Going through rehab is difficult for anyone at any age. It can feel particularly embarrassing for teens who may not know anyone who has encountered similar addiction issues. They might be worried about falling behind in school or losing contact with friends. At a time in their life when they are learning a lot about themselves and making significant changes, it’s very important that your teen is supported by family. Here are several ways this can support your teen on the route to recovery.
1. Foster Understanding Within the Family
First of all, it’s important that family members take the time to learn about your teen’s condition or addiction. This will help everyone understand the recovery process and the reasons your teen does the things they do, as well as help them recognize warning signs of crisis. In addition, involving your family may help you and your teen understanding of any underlying causes of their diagnosis. Without this involvement, your family members may not fully understand what your teen is going through, which can lead to stigma and further isolation from all parties.
2. Avoid Enabling
Even well-meaning families can unintentionally enable or encourage an addicted teen’s behavior. This often happens because parents want to give their teens space or freedom. Perhaps they are trying to be delicate or gentle about a teen’s struggle, but end up avoiding the issue as a result. Participating in the rehab process helps families recognize these patterns and avoid them while a teen is in recovery.
Image: Alan Sheffield
3. Consider Ripple Effects
Many people don’t realize that addiction or mental health conditions don’t just affect the person with an official diagnosis; the stress, anxiety, sadness and even frustration that comes with living with a teen in rehab can affect the whole family’s mental health. By being involved in the rehab process, family members have the opportunity to understand what support options are available to them. One example is family therapy, which gives all family members a chance to speak their mind and voice their concerns.
Put simply, your teen is not and should not be alone in their recovery process. Support is crucial and your own self-care is important too.
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