Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month: Parents can play a critical role in helping teens recover
September 22, 2017 0 Comments
The process of recovering from addiction is full of hardship and challenges not only for the individual concerned but also for his or her loved ones. Since adolescent years are characterized by rapid changes, especially those related to brain development, youngsters recovering from an addiction face a unique set of challenges. Admitting drug or alcohol-dependent teens into rehab is possibly one of the toughest steps which parents can take. But by providing their support and guidance during recovery, they can significantly increase the chances of long-term success.
The chronic nature of addiction necessitates long-term treatment since chances of relapse are high. Teens may develop an addiction due to several reasons, therefore, every teen’s situation, as well as, recovery process will be different. The approach to recovery will depend on the teen’s family environment, co-occurring disorders and the external influences. Under any circumstance, continuous support is an essential component of the recovery period.
President Donald Trump has declared September as the National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. Through this initiative, the White House has reinforced its commitment to increasing awareness regarding addiction and recovery, and offer support to those who are struggling with addiction and to their families. The declaration states that “During National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, and throughout the year, let us remember those who have bravely conquered their addiction.” Further, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has been observing the month as National Recovery Month for 27 years. The theme for 2017 emphasizes the role of strong families and communities in the recovery process.
Comprehensive support essential for teens as well as family
Parents need to support not just teens in recovery but also themselves. Some of the ways in which they can do this are mentioned below:
Helping teens in recovery: From the very beginning, parents need to be in charge of their child’s recovery, which means not dictating terms. They will need to learn as much as possible about addiction since various substances impact the child’s physical and mental health in different ways. Asking relevant questions throughout the process is another way to remain active. Teen addiction rehab is normally in the form of family therapy sessions – parents need to ensure that they attend all such sessions.
Parents should also work closely with the rehab center to determine a plan for the teen’s discharge. Before the teen returns home, clear expectations need to be set regarding school, social life and future conduct. Parents also need to be aware of signs of addiction to substances other than what the teen is recovering from. This may necessitate adequate safekeeping measures for painkillers and other prescription drugs.
Helping the extended family: Parents may feel responsible for their teen’s condition and be consumed by feelings of guilt, anger or frustration, especially due to the stigma attached to addiction to illicit substances. It is critical for them to look after their own mental health, and this may include seeking the help of a professional therapist. Parents also need to set aside time for their own and family’s emotional well-being, including spending time with spouses and other children in the family.
One of the unfortunate consequences of dealing with substance abuse is withdrawal from all social interactions with others. Although this may seem a safer option, it can be damaging in the long run. All efforts should be made to reconnect with friends and the community through activities such as attending church, volunteering or participating in social events.
Recovery is a long-term process requiring patience
Recovering from addiction is only the beginning of a long-term process during which teens will experience a range of emotions, both positive and negative. They may feel hopeless or pessimistic at times. Parents will have to be patient and continuously support their child to ensure successful recovery. This will also instill a positive attitude in children and improve their overall well-being.
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