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Intervention for Teens

It is unfortunate that many teens today are exposed to drugs and alcohol on a daily basis either in school or by other acquaintances that may have access to such substances. It can be scary to think that your child is using drugs or alcohol, and many parents are even in denial that this may be the case. Many parents simply take their child's word that they are not using drugs, or are too scared to ask. When confronted, teens will often admit to using alcohol but not to using marijuana or more serious drugs for fear getting into trouble. And as most parents know, when their teen is using marijuana they are probably using other drugs as well or soon will be. Any form of substance abuse is going to put the teen on a destructive path that may negatively affect them for the rest of their lives.

A teen will typically experiment with drugs and uses the substance in a social setting, and after some time this can spin out of control to the point that the teen begins to center their life around drugs. The teen's entire focus then becomes obtaining drugs and getting high. Parents want to try and get their teen intro treatment before it reaches these later crisis stages. If talking to the teen in a casual confrontation doesn't help, an intervention is sometimes necessary when a teen's drug or alcohol use has reached a crisis point and it is evident that they will not be able to stop or get help on their own. A parent must be diligent in spotting the warning signs of drug use and this can take some investigating and digging, but it will be worth it when the facts are on the table. Some common warning signs that your teen may need a drug intervention are:

  • Change in routine such as sleeping or eating habits.
  • New friends or groups of friends who are unacceptable to parents.
  • Poor performance in school work, attendance or grades.
  • Failure or refusal to contribute to the family or follow rules.
  • Deception, lying or being secretive about their activities.
  • Lack of self-care and personal hygiene.
  • Finding drugs or drug paraphernalia on their person or amongst their belongings
  • Changes in personality, attitude and emotional stability
  • Possession of weapons
  • Reckless, destructive and threatening behavior
  • Violent, self-harming or suicidal statements or behavior.

As with most issues as a parent the best thing is to go with your gut and intuition. If you suspect that your teen is involved in substance abuse, take action right away. The longer you wait the worse the problem will become.

Contrary to popular belief, your teen doesn't have to hit "rock bottom" before entering drug rehab. In fact, if the substance problem is caught soon enough, it can save the teen and parents from dealing with more serious consequences of chronic long-term drug and alcohol use. For a teen that has their whole life ahead of them, this can help them immensely. So don't wait until you see needle tracks in their arms or until they have overdosed and are in the emergency room. Notice even the more subtle signs as mentioned above and work out a plan to confront your teen with an intervention and get them in treatment as soon as possible.

Once it is determined that your teen is definitely showing obvious signs of drug abuse, it is important to conduct an intervention to get them in treatment as soon as possible. A teen intervention can be a touchy process, as teenagers who are caught up in substance abuse can be quite manipulative, especially in relationships with their parents. But there are several ways a teen drug intervention can be successfully accomplished. A professional interventionist is someone who is knowledgeable in the field of drug addiction and drug treatment and has been trained on the intervention process, as there are exact steps to follow for it to be successful. It can also be held by family members who can plan the intervention in coordination with a drug rehab or professional interventionist. The best thing to do is to contact a drug rehab facility and ask a professional drug treatment counselor the best way to plan the intervention for your teen.

After you have decided the manner in which to hold your teen intervention, the next and most important crucial step is determining where the teen will receive treatment. This is important to have well thought out and planned, with reservations made and paid for in advance. Once the teen accepts treatment they should begin their recovery immediately, with no delay. Delaying treatment, for even a day, can put your teen at serious risk. Many teens will go on a drug or alcohol binge if they know they'll be without drugs for a long period of time, and this could have disastrous consequences.

