Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

5 Tips on Being Successful During Drug Rehab

Drug rehab is a pivotal point in the life of many teenage boys. As he attempts to make the transition from a self-destructive life to a positive, fulfilling future, your son will need 100 percent of your emotional support. He’ll also need help from addiction professionals who specialize in treating adolescents with substance use disorders. Recovery isn’t a journey that your son should face alone — it’s a process that the whole family should take on together. Here are a few tips on how you and your teen can be successful at drug rehab:

1. Find a rehab program that’s dedicated to teens.

When you start your search for a drug or alcohol rehab program, you’ll find that not every program is dedicated to the needs of teenagers. Many adult rehab facilities offer treatment plans for teens; however, these treatment centers often don’t focus on the unique concerns of adolescents. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, treating adolescents in recovery like adults will almost certainly fail. Teens need more structure and supervision, as well as a stronger emphasis on esteem-building and character development. Issues like peer pressure, sexuality, abuse and mental health take on an even greater importance in the treatment of teens.

2. Look for a gender-specific treatment facility.

During the teenage years, boys and girls are extremely sensitive to the opinions and attitudes of the opposite sex. Teenagers who haven’t developed a strong, sober self-image often turn to drugs or alcohol to make themselves feel more attractive and worthwhile. Gender-specific treatment facilities give teens the opportunity to focus on their recovery without these triggers and distractions. Because males and females each face specific challenges in recovery, a gender-specific program can focus exclusively on the needs of each group. This intensive focus may increase your son’s chances of success in rehab.

3. Encourage teens to participate in all activities.

Teenagers with addictive behavior often isolate themselves from others, especially if they have co-occurring mood or anxiety disorders. A teenager who has isolated himself for months to play video games, drink alcohol or use marijuana will need a lot of encouragement to participate actively in rehab. Parents can encourage teens to participate by taking part in counseling and group meetings along with their kids. Check in regularly on your teenager’s progress and provide emotional support for his achievements.

4. Get the whole family involved in recovery.

Family participation is crucial to a teen’s recovery. According to Contemporary Family Therapy, addiction in teens is increasingly viewed by therapists as a family issue rather than an individual problem. A dysfunctional family can create an environment that fosters addiction. Expectations in these families are often inconsistent, and the source of authority may be in question. In households where one or more adults abuse drugs and alcohol, the risk of a teen becoming addicted is higher than average. Comprehensive drug rehab programs for teens treat not only the young person, but his or her parents and siblings as well.

5. Reinforce your teen’s decision to get sober.

The most important factor in your teen’s recovery may be your support for his decision. It’s not easy to confront chemical dependency at any age. For teens, giving up drugs or alcohol may mean sacrificing friendships and building an entirely new social identity. If a teen is suffering from a psychiatric disorder, it means giving up a crucial form of self-medication. Drugs and alcohol can represent comfort, self-esteem, reassurance and courage to teenagers with severe emotional problems. Getting into rehab represents new hope for a young person, but it can also be extremely scary.

What can you do to reinforce your teenager’s choice? Let your teen know that he’s made a brave decision, and that you support him all the way. If you yourself have a problem with alcohol or drugs, it’s time to confront that reality so you can build a more stable, sober life at home. Take part in counseling sessions, peer group meetings and 12-step groups with your teenager. Never stop telling your teenager that you love him and believe in him.

Get Help for Your Teen Today

Teens who’ve fallen into the trap of addiction may appear to be indifferent, cold and detached on the surface; however, these attitudes are often a defense against the fear and uncertainty that they feel when they get into rehab. Our addiction specialists at Muir Wood are devoted to helping teenage boys get through this difficult period in their lives, so they can go on to build successful, fulfilling futures. Download our application packet online or call our intake counselors today to find out how we can help you and your teen succeed at rehab.