacting with new people is a part of this process. The evolution of technology has created a new possibility for socializing and allows for this generation to do exactly this, but online. Teens communicate through an array of social websites and apps that allow for these connections to be built even if individuals are thousands of miles apart.

The majority of phone apps are developed to keep users coming back time and time again. When these apps are used and teens are met with positive interactions, positive messages from friends, and believe quality relationships are blossoming, dopamine is released.

Mass research has found that excessive cell phone usage, specifically social media, can heavily impact the brain. In fact, cell phone use can cause similar chemical responses within the brain that are caused by drug addiction. Dopamine is a natural chemical found within the brain that is associated with positive reinforcement and pleasure. When a teenager receives positive comments, new likes, or new followers online, a burst of dopamine is received in their brain. Similarly to a drug’s high, as the use of social media increases, the more engagement a user will crave.

As this reward cycle starts to solidify in place, the time that is spent using social media platforms will increase. Teenage cell phone addiction is defined as a behavioral disorder, meaning that the obsessive use of a cell phone is affecting the functioning of their day-to-day life.

But as we have discussed, cell phone addiction goes much further than simply using cell phones as a talking device. Teen smartphone addiction includes compulsive and repetitive use of a cell phone for other activities, and although these behaviors are normal from time to time, they become dangerous when they turn into an obsessive compulsion.

Signs Someone Is Addicted to Their Cell Phone

Signs Someone Is Addicted to Their Cell Phone

Similar to other behavioral addictions, there are certain telltale signs of teen cell phone addiction. By having an awareness of these red flags, you can attempt to catch the problem before it develops into a serious technology addiction.

  • They are experiencing mental health problems such as symptoms of anxiety or depression
  • Constantly on his or her phone and unable to be without it, even if for a short period of time
  • Neglecting activities they once enjoyed
  • Academic performance has declined
  • They are impatient, irritable, or angry
  • Teens become obsessed with documenting everything they are doing, such as selfies and pictures
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty sleeping despite feeling tired a lot of the time, as the time before bedtime is spent on their cell phone
  • They are unable to keep track of time when using their cell phone
  • They opt to stay in their bedrooms on their cell phones rather than spend time outside with friends
  • Teen has trouble cutting back on his or her cell phone use
  • They lie about how much time they are spending on their cell phone

On top of these signs, they may also think they hear their phone buzz when in fact, it doesn’t. These are called phantom vibrations and they often occur throughout school or times when your teen is unable to access their mobile phone. Time without the phone can even lead to a withdrawal that is similar to a drug withdrawal. Symptoms can include headaches, sweating, shaking, or nausea.

If you believe teenage cell phone addiction is affecting someone you love, it is important to know that you are not alone and help is available. Teen smartphone addiction is extremely common, in fact around 50% of teenagers believe that they have a cell phone addiction and although more than a third of teenagers try to reduce the amount of time that they spend on their cell phones, the majority of them are unable to do so.

Social Media Use

Social Media Use

The generations that have grown up with social media platforms and regular cell phone use are at risk of developing emotional and social challenges that have not been encountered before. While teenagers once worried about rumors being spread amongst peers or gossip circulating in their schools, many now live in fear of public shaming online.

Users can now have hundreds of followers on different platforms and sharing online is as simple as pressing a single button. Research has found that 62% of teenagers use some form of social media every day while only one-third of teens say that they actually enjoy their use of social media ‘a lot’.

How Social Media Affects Mental Health

Research has found that a teen’s use of social media is closely related to an increase in low levels of life satisfaction and teen depression. Although the effects of social media can be worrying for everyone, the impact on teens is even more concerning.

The brain of a teenager is still developing in functions such as emotional regulation, self-control, impulse control, decision-making, and cognitive controlling, this combined with the constant flow of new content can overwhelm a teenager’s ability to manage and process the input.

One study that looked at 13-year-olds and their social media use found that participants who reported to have checked their social media from 50 to 100 times every day were found to be 37% more distressed compared to individuals who checked their social media a few times a day. Some of the ways in which social media can contribute to teen anxiety and depression may include:

  • Enduring public criticism
  • Comparing themselves to beauty standards that are shown on social media
  • Jealousy or envy over the lives of people online
  • Obsessive over whether they have enough likes, comments, or shares
  • Having the fear of missing out on certain events

Effects of Phone Addiction

Effects of Phone Addiction

Teen cell phone addiction can have many negative effects on a teenager’s day-to-day life. Cell phone addiction has been linked to a decrease in participating in extracurricular activities as well as a decline in school grades, 61% of kids found that the use of their smartphone negatively impacted their schoolwork. Below are the possible risks of a cell phone addiction and the consequences that may harm teenagers well being and safety.

