How to Prepare Your Child When Entering Treatment

If you, as a parent, have decided to enter your child into a detox treatment plan, that will likely be one of the most important decisions in your child’s life. Depending on the specific substance and frequency your child has been using, the early weeks might be challenging in different ways – so it is important for both of you to be prepared about what to expect.

What Should We Expect?

Detox treatment requires the body to quit substance use completely, and that can lead to withdrawal symptoms and severe cravings. These symptoms range from mild discomfort to seizures that can be life-threatening. For this reason, it is better to stay at an inpatient treatment facility monitored by health professionals. Medically supervised detox begins with assessment procedures to ensure the ongoing safety and progress of your child. Sometimes medical staff also provide needed non-addictive medications to lessen withdrawal symptoms.

Even after your child's body successfully pulls away from drugs and alcohol, their emotions might still linger in an addictive state. A medical treatment facility can provide counseling and therapy to help them cope with the tough early days of recovery. 

Both you and your child should expect to work closely with health professionals to sail through the weathered storms of this early phase. For example, before entering treatment, talk to an interventionist or parent coach about what a typical day is going to be like in treatment, as well as what the rules are. Find out what kind of therapy is offered. Be prepared for a rough timeline for your child to recover

What Are the Potential Challenges?

Apart from common withdrawal syndromes, your child might experience cravings and emotional struggles while staying at a treatment facility. The absence of drugs and alcohol might make the facility an intolerable place to stay. Your child may experience intense stress and anxiety but find the usual method of self-medication (e.g., drugs and alcohol) unavailable. It is common to potentially choose to self-isolate. Your child may feel less motivated to cooperate. The lack of motivation will continue to be at the front of this battle.

Another challenge might be impatience. Eager to see some effects in quitting substance use, your child may cooperate with health professionals but with an elevated eagerness for a fast, speedy recovery. It is important to educate your child that recovery from addiction is likely to be a marathon, and this is just the beginning. Both you and your child need to build up some mental resilience. Otherwise, impatience may soon lead to despair and relapse. 

What Are the New Freedoms?

After drugs and alcohol are removed from the living environment of your child, he or she may experience some newfound freedoms. The treatment facility will likely try to build a new routine for your child to eat a good diet, engage in healthy and creative activities, and have enough hours of sleep. These are building blocks towards a post-addiction lifestyle. You can encourage and coach your child to use the time wisely. For example, advise them to avoid spending too much time on social media. The guiding principle is to avoid negativity and stress from these and similar activities.

Recovery coaches and health professionals at the treatment center can also help your child integrate into a recovering community through programs like a 12-Step group and cognitive-behavioral therapies. If your child struggles with addiction, they may also suffer emotional and behavioral problems such as low self-esteem, compulsion, and depression. It is not enough just to treat the body. A holistic approach is to care for emotional and mental health while monitoring your child during early sobriety. 

With this support system in place, your child can make new and meaningful friendships. Encourage your child to open up in group counseling and individual therapy sessions. It can be liberating for them to enjoy talking to people without the influence of drugs and alcohol. 

How Should I Adjust My Parental Role?

Many young people with addiction are not positively supported at home. This happens either because of neglect, relationship difficulties, or abuse. For example, researchers have long found that family trauma may trigger a higher risk of addiction among younger generations. If your relationship with your child also needs improvement, you can choose an outpatient therapy program or work with a parent coach. 

As a parent, you also have the responsibility to prepare your home space to be substance-free and recovery-supportive. Learn basic techniques from health professionals at the treatment center about how to support recovering youth in their early stages. Be sensitive to stress triggers in the family dynamic and help your child to de-stress. You should also live a healthier lifestyle yourself and model positive thinking for your child. These can also enhance the chance of long-term recovery. 

Have you decided to send your child for detox treatment? Do you know what to expect? Are you ready to become a recovery-supportive parent? These goals might seem daunting, but we can help you achieve them with confidence. Remember, your support is the most important thing for your child. We are here to support both of you. Recovery is a long journey, but you do not need to do it alone. At South Florida Intervention, our trained interventionists and parent coaches have walked alongside many parents to care for their teens and young adults who went through detox treatment. Our experienced interventionists and parent coaches know every risk along the way. They can prep you to face these challenges during and after treatment. You can expect the best service possible when working with our parent coaches. You may also benefit from our recovery coaching at all stages, including case management and escort service. Call us at (202) 390-2273.