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The Importance of Medically Supervised Addiction Treatment for Young Adults

The teenage years are really tough enough as it is with raging hormones, so when you add in a substance abuse problem it can become a complicated problem.

Many teens experiment with drugs or alcohol with little or no consequences at all, however there are a lot of teenagers that very quickly get stuck in the cycle of addiction. If you find out your teenager has been using drugs or alcohol you must take steps to find out the depth of the problem.

Because teenagers are not yet fully developed their views can be very limited. Very often teenagers simply cannot fully comprehend the severity of the consequences of their using and of their own behavior due to using.




For this reason if your teenager has a substance abuse problem it really is best to ensure you find an addiction treatment center that offers specialized addiction treatment for young adults.

When choosing a rehab for your teenager it is also important to choose a medically supervised addiction treatment program that will help to ensure the best possible outcome for your child.

Medically Supervised Addiction Treatment for Young Adults

Here are the reasons why a medically supervised addiction treatment program is so important for young adults:

A Medically Supervised Detox

Just to put it simply, withdrawal from certain drugs can be dangerous, even deadly which means a medical detox can mean the difference between life and death for your teenager.

There are many drugs that require detoxification, including alcohol, heroin and opiate related drugs, and certain prescription drugs such as Xanas, Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Hydrocodone. Withdrawal symptoms can have severe side effects which can be fatal if not properly treated.

Detoxing from these drugs may cause vomiting, trembling, nausea, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, seizures, and comas.




Trained medical professionals can help to manage these life threatening symptoms by administering medication to wean the addict off of the drug, decrease physical withdrawal symptoms and prevent seizures.

Medical staff are on hand to check vital signs, evaluate mental and physical progress and provide support to the patient throughout the withdrawal process.

There are also other drugs that do not usually require a medical detox, these include marijuana, cocaine, and crystal methamphetamine. Withdrawal symptoms are not so severe ranging from a feeling of tiredness to extreme irritability and agitation.

Very often medical detox is given for these drugs for other reasons such as the patient feels they cannot stop without medical intervention, they have become psychotic from drug use and need a medical intervention, they feel they are a danger to themselves (suicidal) or perhaps they just don’t have anywhere else to go.

It is much safer for an addict to go through a medical detox than to try and attempt it from home, not just from the viewpoint of the physical and mental dangers associated with detox, but also because relapse is a lot more likely when attempting to detox without medical help.

When a drug addict goes back to using drugs during or just after withdrawal their tolerance is usually much lower making an overdose more likely.

Addiction and Dual Diagnosis

When a patient is diagnosed with a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue it is referred to as a dual diagnosis.

Common mental health disorders that occur in conjunction with addiction and substance abuse problems are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality Disorders
  • Mood Disorders (such as Bipolar Disorder)

It may be that a drug addict starts to develop mental health issues when, after chronic drug use, the brain function alters.

Alternatively someone with mental health issues may attempt to treat the symptoms of their mental disorder by taking drugs. For example someone suffering from anxiety may smoke marijuana in an attempt to calm themselves and through prolonged use becomes addicted.




Regardless of which disorder occurs first it is essential that the addiction and the mental health disorder be treated at the same time. The symptoms and effects of the mental disorder can trigger and drive the addiction and vice versa.

At least 30% of people that are suffering with a substance abuse problem have mental health issues.

For these reasons it really is important for teenagers (and any other addict) to be treated at a medically supervised, dual diagnosis addiction center.

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10 Things to Do If your Teenager is Drinking Alcohol

Knowing that your teenage daughter or son is drinking alcohol can be quite heartbreaking for any parent. When such is the case, the first thing you need to do is allow this reality to sink in before taking any steps.

Once you have accepted this reality, the next thing to focus on is to understand your teen’s drinking problem to identify how you can help him/her out.

It is important that you do not accept a teen’s drinking behavior as normal. This is because the problem can escalate to addiction and make it hard for your teen son/daughter to quit alcohol.

