How to Get Your Child into Rehab
As the parent, where do I start?
Asking for help from professionals is the first important step, advises the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Also, educate yourself on today’s drug scene. The NIDA web site has info on specific drugs, including their effects on the body, brain and behavior. In addition, you can suggest your teen review the NIDA for Teens site, with age appropriate info on a variety of drugs and drug abuse issues. It might be useful for your teen to check out NIDA’s PEERx interactive videos, that focus on prescription drug abuse or the Scholastic e-poster that discusses health effects of drugs.
The NIDA suggests ramping onto the ‘road to recovery’ by bringing your child to a doctor who can screen for signs of drug use and other related health conditions. You can also contact an addiction specialist directly. There are 3,500 board certified physicians who specialize in addiction in the United States. You and the physician can decide if your teen or young adult should be referred to treatment.
It takes a lot of courage to seek help for a child with a possible drug problem because there is a lot of hard work ahead for both of you; it interrupts ‘normal’ life. Apart from providing moral and emotional support, parents can also play a crucial role in supporting the practical aspects of treatment, such as scheduling and making appointments as well as providing needed structure through household rules and monitoring.
What to Know Before Admitting Your Child
Many adolescents who abuse drugs have a history of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse or other trauma. The NIDA provides these guiding principles to parents of adolescents dealing with a possible substance use disorder:
- Adolescent substance use needs to be identified and addressed as soon as possible – Drugs can have long-lasting effects on the developing brain and may interfere with family, positive peer relationships and school performance.
- Adolescents can benefit from a drug abuse intervention even if they are not addicted to a drug – Substance use disorders can be treated successfully at any stage and any age. Even experimenting with drugs is cause for concern. Parents should monitor young people and not underestimate the significance of what may appear as isolated instances of drug taking.
- Routine annual medical visits are an opportunity to ask adolescents about drug use –Standardized screening tools are available to help physicians and clinicians determine an adolescent’s level of involvement, including any inappropriate prescription drug use.
- Legal interventions and sanctions or family pressure may play an important role in getting adolescents to enter, stay in, and complete treatment – Adolescents with substance use disorders rarely feel they need treatment and almost never seek it on their own. Research shows that treatment can work, even if it is mandated or entered into unwillingly.
- Substance use disorder treatment should be tailored to the unique needs of the adolescent – Treatment planning begins with a comprehensive assessment to identify the person’s strengths and weaknesses to be addressed.
- Treatment should address the needs of the whole person, not just the drug use – The best approach to treatment includes supporting the adolescent’s larger life needs, such as those related to medical, psychological and social well-being. Failing to address such needs could sabotage the treatment’s success.
- Behavioral therapies are effective in addressing adolescent drug use – Behavioral therapies, delivered by trained clinicians, help an adolescent stay off drugs by strengthening his or her motivation to change.
- Families and the community are important aspects of treatment – The support of family members is important for an adolescent’s recovery. Evidence-based interventions for adolescent drug abuse seek to strengthen family relationships by improving communication and improving family members’ ability to support abstinence from drugs.
- Effectively treating substance use disorders in adolescents requires also identifying and treating any other mental health conditions they may have – Drug-abusing adolescents, particularly those involved in the juvenile justice system, should be screened for other psychiatric disorders. Treatment for these problems should be integrated with substance use disorder treatment.
- Sensitive issues such as violence and child abuse or risk of suicide should be identified and addressed – Many adolescents who abuse drugs have a history of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse or other trauma. If abuse is suspected, referrals should be made to social and protective services, following local regulations and reporting requirements.
- It is important to monitor drug use during treatment – It’s critical to identify any possible return to drug use early before an undetected relapse progresses to more serious consequences. A relapse signals the need for more treatment or a need to adjust the individual’s current treatment plan.
- Staying in treatment for an adequate period of time and continuity of care afterward are important – The minimal length of drug treatment depends on the type and extent of the adolescent’s needs, but studies show outcomes are better when a person stays in treatment for at least three months.
- Testing adolescents for sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, as well as hepatitis B and C, is an important part of drug treatment – Adolescents who use drugs are at an increased risk for diseases that are transmitted sexually or through the blood. All drugs of abuse alter judgment and decision making, increasing the likelihood of unprotected sex, use of contaminated drug injection equipment, etc.
Transportation assistance in delivering your child to treatment can be provided by specialty services, such as the U.S. Transport Service. Dealing with a drug-abusing child is challenging and stressful enough without trying to physically handle getting your child to a treatment facility; these transportation services provide safe, respectful passage for your peace of mind.
When you call our 24/7 toll-free helpline, you will directly reach one of our highly qualified admissions coordinators, who can inform you about our highly effective, professional and discrete treatment programs. You will get answers to your questions and concerns, including info about transporting your child to a treatment facility. Also remember to ask about how your health insurance may cover this treatment. Call with confidence that you and your child will be treated not only with the utmost of respect, but our approach is highly acclaimed and proven to get the results you want and need.