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When you have a teen struggling with substance abuse, it can feel like you’re running out of options. You understand the importance of loving your child unconditionally; otherwise, you wouldn’t be researching the best treatments available.

However, understanding his/her behavior becomes more challenging. You might find that it’s more difficult to keep calm and take care of yourself and the rest of your family when your life revolves around helping your teen.

This is a trying time that involves everything from denial to grieving to finally moving towards treatment. Knowing your options is one of the most important steps. Here are four options that every mother of a teenager with a substance-abuse problem should explore.

  1. Holistic Rehab Treatment

Substance rehabilitation treatment centers are typically considered the most effective form of treatment if your teen struggles with addition. These centers specialize in a combination of detox, therapies, and even medications that can help your child become well again.

When researching rehab centers in your center, look for one that offers holistic treatment programs. Essentially, these programs focus on treating the person and not an addiction. They’ll look at the mind, body, and soul of the individual, examining motivations and behaviors that cause them to self-medicate with substances.

This is by far the most effective method of treating addiction because it doesn’t get rid of the problem for the time being—it attempts to cure a person forever. As Thomas Edison once said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

This is the perfect way to describe holistic treatment.

  1. Varying Therapies

A teen experiencing a substance abuse problem should engage in various therapies, before, during, and after rehab treatments. Consult with a specialist on the best therapies to try. Some of your options might include:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Also called psychotherapy, this treatment options attempts to change behaviors to prevent future relapses. A cognitive-behavioral therapist will help your teen develop healthy coping skills, adopt strategies to avoid high-risk situations, and encourage greater communication and problem-solving.
  • Contingency Management Therapy: This particular therapy attempts to rewire the rewards center of your brain so that it looks for better incentives than drugs. In a structured, professional environment, rewards like cash, treats, electronics privileges, and other prizes can help a teen stay sober.
  • Recreational Therapy: Here, drug treatment therapies are administered in combination with healthy leisure activities like hiking, horseback riding, or trade schools. Not only does this teach your child new skills, but it keeps them occupied, boosts their self-esteem, and effectively changes behaviors.
  • Family Therapy: You know better than anyone how much of a burden substance abuse places on the entire family. Family therapy examines the role of the family in substance abuse while trying to strengthen familial ties. It also increases communication between all parties and provides support for family members who don’t understand the situation or can’t forgive and move on. Often, a stronger home life is the key to a teen’s ability to overcome addiction.

You may seek one or more of these therapies to help your teen. It will take time but talking it out in the right environment is often the best tool for recovery.

  1. Medications

Although medications aren’t a cure-all solution to substance abuse problems, they can take the edge off while working through therapies and treatment centers. Typically, these medications are used in the detox process. They are nonaddictive drugs that can ease withdrawal symptoms. After this stage, the medication is usually not necessary; therapies and support are best to help your teen thrive.

Some parents and treatment providers do not feel comfortable using medications to treat substance abuse, particularly if the teen struggles with prescription medication. They can be helpful, but you don’t have to use them if it makes you uneasy.

  1. Providing Support, but Not Enabling

Above all, parents must understand the fine line between supporting their child, but not enabling their behavior. Bear in mind that allowing any behavior that supports the use of an objectionable substance is enabling. For example, giving your teen money when you know they’ve used your cash to buy drugs in the past could be considering enablement.

Additionally, let your child go through some hard things in order to learn valuable life lessons. Your natural instinct when your child is hurting is to make life easier, but if you fight all their battles and don’t help them seek the treatment they need, you could hinder rather than help their recovery in the long run.


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