From Heartbreak to Healing: Does Your Teen Need Rehab?

It can be hard to just sit there and watch your child sink into addiction. Drugs and alcohol ravage a body, even a teenager’s body, and the effects can be devastating. Sometimes, damage is permanent. So, before your teen is forever lost, make the decision to intervene. Here’s how to know when things have gotten out of control, and what to do about it.

Radical Changes In Behavior That Are Unexplained

If you notice an unexplained change in your child’s behavior, it may be due to a substance abuse problem. Now, this isn’t the only reason teens go through behavior changes. Many times, honestly, it’s a rebellious attitude. But, there are signs that it’s more than just a rebellious phase. One of those signs is an unusually obnoxious or rebellious attitude when you previously had a good relationship with your child.

Another sign is a complete shift in demeanor. Even rebellious teens often still retain a semblance of their former self. If you hardly recognize your teen, it may be because he or she has starting using drugs or alcohol.

Skipping School

Substance abuse often becomes an all-consuming activity. If you’re getting frequent reports that your child is skipping class, or school altogether, it could be a sign that he or she is using.

Changes In Eating or Sleeping Habits

If your teen won’t eat, this is a huge sign. Most teens are still growing, so it’s typical for them to “eat like a horse.” If yours isn’t, there may be something else going on that you need to know about.

Evidence Of Drug or Alcohol Use

Slurred speech, evidence of drug paraphernalia in his or her room, red, bloodshot eyes, and evidence that your child is high are all evidence of a substance abuse problem. Often, teens will experiment with drugs and alcohol, but it won’t become so bad that he or she is drunk or stoned all of the time. With an abuser, they are drunk or stoned all of the time.

In these cases, your only hope might be biophysical detox, which will help remove the addictive substances from their body, including the metabolites that could trigger cravings.

Deteriorating Friendships

If you notice your teen’s relationships deteriorating - they no longer speak to their best friend, siblings, or you, there could be an underlying drug or alcohol problem that they don’t want others to know about.

How To Help

This is probably the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do. A staged intervention can help you confront your teen and, at the same time, get him or her the help they need. It may be helpful to have the family doctor there with you, but you should strive to at least recruit your teen’s best friend, or former friends if those relationships have deteriorated.

An intervention can also force your teen to confront the reality that there is a problem. And that is the first step in starting the healing process. From there, you have some choices. Do you check your teen into a residential treatment center? An outpatient center? The best option is one that is effective, so it’s probably best to speak with a psychologist or psychotherapist with extensive experience in drug rehabilitation.

Janessa Fellows is a longtime life coach and mom of three. When she has the time, she likes to sit down and share her insights with others. You can find her helpful posts on a number of websites and blog sites.