Mental Health

As we have discussed, the teenage brain is still developing and is therefore more vulnerable to certain things that could possibly lead to mental health issues. Studies have found that teenagers who spend large amounts of time on social media apps are at risk of suffering from higher levels of mental health issues. For example, anxiety levels can increase when a teenager’s phone is not readily available.

A recent study that surveyed over 300 university students aimed to investigate whether high engagement with mobile phones affected the user’s well-being. They found that individuals who described themselves as displaying addictive-like behaviors towards their phones scored higher on anxiety and depression scales.

Physical Health

Excessive screen time can also affect a teenager’s physical health. The blue light that is radiated from a phone can pose risks of developing eye problems. Phone addiction can also lead to negative health consequences, including:

  • Blurred vision or eye strain from staring at a small screen
  • Chronic strain on the neck from constantly looking down at a phone
  • Eye fatigue
  • Headaches and migraines

Sleeping Behaviors

When a teen is going to bed, the location of their phone can be an indicator of potential smartphone addiction. 62% of teenagers say that they use their cell phones after their bedtime and 66% say that their phones negatively impact their sleep.

Cybersecurity

Phone and internet addiction are linked to certain cybersecurity behaviors. Cybersecurity basically means the protection of your personal information, things that could happen include online scams or identity theft. It is always important to educate your teen about cybersecurity.

Cybercriminals are all over the internet and at times it can be difficult to judge whether someone on an online forum is to be trusted or not. Additionally, teenagers are at risk of cyberbullying. Other users are able to comfortably hide behind a screen and send harmful comments or information to others.

Road Safety

We are all aware of the dangers of driving while talking or texting on the phone. Unfortunately, teenage cell phone addiction increases the likelihood of these dangers happening. When teen drivers are using a phone, they are unable to direct all of their attention to the road. 34% of teenagers reported that they had texted while driving and 52% said that they had spoken on the phone while driving. Similar to other addictions, cell phone addiction can lead to poor decision-making and recklessness, this combined with driving can result in risky outcomes.

Tips on How to Help Avoid Teen Cell Phone Addiction

Tips on How to Help Avoid Teen Cell Phone Addiction

Parents are able to limit their teenager’s cell phone use in a variety of ways. It’s important to set structure, limitations, and boundaries to avoid teen cell phone addiction. Some cell phone rules and intervention measures that a parent may consider include:

  • Set time limits for your teen’s cell phone use
  • No phones at bedtime or in bed
  • Try and introduce mobile-free days, as a family, it can work by leaving all cell phones at home while enjoying an activity together
  • No cell phones at the dinner table
  • Set up screen-free periods throughout the day
  • Teach your teenager about the dangers of social media and the consequences of spending too much on their mobile devices
  • Limit access to social media – it is possible to set time restrictions on certain apps
  • Turn off notifications so their screens are not constantly flashing

As a parent, you understand your child more than anyway and you are aware of what preventive measures are appropriate to use. Although anyone with a mobile phone is at risk of developing a mobile phone addiction, teenagers are at a heightened risk, especially without parental supervision.

Treatment at Clearfork

Clearfork academy is a residential treatment center for teenagers. We provide substance abuse disorder treatment and help for teens who are experiencing mental health concerns, such as depression or anxiety. Our outdoor adventure program serves adolescent girls and boys from the ages of 13 – 17. We provide a structured and supportive environment for youth who may be struggling with their mental, physical and social bonds of mental health and chemical dependency.

Our program was designed for today’s teenagers and each module that they encounter reflects both our core values and therapeutic approaches that have been proven to be effective. We offer a medical detox which is essential for a healing process to begin. Individualized treatment plans are created to ensure a quick recovery and an easy transition to our residential programs.

Our residential treatment helps teenagers recover from drug or alcohol addiction in a safe and comfortable space on a scenic Texas Ranch. We also offer intensive outpatient treatment which is perfect for those teenagers who may be in the early stages of their substance abuse or addiction and need ongoing guidance and support to help avoid any long-term issues.

If you want to find out more about how we at Clearfork Academy can help you or a loved one, then contact us today. Remember, we are here to help you.

