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Teenage Early Intervention

Staging an intervention is the first step to recovery. But did you know it’s more important if you have a teenager addicted to drugs?

Because teenagers’ brains are still developing, they’re more at risk of permanent brain damage than adults. This makes it all the more vital to catch drug dependencies and addictions early on to nip it in the bud. But first, let’s look into how teen drug addictions even happen in the first place.

When it comes to rehabilitation, there is no such thing as ‘too late’ for an individual because anyone of any age can be helped out of addiction. However, if substance abuse or behavioural issues begin early on in life, they can become far more difficult to treat the longer they go on.

Finding a way out of addiction before it starts to seriously affect your child’s and your family’s life is important and should be as stress-free as possible to ensure that addiction does not resurface.

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early intervention causes

Causes of Teenage Addiction

There is a myriad of causes for teenage addiction from abuse at home to a child struggling in school. It is becoming more common to see teens and young adults become addicted to substances because they saw their parents abuse them in the past. Children are prone to mimic the behaviours of their parents, so it’s important for a parent to be a good role model for their child.

Teens are also prone to peer pressure from friends. Due to a combination of teens often being unable to predict the damaging consequences of taking illicit substances, and an unwillingness to say no, many teens begin using because they want to fit in with friends or other cliques. To prevent this road to addiction, encourage open communication between you and your child and teach them the importance of saying no.

But aside from pressure from friends, academic stress can cause a teen to turn to drugs. With all of the pressure for a teen to do well in school and get into a good college, they can begin to doubt themselves and use drugs to calm down.

How Families Impact Teen Addiction

Many of the attitude’s teens form about drugs and alcohol are due to their home life. If parents frequently abuse illicit substances, teens are more likely to use themselves. Because teenage drug abuse and addiction can severely impact the child’s brain, parents should encourage open conversations with their children about drug and alcohol abuse. When a teen feels like they can be honest with their family, they’re more likely to open up about what going on in their life.

It’s common for teenagers to experiment with drugs, but don’t think commonality makes something okay. Some teenagers will try an illicit substance a handful of times and still lead a healthy, addiction-free life, but others may find that they spiral into an uncontrollable cycle. Never assume that your child is the former. Have a conversation with them and let them know that drug use will not be tolerated.

early intervention action

Taking Action Sooner Rather Than Later

Teenage early intervention is crucial to guarantee the best recovery possible, so it is reassuring to know that the addictions of young people are taken seriously and handled with great care.

An early intervention programme is a gentle way of rehabilitating a teen and can help them to break free from substance and behavioural abuse, without uprooting and drastically changing their everyday lives.

When most people think of rehabilitation, they imagine someone being carried away to the middle of nowhere, where they have no contacts other than that of specialists and those who are also seeking help for addiction.

This is certainly not the case when it comes to teenage early intervention programmes. Teenagers can be fragile and are often at a turning point in their lives, where they stop being a child and start becoming their own person. Too much isolation or chaos can be counterproductive for rehabilitation and that’s why teenage programmes are specially designed to combine a regular teen life with professional rehabilitation.

What To Do If You Think Your Teen Is Experimenting With Drugs

Believe it or not, it is incredibly common for a teen to have been abusing drugs for several years before their parents ever find out. To prevent this, here’s what you should do:

In most cases, you can give your teen a certain degree of privacy. You don't search their room frequently, you let them close their door, etc.

But when you think your child is using, you might have to break those boundaries. Your child will probably become angry at you, but a little anger now is better than a drug abuse problem later.

If you have a nagging suspicion that your child is using, don't try to ignore it! Have an open conversation with your child. If they open up, try not to get angry at them. You'll likely be shock and upset, but yelling and getting mad won't fix anything.

If your child doesn't admit to using, don't just take them at their word. Watch for any odd behaviour. You may find concrete evidence like substances in your child's room, but you may also have to monitor their social media to see if they're posting any images there.

Your child may be acting odd for reasons other than substance abuse. Talk your suspicions over with your doctor and be specific. They can help you figure everything out and come up with a plan.

Holding An Intervention For Your Teen

The first step to sobriety is holding an intervention for your teen. This can take many forms including a letter or even a group of loved ones. The most important thing to remember is that an intervention is done out of love, not anger or judgement. Be honest with your teen about your concerns, but let them know you want to help, not get angry with them.

Turn the intervention into a conversation. Allow your teen to speak about their feelings and what’s going on so they don’t feel like they’re being lectured at. Before you speak to your teen, make sure you make arrangements with a rehab facility so they can prepare to take your teen in and maybe even give you intervention tips.

early intervention works

How Does An Intervention Work?

When holding an intervention, you should invite the teen to a family meeting and encourage them to get help. You may choose to write a letter to detail your concerns and why you want your child to get help.

At this point, after you’ve spoken to your child, they will either agree or refuse to go to rehab. You should have some idea of the consequences of your child refuses to attend rehab. You may wish to work with an interventionalist to come up with consequences for not attending rehab.

If your child agrees, great. Help them prepare to go to the facility. It is always advised to have a rehab facility arranged before holding the intervention, to demonstrate that you are serious about them getting help and to stop any idling about once they have agreed.

If your teen refuses treatment, there are other methods. You can hire an interventionist to take over the case, or you could look at sober-living homes if your child is old enough. Sometimes setting boundaries is important in order for your teen to realise the severity of the situation and that you will tolerate it no longer under your roof.

Why Interventions Are Important

If you can catch your teens addiction before it spirals out of control, you can potentially save them from a lifetime of pain. Because teen’s brains aren’t fully developed, certain addictions can progress rapidly and spiral out of control before you know it.

