Parents often breathe a sigh of relief once their teen is discharged from a treatment center, as therapy programs for teens can provide what feels like a second chance. Yet parents should be aware that a teen needs continued support if they hope to maintain recovery from their substance use disorder.
One of the best ways a parent can support a teen in recovery is to know the signs of a relapse and get help quickly should a relapse occur.
Foothills at Red Oak Recovery offers substance use treatment for teenage boys. If you’re concerned your teenager has relapsed, give us a call at 866.300.5275 to learn more about getting help at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery.
Parents Should Know that Relapse Is a Risk
Relapse is always a risk for anyone in recovery. Relapse can happen no matter how long a person has been sober, but the highest risk of recovery comes in the immediate days and weeks after first leaving treatment.
Discharge from treatment is a transitional period, and teens new to recovery are still learning to resist cravings and handle triggers in a way that supports long-term sobriety.
When a teen relapses, it’s not uncommon for them to try to hide the signs of a relapse or deny that it happened. They may feel embarrassed about the relapse and don’t want to disappoint their parents. Unfortunately, the substances they’ve taken can easily entrap a teen into continuing to use instead of asking for help. Relapsing is not a sign of failure but rather a sign that they need more support and guidance.
Signs of a Relapse to Watch For
If your teen relapses and comes to you for help, it’s easy enough to call a treatment center and connect them to the services they need to step back into recovery.
Unfortunately, many parents are left dealing with uncertainty. They notice something has changed, or they’re concerned by a teen’s behavior, but they’re not certain that relapse has occurred.
Some of the most common physical signs of relapse parents can watch for include:
- Unusually high or low energy levels
- Dilated pupils
- Changes in a teen’s eating or sleeping patterns
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Needle marks on arms
In addition to physical signs, there are other telltale signs a parent can watch out for. Some of these include:
- Changes in friends, habits, or schedules
- Unexplained absences
- Isolation or withdrawal
- Angry or defensive reactions when questioned
- Presence of drug paraphernalia or alcohol bottles
- Missing prescription medications
- Missing money or requests for money
Some of these signs depend on the specific substance a teen uses. However, parents should remember that substance use disorder involves the use of any mind-altering substance.
If a teen relapses on a different substance than the one they attended treatment for, the signs of relapse might differ from a teen’s past behaviors, making them harder to spot.
How Parents Can Help with Relapse Prevention
Parents cannot stop a teen from relapsing, and they shouldn’t feel guilty if a relapse occurs. However, there are some steps parents can take to help a teen strengthen their recovery once treatment ends.
- Communicate regularly
- Stay connected
- Make time for activities
- Encourage a recovery community
- Set rules and boundaries
- Try sober living
When relapse does occur, parents might want to consider a sober living program. Sober living provides teens with an environment that offers extra support as they learn to avoid relapse and remain substance-free.
Learn Teen Relapse Prevention Skills at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
Foothills at Red Oak Recovery offers substance use treatment designed specifically for teenage boys. Our programs include relapse prevention tips and strategies to help reduce the likelihood of teen relapse once a program is complete.
If you’re concerned about your teen, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Call us at 866.300.5275 or fill out our online form today and ask about getting help for a teen’s relapse at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery.