In the United States alone, more than 50% of all teenagers have misused a drug at least once, and 62% have abused alcohol. Early drug abuse leads to substance abuse issues later in life and destructive behaviors.
If you have a teenager that’s struggling with recovery, it can be very overwhelming. However, you can help them through the process by learning about common drug addiction recovery mistakes so you can identify these behaviors early on.
Keep reading this guide to learn everything you need to know about common drug addiction mistakes and how to help your teen avoid them.
Self-care is one of the most essential parts of recovery, but it’s all too easy to overlook. Remember, people in addiction spend much of their time involved in drug and alcohol use. This takes precedence over everything else, including self-care.
Self-care involves taking care of your mental and physical health each day so you can feel your best. Self-care is crucial for anybody in recovery from a substance use disorder and helps you stay on the path of recovery.
First, taking care of your body allows it to get the rest it needs to heal. Although teenagers are less likely to have chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes, getting proper sleep still improves overall health.
Additionally, taking care of mental health leads to a more positive outlook and better self-esteem. It also helps you to be more mindful of feeling anxious or depressed.
Self Care Strategies
Remember, self-care isn’t just about getting a massage or taking a trip. Some self-care strategies that help during recovery include eating a healthy diet and exercising. However, you’ll also want to include other things like:
- Maintain your boundaries
- Maintain your spirituality or religious beliefs
- Deal with your negative emotions
- Find a therapist and go to counseling long-term
- Surround yourself with people who support your recovery
- Volunteer for a cause you love
Overall, self-care helps you deal with stress which is vital in preventing relapse due to emotional difficulties.
If your teenager is struggling with self-care, be sure to sit down and have a conversation with them. Start small and encourage them to eat healthy and sleep properly at night.
Not Going to Addiction Support Group Meetings
Treating drug addictions is an ongoing process, and it can be easy to think you don’t need meetings after your treatment program ends.
However, addiction support group meetings are essential and provide education about avoiding relapse and triggers. You’ll also continue to receive group therapy sessions with other people going through the same thing.
When you skip meetings, recovery moves away from your daily life, making you less mindful of the process.
For teenagers in school, it can be even tougher to keep this focus. If your teen is losing interest in attending, it’s time to take action. If your teen isn’t comfortable with their current support group, see if you can find another one for them to attend.
If you think your teen is using drugs again, they may need a specialized adolescent addiction program like Eagle Overlook. This program gives space for teenagers to heal physically, mentally, and spiritually from addiction.
In addition to behavioral therapy, your teenager will receive psychoeducation. In a group setting, therapists help teenagers understand the process of mental health and addiction. They’ll also learn about coping skills and the consequences of substance use.
The program also focuses on spiritual development and uses wilderness therapy to help address mental health issues.
Having a better understanding of addiction and connecting with others can help your teen see the importance of keeping up with meetings after treatment.
Not Changing Social Habits
It’s important to remember that recovery doesn’t end at your treatment center. To stay in recovery long-term, you must change every aspect of your life. This includes social habits like where you hang out and who you spend time with.
If you continue going to the same places you did while in addiction, you’ll expose yourself to social pressures and temptations. Even more, you won’t make the changes you need to live a sober life.
So, the first thing you need to do is take an honest look at your current social habits and ask yourself questions like:
- Are you spending time in the same places?
- Do you spend time with friends who are still using?
- Does your current friend circle support your recovery?
If you’re still doing the same things and aren’t supported in your recovery, it’s time to make a change. Changing these habits is tough, so you’ll need to take it day by day.
Activities for Recovering Addicts
The best thing you can do is replace your old activities with healthy ones you enjoy. For example, you can consider joining a gym or an exercise group.
Spirituality plays a critical role in a teenager’s psychological development and provides a strong foundation for recovery. Therefore joining a spiritual center or meditation group is a good option.
Or, consider joining a painting or drawing class with a friend or family member. Art therapy benefits teens, helping them deal with emotions and heal from addictive behaviors.
Remember, this is a significant part of the addiction recovery process, so you must consider what you enjoy doing.
Not Taking Care of Mental Health
Addiction and mental health go hand in hand. This is why behavioral therapy is a significant part of addiction treatment programs.
Addiction is also referred to as a substance use disorder (SUD). People with SUD use drugs or alcohol despite the problems it causes at home or work. Most people with addiction also have co-occurring mental health disorders like depression or anxiety.
These mental health issues are typically not diagnosed or treated, and people use drugs or alcohol to deal with the symptoms.
There are various effective therapies for addiction, like dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that helps treat substance use disorders.
It utilizes group and individual therapy and helps people who have trouble regulating emotions. DBT also focuses on developing mindfulness practices. Mindfulness enables you to be in the present moment and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings.
