Teen Drug Abuse: What to Do If Your Teen Is Abusing Drugs
For any parent, the thought of their child using drugs is horrifying. Unfortunately, teen drug abuse is a harsh reality that can tear families apart. If you have strong suspicions that your teen is using drugs, you can’t just put your blinders on and hope that things will resolve themselves. You need to take parental action immediately while working to understand what is affecting them. This is what to do if your teen is abusing drugs.
1. Get Confirmation
As a parent, worrying about your teen is instinctual. So while your teen acting strangely is definitely a cause for concern, it’s not necessarily evidence that they’re using drugs. It is useful for you to find evidence that your teen is using drugs, so you know for sure. It could be through finding paraphernalia in their bedroom to having them submit to a drug test that verifies usage. While it might be daunting to confront reality like this, it’s absolutely crucial to do so. Trying to deny even the possibility that your teen could be abusing drugs is only going to make you more stressed out. It could also provide lasting damage due to you not intervening when you had the chance to.
2. Talk to Them
You can’t just sit down your teen for one talk about drugs and expect to solve the problem. Parents should discuss drug use with their children regardless of whether or not they’re using, but a case like this requires a much more in-depth approach. Find an opportunity to sit down with them and discuss what’s going on and what your concerns are. Refrain from lashing out or being critical of them, as you won’t be able to understand what they’re going through unless you take the time to listen. You can and should be frustrated, but make sure your frustration is concentrated on their substance abuse and not themselves. You should also be sure to keep these discussions up. Having just one conversation isn’t going to be enough to get to the heart of the matter and help your teen recover.
3. Understand the Origin
Your teen’s substance abuse didn’t come out of nowhere. If they’re shrewd enough, they may have been hiding it for months before you realized something was up. Calmly ask them about what led to them abusing drugs. The factors could vary from peer pressure to stress from academics. They might also have trouble or discomfort with articulating their turning to drugs. If they’re reluctant to share, take the time to look into common causes of teen drug abuse. Teens from all kinds of backgrounds can end up using drugs for all sorts of reasons, so it’s important to let go of any preconceived notions.
4. Make a Plan
Once you have confirmation that your teen is abusing drugs, the two of you need to come up with a plan for recovery. They’ll need to stop using drugs, but getting to that conclusion is easier said than done. Willpower can only go so far. Since substance abuse and addiction can often be physical, you need to make sure your teen has the supervision and advice of a doctor trained in matters of substance abuse. You might have to check them out of school for some time as they work on their recovery.
5. Find Constructive Activities
Getting clean from drugs is about more than just not using them. If your teen doesn’t have anything to do, it’s going to be easier for them to drift back into drug use. They need to replace their drug habits with ones that are healthy and satisfying. Exercise is one of the best treatments, as activities like going for a run or lifting weights can help your teen stave off the temptation to use drugs. They can also find outlets to express their frustration, such as journaling or making art. By bringing positive activities into your teen’s life, they can be much better off and it will be easier for them to avoid drugs.
6. Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on Yourself
As a parent, you want to be a hero to your kids and solve their problems for them. Unfortunately, there are some battles you can’t fight on their behalf. You can show your support and express your desire for them to get clean, but whether or not they do ultimately comes down to them. It’s important that they know this, as it can teach them personal responsibility. When they realize that they need to get themselves out of drug use just like how they got themselves into it, they can see that their actions have long-term consequences that must be addressed. You should continue to take an active interest in their recovery, but you shouldn’t make their substance abuse into your burden, as that will only cause problems for both of you.
7. Take Things Gradually
A common bit of advice for people in recovery is for them to take things one day at a time. This is so that they don’t feel daunted by the pressures of lasting sobriety. This same advice can apply to the parents of those struggling with substance abuse and addiction. When your teen is working on their recovery, you should proceed with hope and caution. Keep your expectations reasonable and celebrate all kinds of victories, big and small. If your teen has been sober for even a day, that’s cause for celebration. If they slip, start the counter back at one and continue to provide support.
8. Find Treatment
Your teen might need special help to combat their substance abuse. A well-regarded treatment facility can provide them with a setting that focuses on wellness and brings them on a path to recovery. The best treatment plan is one that is specifically tailored to a client’s needs and also focuses on the psychological component of addiction. The time away from your teen may be difficult, but it may very well be necessary.
If you have a teen or another loved one who is struggling with substance abuse, you should know that there is help available. At St John’s Recovery Place, we are dedicated to helping our clients recover and come out stronger than before. Get in touch with our admissions office today for more information. We look forward to hearing from you.