More importantly, a teen may not even realize they have an addiction. If they’ve gotten injured and take painkillers, they may develop dependency without even knowing it. At that point, you should seek help for your teen immediately.

Why A Professional Interventionalist Could Be Helpful

An intervention isn’t going to be easy. You should be prepared to have an open and honest conversation with your teen. You should also plan to hold the intervention when your child isn’t high or under the influence of any drugs.

An interventionalist is trained to convince people to seek rehab. They’re also adept at noticing warning signs that a teen needs immediate help. When planning the intervention, they’ll give you tips to create a loving, judgment-free intervention and can help control the situation when things get emotional.

early intervention steps

Steps for Parents During an Intervention

Before you choose to stage an intervention, take these steps to prepare:

  • Tell your spouse or partner: Let them know that neither of you will be blamed for your child’s addiction. This is about getting them help, not pointing the finger
  • Recognize that there might be familial addiction: It’s common for addiction to span across a family. Don’t deny an addiction in the family, use it as an example of why it’s important for your child to seek help.
  • Set small, realistic goals: To make the road to sobriety a bit easier to traverse, come up with a plan with frequent, small goals. Whenever one of them is achieved, make it a cause for celebration.
  • Gather evidence: Invading your child’s privacy may seem difficult, but it’s necessary to make sure they’re staying safe and healthy.
  • Prepare for your teen to be angry: Your child will most likely call you a hypocrite. Especially if you drank or did drugs while you were underage. Don’t let this shake you up. Explain that the past is the past and focus on how you’re holding this intervention to help them.

How Are Teenage Addiction Programmes Created?

Intervention programmes include carefully thought out, in-depth advice on how to make healthier and ultimately more rational lifestyle choices. This advice is given so that they can begin to understand why their current lifestyle choices will be so detrimental to their health in the future. The advice is tailored to teens and gives them guidance on how to change their behaviour without belittling or patronising their intelligence.

It’s also reassuring to know that teenage early intervention will not stop your child from getting an education, as there are specialised programmes that allow your child to complete their learning in an environment better suited to them. Most importantly of all, an early intervention program will ensure that as family, you are given peace of mind about your child’s condition by expert addiction and rehabilitation specialists.

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How Does Rehab For Teens Work?

One of the worst parts of a teen’s drug detox is how much pressure they’re under. They’re about to go to college and attempting to become sober is just another added pressure. Many rehab centres only help teens so they can provide an environment tailored to help them succeed.

There are several treatment options you can choose such as having your child live in the treatment centre, having them live at home, but receive frequent treatment at the clinic, or going through a detox treatment

When a teen is admitted to rehab, regardless of whether they’re inpatient or outpatient, they’ll undergo several different treatments. Namely:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • The 12 Step Program
  • Teaching techniques to stay motivated

early intervention talking

How To Prevent Your Teen From Abusing Substances

As discussed, prevention is better than cure for teenage addiction. Being open to the discussion around alcohol and drugs is the first step, in order to demonstrate to your teen that you understand and you are aware of issues in the everyday world. Below we have listed some key guidelines in preventing teen substance abuse:

1. Family influence

One of the best ways to make sure your child doesn’t abuse drugs is to set an example about the dangers of drug abuse when they are young. Teaching them how to set boundaries and not cave to peer pressure can also be a powerful tool.

2. Education

In schools primarily, there are several anti-drug programs to teach children and young adults about the dangers of drug abuse. Furthering this teaching at home is also recommended. This can include educating your children or teens about the effects and consequences of drug abuse, or how to say no to peer pressure.

3. Have open conversations

Opening up the discussion about drugs and substance abuse promotes a healthy relationship with you and your teen, as well as letting them know you are approachable about such topics. Letting them know that they won’t get in trouble if they do have a problem, but that it is important to ask for help, is a key move.

Teenage Early Intervention Reading Materials For Parents 

At ADT Healthcare, we know it can be an overwhelming time when you’re dealing with addiction in the family – especially if it’s your teen. Below we have listed some further resources that can help you overcome this as a family:

1. What is Substance Abuse Treatment? A Booklet for Families

This booklet goes over the basics of substance abuse: it’s symptoms, methods of recovery, and life after rehab.

2. Alcohol and Drug Addiction Happens in the Best of Families

If you have a teen in your family addicted to drugs, this will go over how addiction can affect people other than the teen. It covers an intervention and how to help your child recover.

3. It’s Not Your Fault!

It’s Not Your Fault! aims to help teens whose parents are addicted to drugs or alcohol. It encourages them to seek help from counsellors or other adults.

4. It Feels So Bad: It Doesn’t Have To

This is another resource encouraging teens and younger children to communicate and seek help if their parents or other adults close to them are abusing drugs.

5. After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department

This source provides help and support for people whose family member has attempted suicide. It covers how to prevent a second suicide and the procedure while your family member is in the hospital or emergency room.

6. Family Therapy Can Help: For People in Recovery from Mental Illness or Addiction

In Family Therapy Can Help, families learn how family therapy sessions are conducted and how it can help with the recovery process.

Take The First Step & Contact Us Today

If you suspect your child is abusing drugs, don’t wait. Have a talk with them. Don’t act confrontational and make sure they know that you’re just worried about them. Drug addiction can be spotted and treated if it is addressed early enough. It may not be easy, but it could potentially save your child’s life.

Taking those first steps can be hard but it is imperative not to let your child’s substance or behavioural addiction get out of control. Teenage early intervention programmes are the best option to give you, your family and your child their life back for good.

If you are concerned that you or someone you care about is suffering from an addiction, help is at hand. ADT Healthcare can give you help and advice about any and all addictions including alcohol addictiondrugs addiction, gambling, sex, shopping, eating disorders, video games and many more addictions.

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