Lots of people start experimenting with drugs at a young age, often before their bodies or brains are fully developed. Talking to recovering addicts, many had their first experience with drugs or alcohol as young as age ten, a time when you aren’t even able to fully comprehend your own actions and how it can impact your future. It is no surprise that it can lead to a lifetime of addiction and trauma.
Adolescents in addiction are products of children who start experimenting early. They are easily influenced, and their young minds and bodies are very susceptible to getting sucked into addiction. At this young age, a number of unique issues arise, and it is important that help is gotten immediately so that a bad situation doesn’t completely spiral out of control.
Helping Adolescents in Addiction Start Fresh
As negative as it is that an adolescent in addiction started so early, the good news is that they are young enough to reverse many of the effects of their drug or alcohol use and start over. As teenagers, they are still largely impressionable and can learn good behaviors just as fast as they picked up old ones. They are not “stuck in their ways” as adults are, and can easily be persuaded to give up drugs and alcohol.
One of the biggest requirements of any addict to stay in recovery is that they have to want it. They need to want to stay sober and work hard for it every day in order to be successful. The same goes for adolescents in addiction. Simply put, if they aren’t interested in staying sober, chances are they won’t stay that way.
So, when a willing young person goes to rehab, it is giving them a completely new start in life, no matter how bad their addiction got. Many adolescents are introduced to drugs or alcohol by their family members and peers. Going to rehab gets them away from that environment so that they can focus on themselves and on being a kid again. Sometimes getting away from the world of drugs and alcohol is all that it takes.
The Challenges Faced by Adolescents in Addiction
Being as young as they are, it is essential that an adolescent in recovery has a solid support system around them when they return home. If they are living with someone in active addiction, it is a good idea to see about a different living arrangement so that they can stay safe. Likewise, they may need to move schools if their peers are influencing their addiction.
Adolescents may also have issues at school so it is important to speak to them and figure out what is going on. Bullying can be an issue that pushes people into using drugs or alcohol. Speak to your adolescent to prevent this kind of situation from bringing them down. If grades are an issue, it is important to make sure they don’t feel overly pressured by school and remember to focus on their recovery. After all, without sobriety nothing is left!
If you have an adolescent in addiction, the number one thing to do is get them help at a facility that deals with adolescents specifically. Just like there are specific programs for women, men, firefighters, and mothers, there are also programs just for adolescents. The staff is specially equipped to deal with this special group to best serve their needs. This way, addiction can become a thing of the past!