Noticing impulses and sensations like smell and sight helps you connect with what’s happening around you. The key is to do this in a nonjudgmental way. Mindfulness lets you slow down, learn healthy coping skills, and avoid automatic negative thought patterns.
DBT also teaches you to fully accept yourself and your current situation, known as distress tolerance. You’ll do this by working on behaviors like:
- Distracting yourself
- Focusing on and improving the present moment
- Soothing yourself
- Considering pros and cons when in distress
There are other aspects to DBT that you’ll learn, like emotional regulation and how to be more assertive in personal relationships.
If your teen hasn’t gone through behavioral therapy, you’ll need to find a drug rehab center that offers these treatment options.
Remember, behavioral therapy needs to be ongoing and is the key to long-term recovery.
Not Asking for Help
One of the most challenging parts of recovery is knowing when it’s time to ask for help. Many people feel that having trouble in recovery is a sign of weakness. Or they think they need to do it all alone.
However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The fact is that isolation and loneliness during recovery can lead to high-stress levels and trigger addictive behaviors. Remember, realizing you’re struggling and need help is a true sign of strength.
One of your first resources should be your healthcare provider. Since addiction is a medical condition, your doctor can help you with various resources to get you back on track. This might be medications or additional therapy.
It’s also helpful to confide in a family member or close friend. People who care about you want you to be successful in your recovery and will help as much as they can.
If you’ve been through treatment and are still struggling, you should attend extra meetings or contact your counselor.
As a parent of a teenager, it’s challenging to see your child struggle. But being aware of the signs will help you to help them more. So, if you notice your teen shutting down and isolating themselves, take this as a sign to step in and help.
Not Recognizing Triggers
It’s common for people who struggle with addiction to relapse a few times before getting and staying sober. A significant part of staying sober is understanding and recognizing your triggers. Once you’re able to do this, you can put a solid plan in place for when you do experience these triggers.
The first step to recognizing triggers is learning about the most common triggers people struggle with, like stress.
This is because stress is difficult to cope with, and turning to drugs or alcohol becomes a comfortable coping mechanism. One way to begin is to avoid putting yourself in situations you know will cause extreme stress. For example, do you have an unhealthy relationship that causes excessive stress?
The key is learning to evaluate the stress you’re experiencing. Once you do this, you can look at different ways to manage this stress. Mindfulness and engaging in healthy behaviors like exercise are great steps to take.
Other common triggers include:
- Feeling negative or difficult emotions
- Sensing or seeing reminders of your addiction
- Parties or celebrations
- Seeing old friends
You can help your teenager to become aware of these triggers and find healthy coping methods. Remember, identifying triggers is a learning process, and struggling along the way is common.
Making Comparisons to Other People
When you’re in a treatment program, it’s all too easy to compare yourself to others. Maybe you’re both at the same point in recovery, and it seems like the other person is doing better. Meanwhile, you feel like you’re falling behind them.
You might wonder why you struggle or assume you aren’t trying hard enough. However, comparison thinking can put your recovery at risk. This leads to negative thought patterns that cause stress and lead to addictive behaviors.
Don’t forget that you’re a unique individual on your own journey. Your mind, body, and environment you grew up in are all different. Everybody is different, and no two recoveries are the same.
Genetics plays a more significant role in addiction than you might realize. Studies show that genetic and lifestyle factors like exercise, diet, and stress levels all impact how people respond to addiction. It also explains why some people struggle with addiction while others don’t.
The best way to avoid this is only to pay attention to your own progress. Your progress is the only thing you can control during your recovery. It is also essential to learn to identify comparison thinking when it begins to sneak into your thought process.
Once you realize when it happens, you can take steps to deal with it in a positive way. Every time you have these thoughts, remind yourself how far you’ve come in recovery.
Practice patience with yourself, and don’t rush your process. Always remember that it’s perfectly acceptable to be where you’re at in the present moment. In time, it will get much easier to deal with these thoughts.
If you notice your teen making comparisons, be sure to remind them that they are on their own journey.
Avoiding These Drug Addiction Recovery Mistakes
Knowing about these common drug addiction recovery mistakes will make it easier to help your teenager through recovery.
Remember, recovery is a lifelong process, and more help is available for you. Eagle Overlook Recovery for Adolescents can offer your teen the highest quality medical care and therapies.
We’re licensed and accredited and have a residential treatment program in Dahlonega, GA, for males and females aged 13 to 18. We provide medical and psychiatric care, individual group counseling, and peer support.
We also offer psychoeducation and numerous outdoor activities. Treatment lasts up to 90 days, depending on your teenager’s needs.
We look forward to helping you, so be sure to contact us today to learn more about our programs.