7 Signs Your Child Need Teen Drug Rehab (And How to Handle It)


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You can still remember the day your child was born. You looked into those tiny, innocent eyes and swore to protect and love them through thick and thin. And now, here you are, wondering if your child needs teen drug rehab.

Most parents never suspect that addiction will hit their household, yet plenty of teens use and abuse substances every day.

Statistics show that 30.2% of 12th graders have used alcohol in the past month, while the same data shows that one out of three 12th graders had easy access to prescription opioids.

Is rehab the right option for your child? To find out, you’ll want to check these seven signs. We’ll also provide some helpful tips so you can find the best rehab facility for your child.

1. Sudden Changes in Behavior

Teen behavior can be a bit of a gamble, to begin with. For the most part, you can explain these away with basic biology, since they’re experiencing massive influxes of hormones.

However, if your teen seems to be doing a 180°, it’s okay to have second thoughts about what’s going on.

A teen using opioids, for example, is prone to swings between extreme anger and happiness. Meanwhile, a teen abusing alcohol may stumble over their words or stop going out as much, instead, sleeping all the time.

2. They’re More Secretive Than Ever

The hardest part of raising teens is watching them pull away. You know they love you, but it’s still so tough when they won’t tell you what’s going on in their lives.

To some degree, this is normal, much like mood swings. Teens need privacy to develop their sense of self.

With that said, pay attention to what they’re being secretive about.

They may not give as many details about events they’re attending or who they’re spending time with. Or a question as seemingly innocent as, “What soda is that?” may seem accusatory to them.

3. A Rapid Dip in Their Grades

Substance abuse takes over a person’s life. Even the brightest of teens can succumb to addiction and it can cause irreparable academic damage that may result in lost opportunities or scholarships.

It’s up to you as their parent to keep an eye on their grades. If you notice that your A+ student is suddenly getting all Cs, it’s time to question whether something is going on.

4. They Reek of Perfume or Cologne

Some of the behaviors teens use to mask their substance use is about as subtle as a blaring car alarm, and you can follow your nose to get a good indication of your teen’s behavior.

To mask the scent of alcohol, weed, or even just nicotine, your child may start putting on more perfume or cologne than normal. In most instances, they aren’t doing so to supplement good hygiene.

5. They’re Bringing Around Strange New Friends

It’s always great to see your child make new friends. But a few rotten apples can ruin the whole bunch.

Your kids’ friends have a profound impact on their thoughts and actions. 90% of kids reported feeling pressured by their peers!

The changes mentioned above may be accompanied by a brand new group of friends, whose attitudes and behaviors have a sharp contrast to your child’s previous friend groups.

6. They’re Stealing or Over Spending

Though friends may supply alcohol or drugs, an addicted teen will have to find a way to support their newfound addiction financially.

In some cases, that may mean stealing directly from you, their parent.

Not all stealing is for financial gain, however. If they’re using, your child may steal prescription drugs from your medicine cabinet.

7. You’ve Caught Them Red-Handed

Of course, the easiest way to tell if your child is in the midst of a substance crisis is to find direct evidence like drug paraphernalia or empty bottles or cans. Take photos and document any evidence you come across.

In some ways, finding that evidence can be a relief, even if your teen attempts to explain away what you’re seeing.

Now that you know what you’re up against, you can finally come together to find a solution.

How to Handle Your Child’s Addiction

If the above signs seem familiar, it’s time to consider finding help for your child.

The first thing you’ll want to do is research rehab facilities. There are Addiction Treatment centers that specifically cater to younger people and many accept insurance.

Reach out to these facilities and seek their advice. Your teen may be able to continue their studies while attending rehab, or they could be better off in a more structured inpatient program.

Once you’ve conducted your research, it’s time to talk with your teen. In many respects, this is the toughest part of the process.

The most important thing to remember is that your tone matters. You’re likely feeling a mixture of disappointment, anger, and guilt, but taking your frustrating out on your teen will only further isolate them.

Instead, take a slow, matter-of-fact and judgment-free approach. Confront them with any evidence you have and let them know that you want what’s best for them.

If they’re 17 or younger, you can choose to check them into rehab — even against their will. However, this should be a last-ditch effort and you should instead decide on treatment together.

Throughout this tough conversation, reiterate that you love them and only want what’s best for them. Understand that they’ll probably have a strong reaction, but even through their anger, your child loves you.

Is Teen Drug Rehab Right for Your Child?

Deciding to send your child to teen drug rehab may be the hardest decision you have to make as a father. However, by doing so, you may save their life.

Rehab is a great option for teens whose behavior has spiraled out of control to the point that they’re a risk to themselves or others.

As you continue mulling over your options, keep this information in mind. And if you’re interested in finding more helpful parenting info, be sure to check back with our blog.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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