When a loved one struggles with drug addiction and recovery, it can be difficult to watch, especially when that loved one is a teenager. Feelings of hopelessness or worry may be overwhelming and parents often feel uncertain in whom to confide or where to turn. For parents supporting a teenager during addiction recovery, the following are suggestions to help advocate for the child’s health and well-being.
Participation in hobbies and extracurricular activities which are enjoyable for the teenager should be encouraged. Sports, theater, music and art are helpful for both parents and the teenager in terms of coping with the challenges of rehabilitation. As a healthy outlet, there is a socialization aspect to going out and meeting other young people in a sober environment which can encourage the idea that fun is not always associated with drugs or alcohol. Programs specifically designed for teenagers in recovery from addiction may also be available.
Monitoring and limiting the use of social media can help mitigate some negative aspects which come along with overuse of social media. One important way to do this is check how much time is being spent online. Ask questions and do not hesitate to push for information about activities. It is for the teenager’s safety and health parents monitor what is happening online as well as knowing how many hours are logged in a day. Isolation can be a relapse trigger so encouraging more ‘in person’ time with friends and outside activities can be a helpful way to support a teenager rather than discourage use of social media.
Exercise is great for both the mind and body, supporting positive brain activity with serotonin and endorphins being produced during intense exercise. This activity can produce a natural high which promotes positive thinking and body image. Setting goals, working in a challenging environment to push boundaries (in a good way), and engaging in group sports activities can promote many positive benefits while giving a teenager a sense of purpose and outlet for frustrations or challenges of daily life and promote long-term health benefits.
Teenagers need approximately 9-12 hours of sleep each night to function optimally, promote muscle repair, memory, and cognitive abilities and ward off depression. Sleep is a critical aspect of recovery that benefits the whole family.
Healthy eating is as important as sleeping well for teenagers. As a parent, healthy food options should be provided which provide essential vitamins and minerals. They have the added benefit of supporting a teenager’s recovery by encouraging clean eating habits and decreasing negative side effects from sugar and bad carbs. Stock the pantry with greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli as well as other various fruits and vegetables while keeping sugary foods and cereals at a minimum.
If your teenager is in recovery from addiction and you need support, contact Hired Power. Trained counselors in Huntington Beach are available to help you. Call us today at 800.910.9299.