Deciding to seek out rehab for your adolescent who is using drugs or alcohol can be one of the most challenging decisions of your life. You may feel numerous emotions, ranging from guilt to hopelessness. You may even ask yourself, “Did I cause this?” Your child may even refuse treatment and lash out at you in anger. At this point, you may stop and ask yourself, “Is this worth it?” However, when a child’s life is at risk due to drug and alcohol use, the resentment and anger are usually worth it.
How to Know if Your Child Is Struggling
Parents who suspect drug or alcohol use should look out for the following signs:
- Staying out late
- Change in social circles
- Changes in sleep schedule
- Secretive or withdrawn behavior
- Unexplained weight change
- Unusually large or small pupils
- Sudden reduction in the ability to meet school responsibilities
- Bloodshot eyes
- Drug paraphernalia
- Severe mood swings
- Increased aggression
Some of these signs may also indicate a mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. However, several of these signs together can point to a drug or alcohol problem. It can also help to educate yourself on the symptoms of specific drugs to better know what to look out for.
When Is It Time to Send Them to Rehab?
Rehab is just one option for treating drug and alcohol problems in adolescents. Some children thrive in 12-Step programs or with a therapist’s assistance. Others need comprehensive inpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment removes your child from the environment in which their substance use began, helping them get sober without temptation. The thorough approach of rehab allows adolescents to test out new skills in a safe environment before returning home.
Inpatient rehab may be the best option if:
- You’ve already tried other options, such as 12-Step programs, and they have not worked.
- Your child has a history of running away or refusing treatment.
- You feel that you cannot keep your child safe in your home.
- Your child has a co-occurring mental health disorder that also needs treatment.
- Your child wants to get sober but has many friends who use drugs and alcohol.
- Your child’s addiction is severe enough to endanger their life.
How Rehab Can Help
Rehab offers a fresh start by putting your child in a new environment. Within this supportive space, children don’t have to worry about peer pressure to use drugs. They may also find relief from the stress of family life, bullying at school, and other challenges of adolescence.
Rehab success rates vary from facility to facility and individual factors also matter. Adolescents who leave treatment early or refuse to participate may be less likely to succeed. You can help your child succeed by learning about the program, encouraging your teen to participate actively, and creating a supportive environment when your child returns home.
Do’s and Don’ts
Do set a positive example. Children are much more likely to copy the behavior they see in their parents than listen to the words their parents tell them. Examine how much you’re drinking, what kind of drugs you’re taking, and whether or not you use prescription drugs properly.
Do research treatment options. Recovery from addiction is not a one-size-fits-all solution for your child’s drug problem. Each drug problem is different and each person requires a different approach to work through that addiction. It is essential to take your time and select a program that offers some degree of flexibility and customization to meet your child’s unique treatment and recovery needs.
Do research rehab facilities. Don’t blindly accept one treatment or rehab program over another. Ask questions such as:
- What is the treatment program based on?
- Is treatment tailored to each individual?
- How long does the program last?
- How does the program adapt to meet the changing needs of its patients?
Don’t just hope it will go away. Your child isn’t going outgrow drug addiction; it’s not a “phase” they are going through. It isn’t something that’s going to end on its own. It’s a cry for help. You need to answer that cry–whether your child wants you to or not–and get your child the support they need to recover from addiction.
Don’t assign blame. Now isn’t the time to point fingers or place blame. Nor should sending your child to rehab be seen as a method of punishment. Your child needs help–help that you can’t provide. Now is the time to seek treatment from those qualified to offer it above all else. Don’t waste your energy on anything other than your child’s recovery.
Take Care of Yourself
Deciding to send your adolescent to rehab can take a toll on you mentally and physically. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself during this process because you cannot pour from an empty cup. Engage in activities that bring you joy, such as journaling, reading, gardening, and more. You can even find support groups to connect you with other people whose loved ones struggle with addiction. These may include Al-Anon or CoDependents Anonymous (CoDA). The best way to help your child is to help yourself.
Deciding to send your adolescent to rehab can be one of the most challenging decisions you make in your lifetime. Know the signs of addiction and do your research to ensure that you are getting them the best help possible. Above all else, make sure you take care of yourself. The best way to help your child is to help yourself. At Hired Power, we provide adolescent transports to ensure safe travel from the home to a rehab facility for your child. We offer services to those going to a wilderness program or ranch and have gender-specific staff members. We work very closely with the family and professionals involved to create the safest possible arrangements and experience. Hired Power will also communicate vital information with family and professionals, notifying everyone when the client is safely transitioned. For more information on the services we provide, contact Hired Power today at (800) 910-9299.