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Behavioral Disorders in Adolescents

Behavioral Disorders in Adolescents

As an adolescent, you are going through a variety of changes, developing into who you are as a person both physically and mentally. During this period, behavioral disorders may present themselves more clearly and cause a variety of obstacles to overcome. However, adolescence is a common time frame for these disorders to become prevalent.

Behavioral Disorders

Behavioral disorders are considered patterns of disruptive behaviors that occur for at least six months. These disorders can have a variety of behaviors involved, such as lack of attention span, impulsive behaviors, hyperactivity, and unusual or defiant behavior. Common diagnoses of behavioral disorders in adolescents include attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Conduct Disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). These common diagnoses can cause adolescents trouble in school and work environments.

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD causes adolescents or individuals with this diagnosis to struggle to retain focus and attention or hyper-focusing on various matters. While these behaviors often onset in children and adolescents, the behaviors can continue to worsen throughout life if not handled properly. The following behaviors are commonly seen in adolescents diagnosed with ADHD:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Losing items consistently
  • Fidgeting
  • Making careless mistakes
  • Impulsive decision-making
  • Struggle to resist temptations
  • Impatience

While ADHD is not curable, there are many healthy habits you can implement into your lifestyle to help manage these symptoms. Eating healthy, keeping healthy sleep habits, and scheduling your day can help make basic functioning run smoothly.

Conduct Disorder

Conduct disorder in adolescents is often viewed as a consistent form of delinquent behavior. With an increased tendency to act out of impulsivity, aggression, and disobedience, the results of this disorder are more extreme. The following symptoms are common with this behavioral disorder.

  • Aggression
  • Destruction
  • Deceitfulness
  • Lying
  • Manipulation

One of the most important ways to work through conduct disorder is to learn skills to help regulate your emotions. Many symptoms arise from heightened anger and the inability to control impulses.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

ODD in adolescents is portrayed through a long period of disobedience and hostile behaviors. This can arise in young children but is often worse during adolescence. The following symptoms of ODD are important to be aware of and recognize if you find you are frequently experiencing these.

  • Increased irritation
  • Temper tantrums
  • Low self-esteem
  • Blaming others
  • Refusal to obey

Behavioral Disorders in Adolescents

Reviewing the three most common behavioral issues shown in adolescent males, you may notice that many of the symptoms of the three disorders are very similar. ADHD is typically the most differing of the three disorders discussed above. With ADHD, the main struggles adolescents find they are dealing with is their ability to retain attention on a subject and focus on success in educational settings. This can cause grades to fall and a lack of attention span. 

Creating a study schedule with planned breaks every so often can help reset the mind. If you allow your mind a chance to focus on something else and then come back to regain focus, it can be easier to engage with the material.

With ODD and Conduct Disorder, the behaviors shown have a higher potential for violence. Conduct Disorder typically involves a higher level of violence and misbehavior through the adolescent’s actions. ODD is often more behavioral through throwing tantrums and expressing heightened emotions, while conduct disorder involves physical acts of violence out of anger. 

Managing Behavioral Disorders

Learning to manage behavioral disorders as an adolescent can be challenging as you are working toward becoming an adult and taking upon more responsibilities. It is recommended to seek psychological help if dealing with a behavioral disorder to ensure you are making progress and learning appropriate coping mechanisms. 

This form of psychological treatment is focused on your well-being but will also include your parents. By working with the family unit, the goal is to set clear expectations of rules and boundaries, work to improve communication, and bring self-awareness. Discussing the issues that a behavioral disorder has brought on can help each family member express their concerns and work together to create a plan that everyone feels will lead them to success. 

Working on getting help and regulating your behavioral disorder as an adolescent can make the management of this disorder much easier in the future. If you push aside the consequences of your behaviors, they will likely catch up to you and cause more serious conflict in the future. Working to regulate these behaviors and emotions at a young age can help implement these habits more easily. Working to provide mental stability will help you set yourself up for future success.

Behavioral disorders are common concerns during the age of adolescence. Understanding the various forms of behavioral disorders and how to manage them can help teens avoid getting drawn into the negative symptoms brought upon by these disorders. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that behavioral disorders such as ADHD, ODD, and conduct disorder are common among teens. These disorders can cause a variety of struggles, but our programs can help. We provide teens with the appropriate therapy and treatment to help them manage their behavioral disorders. With us, teens will learn to cope with behavioral disorders and get back on track by gaining the skills needed to manage their disorders. If your teen currently needs help, don’t wait; act today. To learn more about the common types of behavioral disorders in adolescents and how to manage them, contact Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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Bipolar Disorder in Teens: Why Is It Hard to Diagnose Adolescents?

