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Explaining Treatment to Your Teen

Whether you are going into drug treatment, your teen is, or you have a family member in treatment, you will eventually need to talk to your teen about the treatment. Chances are they are unsure of what happens during it. You will need to choose the right time to talk, have starters, and actually be able to explain treatment.

Use Teachable Moments to Pick Your Time for the Talk

Teachable moments are random moments that happen during the day that relate to the subject, in this case drug treatment. Use teachable moments in order to talk to your teen about a family member’s treatment. Some common teachable moments are:

  • during a movie featuring rehab
  • a celebrity in drug treatment on the news
  • someone unrelated who went through drug treatment

You will need to watch for teachable moments when you are considering talking to your teen about drug treatment.

Use a Conversation Starter

Explaining Treatment

Explain how each form of addiction treatment works and why it’s necessary for the addicted family member to attend.

You can use something happening in your teen’s daily life as a conversation starter. This not only lets you learn about your teen’s friends and interests, it opens the door for the teen to talk to you as well, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

There are other conversation starters that work as well. These are:

  • ask what they already know
  • talk about someone else in treatment
  • ask about another type of treatment such as cancer or physical rehab
  • use things in your environment to prompt the conversation

When you talk to your teen, remember they might not want to go to rehab because they are scared. By explaining and starting slowly you can prevent a lot of distress.

Explain What Drug Addiction Treatment Is

There are several key points that you want to hit when you actually get to talking about drug treatment with your teen. Understand that treatment might be a mystery to your teen or they might believe what Hollywood says about it, so there are a few things you want to make sure you touch on. These are:

  • what happens during inpatient treatment
  • what happens during outpatient treatment
  • what an addiction counselor is
  • why drug treatment is important
  • the schedule
  • the rules of inpatient, outpatient, and community treatment
  • why each type of treatment is necessary

These are just basic points. Always let your teen ask questions and if you do not know the answer, offer to look it up for them. You might also want to mention that according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, treatment will vary from person to person and according to what the person is on.

These are all things that you can use to have the conversation that you need to have about drug treatment and how it works, particularly if your teen has to go to rehab. If you want to find a rehab or for more information, call 800-683-3270.

Identifying Teen Drug Abuse

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