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How parents can help a teen in drug rehab.

Updated on August 17, 2008
http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun01/images/teendrink.jpg
http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun01/images/teendrink.jpg

Parents can help a teen in drug rehab

There are few things harder in life than watching a teenage son or daughter struggle with abuse and dependency issues.

Parents need to take strong and decisive action and they need to act quickly to get appropriate treatment help for children that are dealing with addiction issues; but once they have gotten treatment, their role in the recovery process remains important and they need to stay very active throughout the process.

Clinical studies have shown that the single greatest factor influencing the success rate of teens undergoing drug rehab therapy is active and loving parental participation in the process. This does not mean an occasional phone call and a visit on visitor's Sunday…but active participation in therapies, in family support meetings, and through a continual presence and support while your son or daughter is away getting help.

The benefits of participating in the process

Family participation in drug rehab is beneficial for addicts at any age, but never more so than when addicts are still in adolescence, and at this stage family participation and interaction is vital to the effectiveness of treatment.

There are three key areas where family and parents can assist in the long term recovery of a teen addict.

Get educated and get support

Firstly, families need to get educated about the disease of addiction, the particular drug of abuse, and the characteristic behaviors and manipulations of an addict. A great place to get educated is through participation in local family support organizations such as al-anon, or other group meetings. These can be enormously beneficial to families struggling through the pain of a loved one's addiction, and can teach what can and cannot be done by the family. Participation in meetings of family support have been clinically proven beneficial to the recovering addict, and are enormously appreciated by families undergoing a very tough, saddening and stressful period.

Participate actively in the therapies of rehab

Secondly, family members need to maintain active participation in the therapies of rehab, and one major factor in the selection process of a rehab facility should be the level of familial support and involvement encouraged.

Family should participate in individual sessions with a psychologist and the recovering teen addict, where as a group all members learn how to help each other overcome addiction, learn how to support the addict through recovery, begin to heal some of the pains created through the behaviors of abuse, and hopefully better some familial issues that may be creating the need for drug or alcohol use.

Rehabs will also often encourage family group support meetings, where families of recovering addicts meet together, and learn how their painful experiences are in fact shared by many, learn what can be done, and learn what was never their responsibility in the first place.

Call everyday

Lastly, families need to stay involved and supportive of the addict in recovery. Drug rehab is a very tough period, and especially so for someone barely out of childhood.

It can be painful, there may be anger and resentful words spoken; but families need to persevere, always be there, always initiate contact and continue showing the love and concern that ever teen needs and craves.

There's always hope!

Addiction and heartbreak so often coexist, and the pain of a teen addiction is particularly tragic. There is always hope though, and teens are incredibly resilient and capable of substantial change. Parents can do a lot to help the ultimate prognosis through their continuing love and support.

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