Teenager Drinking Alcohol

Here are some steps to follow if you have found out your teenager is drinking alcohol:

1 Stay Calm and Assess the Situation

Although you may be absolutely livid it won’t be helpful if you come at your hormonal (and possibly hungover) teenager with guns blazing.

Yes your teenager has been drinking alcohol and it could be serious, but the facts are that teenagers are notorious for experimenting and getting into trouble. Its what they do at that age.

Stay calm and try to assess the situation objectively. What exactly happened, how severe was the incident and who was involved?

Talk to your spouse, or the other parent of your teenager if you are separated, about the incident and make sure you stand together. You don’t have to always agree with each other but you must present a united front.

2 Talk To Your Teenager About the Incident

Talking to your child is essential in this situation for a number of reasons.

The number one being that having a healthy, honest and open relationship with your child is your ultimate goal. If your child feels safe to talk to you and tell you exactly what is going on for him or her a lot of future problems can be avoided or dealt with easier.

Tell your child that you would like to know exactly what happened and you will promise not to judge or freak out.

Be prepared that your teenager may well be defensive and upset. So be prepared for it. Remember to come from a place of love, stay calm and be direct.

3 Explain the Dangers of Alcohol and Drugs to Your Teenager

Be ready to explain to your child why minors are not allowed to drink alcohol, point out things like loss of control and humiliation, getting into trouble with the law and the dangers of addiction. Discuss that dangers of peer influence and how that can lead him or her down a dangerous path.

If your family has a history of addiction chances are you child has a much higher chance of becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs than some other children. It is important that your teenager understands this.

4 Study Your Teenager and Trust Your Gut

During these discussions watch your teenagers body language and reactions to the discussion. Do you feel your teenager is being completely open and honest or is he avoiding eye contact?

Trust your gut instinct here to guide you on whether this was a one off experimental episode with alcohol or is there a deeper problem?

5 Hand Out An Appropriate Consequence

It is important to highlight to your teenager that every action has a consequence. You may want to ground your teenager for a period of time or perhaps you will have to curb your teenagers freedom in other ways such as an earlier curfew for a period of time, or even until further notice. You could also limit who your teenager is allowed to spend time with or the places he goes to.

You could also stop pocket money for a period of time. It is up to you to come up with something that you feel is appropriate.

Remember that the goal here is not to punish your teenager, it is to get your teenager to realize the seriousness of his actions so that he hopefully does not repeat them.

6 Set Boundaries for the Future

Let your teenager know that part of the consequences of his actions you need to relook at boundaries with your child and set new rules.

You may want to change the ways you manage your child’s freedom and privacy. You may feel it necessary to check your teenager’s phone, access his room and limit time online.

Let your child know what the new boundaries are and why they are being set.

Decide on what the consequences will be if there is a future incident with alcohol or drugs and let your child know what it is. Be fully prepared to carry it out.

7 Talk to Other Parents

Being friendly with the parents of your teenagers friends will mean that you can talk to them if any of those teenagers were also involved in the incident. Having all the parents on board and taking similar steps might mean all the difference.

8 Stick to the New Boundaries

It is vitally important to stick to the new boundaries that you have set for your teenager, as we all know they just love to push the boundaries. Having firm boundaries sets a safer space for your teenager.

If your teenager crosses a boundary or breaks a rule you must carry out consequences for that so your teenager knows that you mean business.

Hopefully things ends here, where you teenager pushes a bit, finds firm boundaries and decides not to test again.

9 Contact Professionals

If there are repeat episodes of your teenager drinking alcohol, taking drugs or breaking important boundaries that have been set it is a sign that there could be a much deeper problem. Or perhaps your gut instincts just tell you that something is wrong.

Contact a professional in your area (addiction counselor, therapist, family psychologist) to discuss the way forward.

10 Adolescent Treatment Program

A last and final step may be to look at sending your child to an adolescent unit or an addiction treatment facility.

 


 

This guest post is contributed by Danny from MyParentingJournal.com, a blog dedicated to parenting tips, advice, best practices, and resources.

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