Josh Chandler | March 8, 2018

Tackling Teen Painkiller Abuse

Painkiller abuse and addiction isn’t limited to adults – it can also affect teenagers. Read this post for expert advice on helping your teen overcome painkiller abuse…

Few things are worse than watching the light leave your teen’s eyes as he or she is overtaken by the grip of painkiller addiction.

Research shows that teenagers are one of the most vulnerable segments of the population for the abuse of painkillers. Why? Because they often view painkillers as being safer to experiment with than illegal drugs.

If your teen is dealing with painkiller addiction, they’re not alone — and neither are you. We’ve compiled a guide for how you can help your child to overcome his or her addiction.

Let’s get started.

Focus on Painkiller Addiction Treatment

Avoid focusing too much on your teenager’s poor decision. This will only diminish your child’s confidence, decrease their sense of power, and lower their self-esteem.

Unfortunately, this lack of empowerment will only result in continued drug abuse.

Instead, concentrate on your teen’s positives, encouraging desirable behaviors. When you do this, you build a sense of cooperation and teamwork while simultaneously reducing negativity and conflict.

As a result, your child will be more driven to do the following:

  • Face the challenges of painkiller addiction head-on
  • Build healthier peer relationships
  • Take part in new, enjoyable activities
  • Try new coping skills that are healthy

If your child is convinced that you want them to develop their full potential, this may also get your teen into a high-quality drug treatment program. This often acts as a vital step for recovering from an addiction to drugs.

While your child undergoes treatment, serve as a support and resource by going to family therapy and appointments with them. The healthier your family dynamic is, the more successful your child’s recovery may be.

Make Your Relationship Stronger

Those struggling with drug addiction oftentimes use underhanded tactics to acquire more painkillers, even if such a move will negatively impact them and others. If your teenager is one of them, this can destroy the bond you have striven to build with him or her.

Fortunately, you can fight this by making an effort to rebuild and strengthen this relationship.

One of the best ways to buttress any relationship? To facilitate assertive and open communication. By communicating well with your teen, you can catch issues early and then react appropriately.

So, what does good communication look like? It involves asking questions while also listening actively to drive productive conversations.

The best questions to ask your teenager facing painkiller addiction are those that are nonjudgmental and open-ended, as these inherently promote the improved exchange of ideas.

And this is critical. After all, your goal when communicating with your teen is to learn more about his or her struggles, concerns and hopes.

If you’re feeling exceptionally irrational, upset or sarcastic at a given moment, it may be in your and your child’s best interest for you to leave the situation and revisit the subject later. Just don’t ignore the issue, as it won’t simply go away on its own.

Establish Strict Guidelines

Another important step in helping your teen to beat painkiller addiction is to establish guidelines for unacceptable and acceptable behaviors. Consistent, clear rules are linked to better outcomes when you’re dealing with addiction in your family.

Not only do guidelines benefit your child but also they help you to determine how you react to situations that crop up.

If you want your guidelines to be especially effective, develop them collaboratively with your teenager. In this way, both you and your teen will have a valuable say in the consequences your child will face for completing certain behaviors.

Each guideline should ideally be a cause-and-effect statement. For instance, “If John does X, then Y will happen as a consequence.”

The stronger and more comprehensive your guidelines are, the greater your chances of avoiding emotionally fueled arguments with your teen and thus unproductive outcomes down the road.

Create Boundaries

While guidelines refer to rules that are based on someone’s behaviors, boundaries refer to those things you will and won’t do for your teen.

People struggling with addiction generally test their loved ones’ boundaries. They may do this directly, or they could do this indirectly by attempting to manipulate them.

Establish your boundaries while you’re thinking rationally and calmly, as this will help to prevent you from acting inconsistently when your teen tests your boundaries.

You have poor boundaries if you find yourself making excuses for your teen’s behavior or being willing to fib for your child’s sake. But with solid boundaries, your child knows he or she alone is responsible for his or her actions. And this increases the chances that your teen will seek painkiller addiction treatment.

Take Care of Yourself

Yes, you are understandably be preoccupied with your teen’s addiction, and your primary focus is on his or her well-being. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect your own well-being in the process.

You need to simultaneously practice self-care, where you prioritize your needs while tending to your teen’s needs. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will experience burnout and are at risk of a slew of stress-related health conditions such as the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Attention and memory problems
  • Obesity
  • Weakened immune system
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

The best ways in which to take care of yourself include the following:

  • Practice relaxation skills
  • Participate in a strong support group
  • Take care of your body by eating right and exercising
  • Spend time taking part in personally enjoyable activities with family members and friends
  • Ask for help, and don’t be too proud to accept it

The more you take care of yourself, the better you can help your teenager. After all, the more stressed out you are, the less likely you are to provide effective encouragement, engage in competent decision-making and be consistent in enforcing your guidelines.

Plus, when you take care of yourself, you show your child how important it is for him or her to do the same. In other words, you lead by example.

How We Can Help

For those struggling with drug addiction, we offer the support and education needed to beat their addiction.

Contact us to find out more about how our unique commitment, compassion, and expertise will help you to get your teen back from the throes of addiction.

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Josh Chandler
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