Bipolar Disorder in Teens: Why Is It Hard to Diagnosis in Adolescents?

Although bipolar disorder is often diagnosed in early adulthood, symptoms typically manifest in adolescence and teenage years. Despite the presence of symptoms, many challenges come with assessing whether or not a child has bipolar disorder

Getting a diagnosis sooner rather than later is crucial in treating bipolar disorder. If you suspect your child may be showing symptoms of bipolar disorder, it’s time to reach out to their pediatric healthcare provider. 

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that causes someone to experience a shift in mood and behaviors. In The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), bipolar disorder is classified as a mood disorder

Children and teens experience natural changes in mood and behaviors, but bipolar disorder is not like the normal ups and downs that children go through. Mania, depressive, and mixed episodes have their own set of symptoms that require a diagnosis. 

Bipolar Type I

Bipolar I is characterized by manic and depressive episodes. A person with this diagnosis must have at least one manic episode in their life. When left untreated, manic symptoms can last for a few weeks to a few months. People with Bipolar I disorder typically cycle through manic and depressive episodes and can have long breaks where they are symptom-free. 

A few percentages of people with Bipolar I experience rapid-cycling, which means they can experience periods of mania or depression four or more times a year. 

Bipolar Type II

Bipolar II is characterized by hypomanic and depressive episodes. Hypomanic episodes are not as intense as full-blown manic episodes. People with Bipolar II typically have more episodes of depression than hypomania. 

Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified is diagnosed when a patient has some symptoms of bipolar disorder but doesn’t meet the full diagnosis. A psychiatrist may use this diagnosis when a patient’s symptoms resemble bipolar disorder but may fall short of meeting the DSM-5 criteria. It is often diagnosed when a patient has a mood dysfunction, primarily with depression and short episodes of hypomania. 

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Teens

Mood episodes in bipolar disorder are not as simple as going through cycles of being “happy” or “sad.” These episodes include criteria that acknowledge changes in sleep patterns, behaviors, mood, and energy levels. A person with bipolar disorder must show symptoms of mania, hypomania, depression, or mixed episodes. 

Symptoms of a depressive episode:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, despair, guilt
  • Feeling inadequate
  • Loss of interest in activities that once were preferred 
  • Hypersomnia or sleep difficulties
  • Aggression, hostility, or irritability 
  • Suicidal ideations or thoughts 
  • Problems with attention or decision making

Symptoms of a manic episode:

  • Intense happiness 
  • Fast speech with unclear topics 
  • Insomnia or sleep difficulties
  • Hypersexuality
  • Easily distracted or attention difficulties
  • Sense of euphoria or grandiose
  • Symptoms last for one week or more

Symptoms of Hypomania 

Symptoms of hypomania are the same as mania, just less intense, and must occur for at least four consecutive days.

Mixed Episodes

During mixed episodes, symptoms of mania and depression co-occur. One mood state typically predominates, and the symptoms will be contradictory. Many people who experience mixed episodes describe it as more uncomfortable than experiencing manic or depressive episodes separately. Sometimes people with mixed episodes have higher psychosis symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder in Adolescents and Teens

Spotting signs of bipolar disorder can be tricky because it can look like so many other disorders. Other disorders common in teens, such as anxiety disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, depression, and ADHD, all have symptoms that look like bipolar disorder. Specific medications such as stimulants for ADHD can trigger mania in adolescents and teens with bipolar disorder

This disorder manifests during the teen and early adult years but can also begin during the younger years of childhood. Natural fluctuations in moods also occur during hormonal changes and can be a part of childhood behavior. Adolescents and teens who have bipolar might have more intense mood changes than adults. 

How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed? 

For diagnosis, your teen must experience manic or hypomanic and depressive symptoms, whereas some individuals with this disorder can experience mixed episodes. The healthcare provider will begin to ask an extensive series of questions that pertain to your teen’s mood, behaviors, sleeping patterns, and energy levels. Discussing family history is important because bipolar disorder can be hereditary. 

Going to a healthcare provider specializing in treating and diagnosing adolescents and teens is important for a proper diagnosis. Treatment for bipolar disorder typically involves medications such as antipsychotics and mood stabilizers, along with counseling or psychotherapy. 