Drug rehab for teens typically consists of group and individuals therapy which typically focus on problem-solving, social skills, anger management, moral reasoning, positive peer culture and leadership training for example. Group therapy can help foster emotional growth in a safe and confidential setting. Teens can have a safe forum to express their thoughts and feelings about problems, and can be confronted by their peers when they go off track. In drug rehab teens are educated thoroughly about chemical dependency, communication, self-control, coping skills, conflict resolution, family dynamics, stress reduction, and a variety of other important topics. Individuals counselling sessions give the teens an opportunity to establish a trusting relationships with their professional drug treatment counsellors, who they may be more willing to share more sensitive information with which can open up new recovery doors. Family counselling is a crucial component in many teen drug rehab programs, and many provide this service when the timing is right. Family counselling allows the parents to remain part of treatment and recovery, and families are typically encouraged to visit the teen in treatment often to keep the close bond.

For a teen drug addiction intervention to be successful, it must be well thought out and planned. Deciding who will be present and where to have the intervention are all important components that will determine the failure or success of the teen intervention. The most successful teen interventions are developed in coordination with a drug rehab who can guide the family through the steps of the intervention or who can provide a professional interventionist to conduct the confrontation.

The location of the teen drug intervention should be one that is distraction free and one in which the teen and intervention participants will feel safe voicing their opinions and concerns. Teen intervention participants should be carefully selected, and should be individuals that the teen will listen to. This can be difficult because most teens who are abusing drugs or alcohol can seem rebellious and not willing to let anyone in. But the intervention will be conducted in a loving and caring manner in which the teen will feel safe communicating and listening to the concerns of family members and friends.

Prior to the teen drug intervention, participants should become educated about teen drug addiction, its consequences, and what treatment option has been chosen for the teen. The drug rehab or professional drug addiction interventionist that participants are working can provide educational materials and offer up their knowledge and personal experiences in helping teens overcome addiction.

Drug addiction intervention participants should prepare letters that will be read to the teen at the intervention. The letter will help keep opinions and emotions at bay, which will run high during the intervention, and provide a means for the teen be confronted with truth and facts. The letter should not make the teen feel guilty, rather should be focused on the facts and how their substance abuse can ruin their lives. The letter should express concern for the teen, and can include positive memories that participants have before the teen started abusing drugs. The letter can then phase over into how drug use has negatively affected the teen and his relationship with others. Participants should always include actual events in their letters that can explain how drugs have become so destructive. Each letter should end with a reaffirm of love and concern, and a please to the teen to accept the treatment that is being offered that has been set up in preparation for the intervention.

If by the end of each intervention participant's confrontation, the teen does not accept treatment, participants should prepare what the consequences of this will be. This is often referred to as a "bottom line". Intervention participants should only read their bottom lines if the individual refuses to go to treatment, otherwise there is no need to introduce negativity into an intervention that is a success. Additionally, participants should only read bottom lines that they will actually follow through with. To do otherwise could have disastrous consequences. They should not be offered as a threat, but should be put forth out of love and concern and as a means to discontinue any enabling that has been going on which could cause further drug use.

If the teen does accept treatment, they should leave immediately from the intervention and begin their recovery. This is typically much easier to do in the case of a teen that has minimal obligations, whereas it can be more difficult for an adult with a job and a family. Regardless, it is not uncommon for even a teen to offer up all manner of excuses as to why they can't leave for treatment immediately. Plan the handling for these excuses ahead of time, and have all logistics in order so that the teen can start treatment at once.

If the teen refuses this help and will not enter treatment, intervention participants should seek further help and advice from a professional drug treatment counselor who can assist. The important thing is not to lose hope, as having an intervention for a teen can be a tricky situation and the teen may take some convincing. Intervention participants should stick to their bottom lines and be available to the teen both physically and emotionally for when they do decide they want help.

A teen drug addiction intervention can reverse a very destructive path which could destroy a young person's entire future. An intervention that is filled with love and truth can be a powerful tool to get a teen to see that drugs and alcohol are not going to cause anything but harm to himself and others. Family is all they have in the end, and the love and concern of a parent or other family member can make all the difference in a teen's world. Focus that love and concern into an intervention and get your teen the help they need by getting them into treatment. Contact a drug rehab in your area and begin working with a professional drug treatment counselor who can help orchestrate a teen drug intervention right away.