Dealing with people living in active addiction requires a lot of skills, some of which are contradictory. You have to be compassionate but firm. You have to be clear, assertive, and calm when it is so easy to get emotional. You have to be gentle and strong. It is easy to want to “fix” the people you love when you see them making poor choices, especially when they are your kids. As parents, you do everything you can to protect your children, to teach them to make smart and healthy choices. When they are doing dangerous things, you want to step in and take control, but you can’t.
People living with addiction can’t be forced into recovery. You have to find a way to get them to choose recovery. Reach out to Fort Behavioral Health today at 844.332.1807 for information about our substance abuse treatment programs in Fort Worth and how we can help.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
Drug addiction or substance use disorder is an illness that affects the chemistry of the brain and a person’s behavior, leading to an inability to control their intense cravings for the substance and urges to use or drink. It is especially dangerous in a teen’s earlier developmental years and can have a serious impact on their future. It is important to be able to recognize a problem and when it is time to intervene.
Early warning signs of addiction include:
- Problems at home, work, or school
- Neglected, disheveled appearance
- Behavioral changes
- Issues with money
- Physical health issues or lack of energy
Physical, mental, and emotional symptoms of addiction include:
- Obvious use of a substance daily or multiple times a day
- New or worsening anxiety or depression
- Taking larger medication doses than prescribed if they are on medication
- Obsession with having money to pay for the habit
- Abandoning obligations or responsibilities, social isolation or withdrawal
- Risky behavior
- Withdrawal symptoms when the substance can’t be obtained
It is vital to pay attention to your teen and notice the signs of addiction if you are going to be able to help them and get them into treatment. Talking with your teen regularly about what’s going on in their life, their friends, and how they’re doing in school or at work is a great way to keep an eye on them and keep that communication open and honest.
How to Talk with an Addicted Teen
Because addiction is so hard to understand under the best of circumstances, people often don’t know what to say, and this can be frightening as well as frustrating. It is important to remember to approach the problem compassionately but clearly. If you blame or demand or try to control, it is more likely to drive the teen further into their addictions. It sets up a cycle of shame and avoidance that lowers the chance of someone reaching out for help.
First, you need to educate your children. They need to know what drugs are out there and the dangers of using them. Because of brain development, they might not see a risky situation. To do this effectively, ensure you know what you are talking about. Do some research. Maybe you can talk to your doctor or a counselor who might be able to refer you to a specialist.
Many adolescents misunderstand subtleties, so you need to be calm and straightforward. Please do not assume that they don’t know things. Allow them to share with you the knowledge they do have. Then fill in any blanks. When you acknowledge your kid’s intelligence, it builds trust with them, so listen very carefully to what they say. Keeping the lines of communication open is more important than “teaching them a lesson.” If they are using, then you need to offer your support and love. Ask them what you can do to help. Maybe have some treatment options to discuss. When your teen feels safe and supported, they are much more likely to hear what you say and look more honestly at their use.
Get Help at Fort Behavioral Health
Because drug use and addiction are so dangerous, especially among teens, it is vital that you address it immediately and effectively. At Fort Worth Recovery, we have programs designed for adolescent women where everyone can feel valued and be heard. Call us today at 844.332.1807 or visit us online.