Getting the right treatment for your teen with bipolar disorder will improve their overall health and quality of life. Failing to get proper treatment in time can worsen symptoms and a diminished quality of life. Clearfork Academy is an addiction recovery center specializing in treating teens with substance use and co-occurring disorders. Substance use disorder rarely occurs on its own, while bipolar disorder is one of the most common co-occurring disorders with SUD. Our treatment center focuses on guiding your child to a sober lifestyle through proper treatment programs and addressing the root cause of their drug use. If you believe your teen may be using substances to cope with symptoms of bipolar or other mental disorders, we offer treatment options that help you and your teen sustain a stable lifestyle. To learn more about our diagnosis and treatment programs, reach out to us at Clearfork Academy today and call (866) 650-5212

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Tips for Supporting a Friend With a Mental Illness

Tips for Supporting a Friend with a Mental Illness

The adolescent and teenage years are often the most vulnerable time for mental illnesses to develop. However, teens tend to feel more comfortable turning to their friends for help with their mental illness rather than talking with their parents or professionals.

If you and your friends look to each other for help, it is important to know how to support one another when it comes to mental health.

Understanding Mental Illness

It is not always obvious when someone is dealing with a mental illness. Mental illnesses are often referred to as “invisible illnesses” because a person’s symptoms are not always visible to those around them. While some people are comfortable with sharing their diagnoses, others feel uncomfortable.

While it can be frustrating to feel like your friend is withholding information from you, don’t take it personally if your friend does not open up to you right away. It is important to remember that not everyone has the same experience with mental illnesses.

What Can You Do to Support a Friend With a Mental Illness?

Friends are essential in your developmental process because they lend a sense of connection and add to your self-worth. As a teen, you may find that you and your friends turn to each other for help more than you turn to your parents. Therefore, learning about disorders and how they affect individuals provides the best opportunity to support them. Here are six tips to support your friends when they come to you for help:

  1. Listen to Them: People with a mental illness often feel like others don’t listen to their experiences and what they are going through. If your friends feel comfortable talking to you about their disorder, be respectful and listen without judgment. You don’t have to wholly understand their experience or know all of the answers to their questions. Sometimes, they are not looking for an answer. Sometimes showing them that you are willing to offer a listening ear can help them feel more comfortable with expressing how they feel.
  2. Learn the Warning Signs: Getting help as early as possible is important when treating a mental illness. Learning to spot the warning signs of mental illnesses can help your friend find proper treatment. Spotting the warning signs requires learning about specific disorders and the symptoms that encompass them. If you notice your friend behaving in unusual ways to how they usually carry themselves, this is also a clear indication that they might need help.
  3. Respect Their Boundaries: Allow your friends to share as much or as little as they would like about how they feel. Don’t push them to tell you more than what they feel comfortable with; doing so might cause them to pull away from you. They may have specific boundaries to help them deal with their symptoms and how they talk about them. They may also want to avoid specific topics that are too triggering for them, and you must respect this, too. It is important to talk with your friends about boundaries and remember to uphold these boundaries.
  4. Don’t Always Bring Up Their Illness: Some mental illnesses require constant attention including, medication, being aware of moods, dietary changes, and navigating life with coping mechanisms that keep their symptoms at ease. However, your friend is not their illness, and their mental illness does not need to be the topic of every discussion. Sometimes spending time with the people they love offers a break from having to acknowledge their illness. You don’t have to mention or discuss their illness every time you hang out with or talk to them.
  5. Don’t Tell Your Friend How They Should Feel: Each individual’s experience with a mental illness is their own experience. Even if you know a lot about other illnesses, it is important to remember that you are not a medical or mental health expert, so understand that there are many things you don’t know about their illness. Avoid acting like a therapist or a psychiatrist when addressing your friend’s feelings. When they share their feelings with you, it is important to remain a friend and listen.
  6. Keep Your Questions Open Ended: Asking open-ended questions allows your friend the chance to share what they would like. Instead of saying to them, “You seem sad or lethargic today,” you can ask, “How are you feeling today?” Asking how they feel rather than how you think they feel allows them to share what they would like and not feel pushed to answer something outside their comfort zone.

It can be scary watching your friends manage their mental illnesses, especially during the adolescent stage. Clearfork Academy specializes in teen addiction and mental health treatment and offers specialized programs that help teens manage mental illnesses and substance use disorders. In addition to our clinical approaches, we also utilize holistic approaches such as art and adventure therapy. If your child is currently experiencing a substance use disorder that is interfering with their mental health, we will safely guide them through the detox and withdrawal phase of treatment. From there, we will get to the root of their substance use and identify any underlying conditions such as mental illnesses that may be influencing their substance use. Our goal is to help your teen reach sobriety and maintain long-term sobriety by teaching them healthy coping strategies and life skills. If your teen needs treatment, don’t wait. Call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604

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Guide For Co-parenting Adolescents With a SUD

Guide For Co-parenting Adolescents With a SUD

Watching your adolescent or teen struggle with mental illness is never an easy thing. It can be difficult to know what to do or say, even when your best interest lies in your child getting the help they need.

