Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

4 Steps to Take When You Discover Your Teen Has an Addiction

Addictions aren’t easy to deal with at any age, but these diseases can be especially devastating for younger individuals. If you have recently discovered that your teen is struggling with an addiction, then you need to come up with a long-term plan that is going to address the root causes of their disease. 

Start with an Open and Honest Conversation

Even though an intervention can be effective in some situations, it isn’t always the best option for teenagers. Instead of an intervention, you should sit down with your child and have an open conversation. During that conversation, it is absolutely vital that you remain empathetic and supportive. Berating your child might be tempting, but that will most likely drive them away.

Explore Your Treatment Options

Your teen will probably need to go through some type of treatment program in order to overcome their addiction. Organizations like Lifeline have created addiction treatment programs specifically for younger individuals who are dealing with substance abuse issues, and one of those programs could help your child uncover the root causes of their disease. Many treatment plans begin with inpatient services, but your child will eventually transition to an intensive outpatient program.

Minimize Their Risk of Relapsing

You will never be able to shield your child from every temptation, but you should do everything in your power to keep drugs and alcohol out of their hands. At the very least, you need to remove all alcohol from your home and lock up any medications that anyone else in your family has been prescribed. You must also be very present in your child’s life so that they can never sneak off and get illicit drugs or alcohol on their own.

Work Alongside Their School’s Administration

Contacting your child’s school might be a necessary step in this process, and many schools have excellent resources for students who are going through these types of situations. Their school might even have a dedicated counselor or therapist who specializes in drug and alcohol abuse. Those individuals will be able to keep an eye on your teen while they are at school and contact you if any problems occur.

Even with a comprehensive treatment plan, it is important to remember that this process is going to take quite some time. Throughout your child’s journey to sobriety, you must remain as supportive as possible and help them through their relapses.

Tim Esterdahl

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