Your Teen Has a Drug Problem—Now What?
As a parent, you will do anything for your child, especially if it comes to keeping them protected. However, kids can often find themselves experiencing with different things that make them change for the worse. According to a 2015 study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than one million youths between 12 and 17 suffered from a substance abuse problem. If this happens, parents often feel a variety of emotions, including anger, guilt, and even sadness. If you know your child has a drug problem, here are the steps you must take to get them the help they need.
Talk about it
This is going to be one of the most difficult things to do, but it’s important to have an open and honest conversation about your child’s drug use and how it’s affecting the family and their life. You and your spouse need to have a united front, and this conversation needs to happen in a calm and mature way. If you get angry, it will only make the situation worse. In addition, you need to be prepared for your child to become angry or emotional, and they may not even want to talk with you. While it will be frustrating, it’s important to have this conversation anyway.
See a doctor
Doctors, counselors, and therapists are out there and ready to help those who suffer with substance abuse. There are many reasons why your child may be using drugs, and the doctor can help figure this out. For instance, maybe the child has a mental disorder and the drug helps them cope; maybe they’re just trying to fit in; or maybe there’s another underlying reason for the abuse. The therapist will work with your child to help determine the cause and possibly create solutions to get them to stop.
Talk with the school
If your child is in school, be sure to have a conversation with those at the school, such as teachers, principals, and even the guidance counselor or social worker. These professionals have had experience dealing with kids in these situations, and they can help provide resources or additional help to kick the abuse in the bud. In addition, they can help to monitor your child and his/her behavior while at school to keep them on the right track.
Be prepared for a hard road
If your child is truly addicted to drugs, getting him/her off the addiction with be extremely difficult and draining. It will include withdrawals, it will include a lot of emotions, and it will include a lot of perseverance on your end. Understand you can get through this with your child as long as you and your family remain dedicated to it.
Keep them busy
Your child will want to lean toward the drug when they’re bored, and this is something you need to deter. Instead, find ways to keep your child busy. Get them a job after school, enroll them in extracurricular courses, or find a hobby or talent they have and help them harness it. If your child can find success and a natural high from other accomplishments, it can help alleviate the need for drug use.
Make necessary changes
Since you’re willing to do anything to keep your child healthy, sometimes this requires making necessary changes to put your child’s health first. For instance, if your child’s drug use stemmed from bad influences, then maybe changing schools or moving to a new town would be beneficial to help your child cope. If the drug use stemmed from certain stressors in your child’s life, find ways to help them deal with these stressors in different ways or do what you can to remove them from your child’s life altogether.
Find a professional program
Because drug abuse is such an epidemic, there are many professional facilities out there who can help get your child back on track. These programs can be anything from on-site rehab facilities to intensive outpatient programs. In addition, you need to find a program that includes an aftercare program. According to The Recovery Village Ridgefield, “With an effective aftercare program, patients are able to retain a level of commitment to their recovery. This is also the most effective way to transition from a rehabilitation facility to the regular routines of everyday life”. This way, your child is still getting the help he/she needs after they have completed rehab, and this can be just what your child needs to avoid a relapse.
With the right help from you, your child can overcome his/her drug addiction. Be sure to use this information and get your child the necessary professional help needed.