Family involvement in addiction treatment improves the ultimate outcome of rehab.1 When you help your teen through outpatient addiction treatment, it may improve their chances of successful long-term recovery. Here are five essential ways to help your teen through outpatient addiction treatment and beyond.
1. Understand That Addiction is a Family Disease
Addiction is a disease that puts the entire family under a great deal of stress. As normal routines are interrupted by unsettling experiences, family members develop unhealthy ways of coping. They may be in denial about the addiction, or they may try to manipulate reality in an attempt to maintain some normalcy. Enabling and co-dependent behaviors, such as removing consequences or focusing almost entirely on the addicted family member, contribute to both family dysfunction and the addiction.
It’s essential to understand that treatment for your child won’t automatically change the unhealthy behaviors family members have developed. Family therapy, individual therapy for family members and participation in a support group are essential for the best possible treatment outcome.
Engage in Family Therapy
Family therapy is an integral part of outpatient addiction treatment for adolescents. Engaging in family therapy helps repair relationships, improve communication skills and restore function to the family system. It also helps family members understand how best to support their loved one in recovery.
Get Individual Counseling
Individual counseling for family members helps each member identify his or her own unhealthy thoughts and behaviors and learn to replace these with healthier ways of thinking and behaving. Positive changes in the thought and behavior patterns of family members brings positive changes in the whole family system and the addicted loved one. Individual counseling for other children in the family can help reduce their own risk of developing a substance use disorder later on.
Join a Support Group
Support groups for family members offer essential support during their teen’s recovery. Organizations like Al-Anon, Nar-Anon and Alateen are stellar support groups for family members that provide a safe place to vent fear or anger, get advice, celebrate milestones and find excellent resources.
2. Learn Everything You Can About Addiction
Understanding how addiction develops, its underlying causes, and what’s required to send it into remission for the long-term is essential for supporting your teen in recovery.
Psychoeducational workshops for family members are an essential component of your teen’s treatment plan. Participating in these informative meetings will help you gain a better understanding of your teen’s addiction and the best ways to support them in recovery.
3. Understand Relapse
Relapse occurs in three stages, each with its own set of warning signs. Understanding relapse and knowing the signs of each stage will help you monitor your teen’s attitudes, emotions and behaviors for signs of an impending relapse so that your teen can get help before a lapse occurs.
4. Expect Setbacks
Just as it takes time to develop an addiction and the unhealthy thought and behavior patterns that come with it, it takes time to re-learn healthy ways of thinking and behaving. Setbacks, which include any incident that leads your teen closer to a lapse or relapse, are a normal part of recovery.2 How you and your teen respond to setbacks has a huge impact on how quickly your teen gets back on the road to successful recovery.
It’s important to consider a lapse or other setback as an opportunity to identify and develop missing skills that will prevent a similar setback from occurring in the future. Approaching a setback from a positive perspective and staying focused on the progress made so far will help your teenager get back on track quickly and stronger than ever.
5. Hold on to Hope No Matter What
Hope as the foundation of recovery. Hope is the belief that a better future is possible. Holding on to hope during treatment and letting your teen know that you believe they can recover from addiction will help you and your teen stay positive during treatment and recovery.