If you or someone close to you has recognized that a teenaged member of the family has a substance abuse issue, it may be time to step in and offer that teen help. However, people often feel helpless in the face of addiction, even when it’s not their own. What is a drug intervention? How do you go about doing it? What other resources will you want to have close at hand to help you in this stressful time? The following information will discuss the particulars, and how you can help a teen in your life who’s struggling with a substance abuse problem.
You Are Not Alone
This is the biggest hurdle to surmount, not only for the addicted person, but for those who want to help the individual. The first step to staging an intervention is to understand that it has to be a group effort. It can’t be a one-on-one conversation. This not only allows you to present a more cohesive front for your teen, but also allows intervention members to lean on each other, share resources and find the strength to compassionately persevere.
What Is a Drug Intervention?
For those who are at a loss as to how drug interventions work, and how bringing together family and friends for one involving a teenager is a special undertaking, here’s an overview. The first step is the conversation, but that can’t be the end of it. Teen abusers are special cases, because the neocortex hasn’t fully developed at this stage in life. This is the part of the brain that’s responsible for risk-benefit assessment and decision-making behavior.
Individuals won’t have this until around the age of 25, which means that the choices they make can be driven by older parts of the brain, such as the limbic system. That’s where emotional thinking lives, and is often behind the highly emotive rebellious behavior that teens exhibit towards authority figures. Adding substance abuse behavior patterns often complicates this already delicate dynamic.
When you first sit down with your teen, try to include people close to her own age in the group — childhood friends, cousins and other loved ones of the teen’s generation. Parents are encouraged to discuss an intervention with one another in private, rehearse their points and help to keep each other calm in such an emotional situation.
Programs Designed for Teens
Because it’s important that you not completely alienate your teen by “doing” rehab “to her,” research the programs and support networks available that are specifically aimed at helping teenaged substance abusers reclaim their lives. In many cultures, there are clear rites of passage for adolescents. These mark the boundary between the time of childhood and the responsibilities or burdens shouldered by adults.
Western cultures seem to lack this clear boundary of associated rituals. This results in a prolonged liminal space for teens — when they’re no longer a child, but also not an adult. Specialized therapy and intervention programs are designed to help teens feel they have control over their destinies, and that substance abuse need not control them. These programs also devote time to repairing damage that the abuse issue may have caused to the family dynamic. Therapy as an individual and in conjunction with the members of their family is encouraged in order to help build a strong sense of support within their home environment.
These programs are also designed to help you and your loved ones rebuild the bond from your side. When you’re ready to help your teen take action, remember that you don’t have to go the course alone. If you’re asking, “What is a drug intervention?” and need to know what steps to take for a successful rehabilitation of your teen, call 800-447-9081. Our team is standing by to answer your questions and provide you with resources, and is always ready to support you and your family.