Can you force your teen to go to therapy?

Parenting ranks as one of the world’s most demanding jobs, and it gets harder when you think your teenager uses drugs. Many young people take a chance on using risky substances, which may attract your attention. When you notice any unwanted effects physically or mentally, it alerts you to do something about it. When you first discover a possible teen addiction, take a moment to compose yourself and remain calm. Substance abuse issues can rip families apart, but you can make sure yours comes through intact with love and understanding.

teen drug use

Finding Out if Your Teenager Uses Drugs

No doubt you expect your teenager to go through some changes as a normal part of growing up. However, some of the differences you notice in your child’s appearance can give you the first clue about teen addiction. As a responsible parent, you want to consider changes in behavior and overall health. While you may not want to seem like a detective, looking for signs of drug use can give you some facts you need to know.

Like any adult who wants to protect a habit by hiding it, your teenager may do the same thing. So, you can look for beer bottles, shot glasses or flasks in their room as signs of drinking alcohol. Rolling papers, e-cigarettes, bongs and pipes may show signs of marijuana use. Inhalants may show up as tubes of glue, aerosol cans, rags, balloons or small brown glass bottles. Finally, you may expect to find telltale signs of drug use in your teen’s book bag, school supplies, laundry bin or any place around the house where they think you do not look.

While you search, you may wonder can you force your teen to go to therapy if you need to. The National Library of Medicine provides statutes for Washington and Arizona regarding decision-making for teenagers entering drug or mental health treatment. However, experts recommend an approach that involves cooperation.

As you read about the challenge you face, you can learn more about the options for coping with teen addiction.

You may find help within your family or from friends who have already faced a similar situation. Teachers or counselors at school and doctors may help you stay calm and firm. Finally, expert caregivers at Royal Life Centers can guide your teenager onto the path that leads to sobriety and a healthy life.

Starting a Conversation

If you notice signs of drug use by your teenager, no doubt it frightens you. Wondering how to talk about it may worry you even more. Anyone who uses drugs may react with anger or become defensive. A similar response by your teenager can produce an even more intense reaction. After all, the thought of giving up drugs does not please anyone who uses them. In addition, the idea of letting you down or disappointing you makes things very hard. Using these tips to start a conversation about teen addiction may go along better than you expect.

1. Timing

Pick a time when you think your child is not under the influence of drugs.

2. Privacy

Many people choose to talk about personal matters on a short trip in a car. The enclosed space offers a sense of privacy that keeps others from listening. In addition, the conversation can last only a short time before you get to your destination. In exchange for no way to get up and leave the conversation, your teenager can feel some comfort from knowing it cannot last too long.

3. Respect

You may express concern about the changes you notice and respectfully say that you wonder why they happen. Try not to focus on yourself or fears that you caused the situation. You want to help solve their issues without bringing adult concerns into the discussion.

4. Reassurance

Every teenager knows when something they do displeases you, and they may sense it more than ever when it concerns drug use. Make sure to express your love more than once in the conversation. Your desire to help a child get through a problem without withdrawing your love provides a sense of security. No one who senses a threat to their well-being can fail to act defensively.

5. Concern

An excellent approach to a conversation starts by asking a question. It means that you want to listen. For example, you may get a lot of important information by asking what your teenager thinks causes the changes you see. While you may not like it, you achieve significant progress by opening a conversation. Of course, listening means not interrupting or ending the chat early.

6. Facts

Before starting a conversation, you need to know some facts about teen addiction. You can find answers to the 10 questions that young people asked the National Institute on Drug Abuse here. When you show that you know the facts, it may help your teenager talk to you.

7. Responsibility

While staying calm and reassuring, you can invite your teenager to say how you can become a better parent. Then, whether or not your child blames you for the issue, you get what you want when communication occurs.

8. Treatment

Options for inpatient or outpatient treatment give your teenager something to consider.

Developing a Plan

If the outreach to your teenager did not produce the results you hoped for, you can take another approach. Once you confirm that your child uses drugs, knowing the truth can lead to finding help. Easing your teenager into therapy provides a more pleasant experience for both of you. A visit to our treatment facility can remove some of the concerns. Almost everyone fears the unknown, and we respect that feeling. When we describe how a typical day keeps everyone busy, it can ease their fears.

Alternatives to Group Therapy

Experts agree that talk therapy produces excellent results in addressing the issues that can lead to addiction. Traditional approaches allow a group to meet and discuss topics that a counselor may suggest. However, your teenager may not feel comfortable discussing personal issues with strangers. An option that may adapt to their familiarity with computers allows a therapist to communicate online in a safe and unthreatening environment.

Many therapists work with reluctant teenagers by offering flexibility instead of control. For example, a trial period of two or three counseling sessions can give your teenager a chance to judge the session and decide if it needs to continue.

Options for Not Attending

As a parent, much of your influence over your children comes from setting examples. When you see that your teenager has firm resistance to going to therapy, you may consider going to group therapy yourself. The advantages include gaining knowledge about influences at home that affect your child. Whether counselors learn about issues that lead to teen addiction from you or your child matters little when you can get to the heart of a problem.

Understanding the Next Steps to Take

Returning home after therapy requires the help of the whole family. Accepting how things have changed prevents anyone from thinking that the problem ended with therapy. Recovery lasts a lifetime, and encouragement helps a lot. Expressions of love, understanding and kindness can show teenagers that addiction results from disease, not a choice.

Aside from thinking that the problem no longer exists, you must face the reality that relapse can occur as it often does. You can make things easier by encouraging your teenager to return to education and activities at a comfortable pace.

Choosing the Best Care for Your Teenager

At Royal Life Centers, we know that teens can face the same addictions as adults. Our professional staff of caregivers offers safety and exceptional care for teenagers who suffer from addiction. We provide an educational program that allows teens to maintain academic progress while working on recovery. Our skilled addiction specialists provide a compassionate and secure environment that reassures and guides young people.

Our distinguished, award-winning programs received a rating as one of the 3 Best Addiction Centers in Spokane. In addition, we achieved recognition as one of the 19 Top Medical Detox Centers in the U.S. Your call lets our admissions team start preparing a welcome to sobriety for your teenager.