4 Tips for Teens with Loved Ones with Substance Abuse Problems
Those struggling with addiction aren’t the only ones who suffer from the damage caused by substance abuse.
Often it’s the case that when a person is suffering because of addiction, the loved ones around them are hurting, too. If you’re a teenager whose parent faces substance abuse problems, know that you’re not alone and there are ways to deal with the hardships caused by your home situation.
1. Know the Signs
It’s never too soon to intervene when you think a loved one’s behavior is putting him in danger. Look out for sudden changes in appetite, weight, or sleep patterns. It’s also common for those with substance abuse issues to suffer from mood swings, anxiety, paranoia, and lethargy.
The sooner you and your family recognize a problem, the better off everyone will be. Do a bit of research on what substance abuse looks like so you can recognize it in your loved one’s behavior as soon as possible.
2. Approach Discussion Thoughtfully
Approaching your loved one with your concerns is the second step to helping her with her substance abuse problem. It’s natural to wonder if your conversation will make your loved one angry or make the situation worse, but a gentle conversation expressing concern with a beloved family member could be what she needs most at this time.
Approach the conversation delicately and let her know that you’re coming to her because you trust and care about her. Avoid accusatory statements, encourage two-way dialogue, and vocalize your support so your loved one knows you want to work with her, not against her.
3. Help Explore Treatment Options
Whether it takes one conversation or many over time, ease your loved one into the idea of therapy by discussing his treatment options.
He might not even realize what kinds of treatment are available to him, like aquatic therapy or group meditation. Helping out by doing your own research on treatment options is a thoughtful way to show your loved one that you’re rooting for him and would like him to get better.
4. Take Care of Yourself
Living with a person with substance abuse problems is often a stressful and emotionally taxing situation, so don’t forget to take a step back every now and then to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
Meditation, exercise, and treating yourself are all healthy ways to manage stress. Build wholesome stress relieving habits now so you’ll be better equipped to handle difficult situations at home and in the future.
Take all the steps to recognize problems early on, approach the topic gently, and encourage your loved one to seek treatment. It won’t always be easy and progress might not always come as soon as you’d like it to, but your consistency and patience will help you and your loved one during this challenging time.
by guest blogger, Jackie Cortez
Jackie Cortez works with the team at The Prevention Coalition to identify authoritative resources on every aspect of substance abuse, ranging from prevention to addiction treatment. In her spare time, Jackie enjoys gardening, reading and walks with her favorite 4-legged pal, Buster the labrador.