It is common for parents to go to great lengths to protect their adolescents from illness, injury, and hurt. When addiction and substance use begins to play a factor in their life, it can be shocking for a parent to understand how or why their child got to that point. Whether a parent experiences feelings of guilt, blame, or resentment towards their teen, there are unique things to keep in mind that can set your child up for an effective and efficient recovery journey.

Becoming an Educated Parent

Substance use and mental illness within any given home may pose numerous challenges. The most important factor in staying optimistic and understanding during it all is for each parent to become educated about addiction, mental illness, and substance use to the best of their ability. It also helps reduce intense feelings of guilt or shame, both for the parents and the child.

For example, many people do not learn to question the nature of addiction throughout their lives unless they become directly affected by it. Instead, people submit to stigmas and stereotypes created by society. With this, one of the most important things to understand about addiction and substance use/abuse is that they develop from a combination of factors, including:

  • Biological, genetic makeup
  • Parental influences
  • Home environment
  • Social influences
  • Psychological conditions, such as co-occurring conditions

When you first learn that your child is using substances, you may feel separated from them. Educate yourself about your teen’s substance of choice. Consider things like its addictive potential or how they came to use that specific substance. Question the myths and stereotypes of addiction, and hear your teen out. Learn more about the nature of addiction and how to be a supportive parent during their recovery journey. Both parents must be on the same page about what they know and understand about addiction.

Find Social Support

Educational opportunities may also come in the form of parental support groups. For parents who have a child with a substance use disorder, it is crucial to find a group that can help them feel supported and loved. You may feel like your teen’s condition is a burden on you, thinking that where your child is at is your fault. No matter where you stand with your teen, having positive social support can increase your understanding of mental health and minimize the consequences of stress, trauma, and other mental distress.

Addressing the Elephant in the Room

Every parent discovers teen substance use differently. Whether this is the first time, you’re addressing it or the fifth, how you have a conversation with your teen matters greatly. While learning about substance use, you will come to understand that substance use typically begins from feelings of isolation, lack of self-worth, or mental distress. Consider these factors when you talk with your teen about their substance use.

For example, when talking with your teen, you may want to consider:

  • Your tone of voice
  • Your word choice
  • Avoiding judgment
  • Avoiding shame

and instead, approaching the conversation from a place of:

  • concern for your teen’s past, present, and future
  • curiosity for how it all began
  • care and compassion for your teen
  • caution for all things considered

Co-parents must agree about how to go about having a conversation with their teens about their substance use. The home environment and parental influences are two crucial factors that influence why a teen may use substances, have parental dysfunction, or have disconnection. Co-parents must learn to ask questions without placing blame, treat their teens with dignity and respect, and set necessary boundaries for their teens moving forward.

How to Go About Utilizing Teen Treatment

It is the role of the parents to address what steps need to be taken for your teen to get the treatment that they need to recover from their addiction or substance use. Considering your teen’s age, it may help to discuss treatment options for your teen with your teen. Forced treatment rarely provides long-term recovery, so getting your teen on board with where you stand as a parent is necessary.

Consider the severity of your child’s addiction. Have a mental health professional evaluate your teen’s situation, as they will be able to recommend treatment centers or programs that could benefit your teen. Always remember to keep your best foot forward with your teen. As hard as it may be to send them to a treatment facility, all you and your partner want is what is best for your child.

Co-parenting a child or teen with a substance use disorder can be overwhelming. You may struggle to know what is best for your child, even with the help of your partner. You must obtain as much knowledge as possible about the nature of your teen’s addiction so that you can better understand their unique situation. Clearfork Academy is a teen treatment center that offers inpatient and outpatient programs, depending on the individualized needs of your teen. Our programs foster leadership, emotional, and behavioral skills that will empower them to take responsibility for their substance use. We believe in the potential of teenagers, and the power of Christ, to take charge of their lives. Remember, unity is required to help your teen manage their addiction. For more information about how to co-parent a child in recovery or about the treatment options that Clearfork Academy offers, give us a call today at (888) 966-8604.