Being a parent comes with its challenges. Raising a child in today’s world is a very difficult task because of all the influences around them on television, the Internet and even from their peers. Unfortunately, that influence often leads young people to the temptation to try something they’ve never tried before like drugs or alcohol. What happens when that one time trying something turns into a full-blown addiction? Our team here at Northbound has provided valuable information to know if you ever find yourself with a child who has a substance abuse disorder.

A Guide for Parents of Addicts

When you find out that your child has developed a substance abuse disorder, your first reactions are the key to understanding how and why it happened. You may be experiencing fear, anxiety or even anger towards the situation at hand. But it is important to keep a calm and steady mind in order to help your child and get through to them about the dangers of their current situation.

When talking with your child about their disorder, you should make them aware of the consequences of traveling down the path they’re on. Make sure they know if they continue using the substance, they could lose relationships and opportunities they once had because of their addiction.

Here at Northbound Treatment, we are able to assist you through the process of aiding your child to receive help for their addiction. We will do all that we can to ensure your peace of mind during this difficult time.

What Causes Addiction in Children and Teens?

Addiction, like many other diseases, is a disorder that slowly forms over time within a person. This is caused by the continual use of drugs or alcohol over an extended period of time. Although addiction has negative effects on people of all ages from all walks of life, it is especially dangerous for teen users. No matter how knowledgeable they may seem about the consequences of substance abuse, they can still succumb to the disease without being able to control it. Some teens may become addicted to the alcohol or drugs they are using the very first time they use them. For others, it may take much longer to develop an addiction to a substance. However, regardless of the amount of time it takes for people to develop addictions, the results are always life-altering.

The substances people abuse cause serious damage to the brains of the individuals who are using them. A teen that is addicted to a substance will eventually build up a tolerance to it. This means the effects will lose their strength with continual use. As a result of this, individuals will not only continue to use alcohol or drugs, but they will also increase their dosage as time goes on. 

Teens use drugs and alcohol and become addicted for many reasons. Often times, it’s to relieve the thoughts and stresses of certain circumstances in their life such as their family situations or traumatic events they have gone through. Young individuals may also abuse substances because of influential factors like family members and friends who peer pressure them into using.

Signs of Addiction to Look Out For in Your Teen

There are two main categories for the signs of addiction: behavioral signs and physical signs. Most behavioral signs of addiction revolve around loss of control. Individuals may struggle to control their thoughts and actions because of the obsessive need to use. Or people who are suffering from addiction may use drugs or alcohol with knowledge of the consequences. Addiction can be much more powerful than human reasoning. So, those who struggle with substance use disorders may continue using, despite knowing about the harmful effects. Individuals going through addiction may also deny or hide their substance use in order to avoid the chance of someone noticing they are excessively using.

As far as physical signs go, a teen’s body that is addicted to drugs or alcohol is very noticeably changed with extended use. Their weight will often fluctuate up and down and their face may appear sunken in. They also will usually have slurred speech and dilated pupils on a regular basis. Their appearance will also change as addiction often causes people to have less interest in self-care and hygiene. 

How Mental Illness Impacts Substance Abuse 

Mental illness has a huge effect on whether or not someone can develop a substance abuse disorder. Because anxiety disorders and depression cause such negative thoughts and feelings, they can cause an individual to reach towards anything that may help numb the pain of the condition. 

During their early teens, everyone goes through a period of puberty where their body and mind changes drastically. This portion of time is a large part of why mental disorders develop within teenagers, and this is also why trying substances like alcohol, narcotics, and even prescription pills can be so dangerous. 

When a teen that is suffering from a mental disorder also develops a substance abuse disorder, it’s like a double whammy on the brain. Because their brain is in its prime developmental years, substance abuse can cause serious damage to the neurotransmitters that allow brain waves to travel freely between them. 

Getting Them the Help They Need

Your child’s health is the most important thing during their early adult life. The things they put in their bodies during these years can substantially affect them in their later life and even take years off of it. Whether it’s drugs or alcohol they are consuming, it is important to understand that any harmful substance can dramatically change their brain and body function.

You probably feel like you will try everything in your power to help your child overcome their addiction disorder. Our team at Northbound Treatment has the knowledge to help you in getting your child to agree to treatment, and we have specialists who can provide you with informational tools to show your child the effects of substance abuse over an extended period of time.

Why Inpatient Treatment is Better for Your Child

Residential inpatient treatment is an intensive care program for substance abuse. This type of care is better for anyone who is going through addiction treatment for the first time, which is normally what happens with teen addiction. Medical professionals monitor them around the clock to ensure they are following their regiment. So you will not have to worry about their security either.

There are a lot of instances when residential rehab is the best fit. Treatment in inpatient facilities is at an adequate level for teen individuals because they require constant supervision in order to not fall back into old patterns. Because they are so young, the substance has most likely altered their brains because they are still growing. This makes it even harder to break a habit, so they will need more intensive treatment to achieve recovery. 

Inpatient treatment is also a great option for people who face constant temptation in their everyday lives. This is most likely the case for teens that become addicted due to the peer pressure they face in their homes, schools and even friend groups. By living within the facility during treatment, they will be more likely to continue the new patterns they’ve learned once they complete rehab.

Available Treatments at Northbound Treatment

Our team at Northbound Treatment believes that in order for your child to recover completely from their addiction disorder, they must receive intensive therapy. We pride ourselves on offering an array of addiction therapies, and some of those included are: 

Family Counseling Programs: In these programs, you will be able to go through therapy with your teen addict in order for you both to cope with their recovery. Both parties are able to express concerns about the addiction, and the program helps to bond one another closer together. This shows your teen that they will able to lean on you throughout therapy and after their recovery has been completed. 

Individual Therapy: This therapy allows the patient to talk solely with their therapist about things they may not feel comfortable sharing among others. This often helps patients to process the emotional side of past situations that ultimately may have helped lead them to their addiction. 

Dual-Diagnosis Therapy: In many cases, teens who have a substance addiction are also diagnosed with having an anxiety disorder at the same time. This therapy treats both disorders at once and allows the patient to decrease the time spent in our rehab facility.

Group Therapy: This is another term for a group meeting setting. Primarily verbal to allow patients to interact with one another and share stories of their recoveries and experiences while using. This gives the patient support from people going through similar situations.

Why Helping Your Child is Important

When your child’s developmental stage is in danger of being compromised by a substance disorder, it is important to understand everything you can do to help them overcome it.

The quality of treatment we provide here at Northbound Treatment can help your child beat their addiction permanently. We hope you will consider our center for your child’s treatment needs, and watch how the doors to their future open back up like they once were. Contact us today to learn more about this opportunity to help your child with their disorder.

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.

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