People of all ages succumb to drug addiction, including teenagers. Before teens are released from their recovery programs, it is important for parents to develop a relapse prevention plan. Relapse refers to how someone will resort back to drugs after. Eighty-five percent of people who seek treatment will relapse within the first year. Parents should take active measures to prevent it. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help your teenager during this trying time.

Identify Triggers

Triggers refer to anything that could cause a person to drink or use drugs again. This can include anyone the teen used to do drugs with or any places where the teen would use frequently. Being exposed to these triggers can result in a craving, which occurs when the addict has the immense desire to use again. The parents should know what addictive thoughts the teen could have that would make him or her want to relapse. It will not always be possible to identify every single trigger. Both the teen and parents will have to learn these over time and account for them later.

Know the Warning Signs of Relapse

Relapse will not occur in one day. It is a process, and it can take weeks or months of contending with triggers before an addict will use again. Therefore, parents need to be aware of the warning signs of relapse so that proper action can be attempted beforehand.

  •  Hiding emotions
  • Distancing yourself from supportive family members and friends
  • Attending recovery meetings but not participating
  • Skipping group meetings entirely
  • Lying and being dishonest with loved ones
  • Romanticizing previous drug or alcohol use
  • Thinking one slip will be alright
  • Interacting with friends or acquaintances who use drugs or drink

These are the emotional stages of relapse. Without proper intervention, it can lead to mental decline. This occurs when the addict starts to use alcohol. The addict knows he or she should not use it, but the addict will practice coping mechanisms to justify the behavior.

Finally, there is the physical relapse. The person may regret using immediately and will come out of the scenario with a renewed passion for staying clean. Family members and therapists may discover about the slipping and intervene to stop it from happening again.

Practice Coping Mechanisms

There are certain coping mechanisms someone can practice to reduce the risk of relapsing. After going through recovery, many people think they can control their drug use or drinking. Some common coping mechanisms include maintaining steady employment and having a safe home environment. It is paramount for the addict to go to support group meetings. It can help immensely for a loved one to go to the meetings. It is vital for all addicts in recovery to have some purpose in life. For teenagers, that can be playing a sport in school or focusing on college applications. Staying busy keeps an addict’s thoughts off of drugs and onto more productive matters.

Develop a Relapse Prevention Plan

Parents may only want to think of the best when their teens come back home. However, it is important to be realistic. Parents should have a detailed plan in place for when the teen does relapse. These plans need to be realistic and accessible. You can keep a list of reminders on a mobile app on both of your phones. There are certain details you want this plan to include.

First, you need someone to call. This can be the addict’s counselor or someone else invested in the teen’s recovery. Other items to include in the plan include:

  • List of reasons to remain sober
  • A safe place to go to after using again
  • Schedule of local support group meetings
  • List of stress-relief practices
  • Locations of local emergency services
  • Hotline numbers or crisis lines

A lot of people are embarrassed by a child’s addiction. The more people who know about the addiction, the more people you can turn to for assistance. Other family members, friends, and coworkers can assist your family when the addict relapses.

Know What to Do After Relapse

Parents of addicts need to understand that relapse does not equate to failure. It is simply a sign that the addict needs to take more steps to get clean. A significant relapse may require the parents to send the teen back to inpatient treatment. Depending on the circumstances, outpatient therapy may be preferable. It is paramount for parents to take steps after discovering the relapse to ensure the teen remains safe.

Parents should call 9-1-1 immediately after discovering the relapse. The reason for this is that there is a much greater risk of overdose from a relapse. The reason for this is that addicts develop tolerances when they are in the throes of addiction. This tolerance decreases after just a few weeks after not using the substance. When the addict uses the substance again, he or she will use the same amount as before. The problem is that the addict may no longer be able to handle that quantity and overdose.

When parents discover the relapse, they should call the police right away, especially if the teen is not responsive. Parents may also want to keep certain substances readily available. If the teen was addicted to narcotics, then all parents should keep NARCANÒ in the home. This is a nasal spray that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Begin the Recovery Process Again

After removing the threat of overdose, the parent and addict should get into a safe environment. The parent should get rid of all access to illicit substances. The parent should shield all of the negative influences, such as communication with friends who use. Additionally, this is the time when they need to start looking into addiction treatment again.

Supervised detox may be essential if there is no other way for the teen to overcome his or her dependency. Support groups or outpatient therapy may be all that is needed if the relapse was not too severe. Parents can rest easy knowing insurance plans do not put lifetime limits on substance abuse coverage. An addict can get as many treatments as necessary to recover.

Understand This is a Lifelong Process

Addiction is not like any other disease. It is not something a person can get over after a few weeks or months. The addict will have to deal with this for the rest of his or her life. Even after 10, 20, or 30 years of staying sober, relapse can happen to anyone. The addict constantly needs to practice coping mechanisms and healthy lifestyle habits.

Many addicts end up going to support groups for the rest of their lives. They need support from others to remain sober and overcome the addiction. Addicts need to maintain satisfying jobs and engage in healthy hobbies. With parents guiding the teen’s recovery, they are setting the child up for a good, fulfilling life.

Get in Touch with Professionals

Parents should give their teenagers the best by sending them to programs at the Anthony Louis Center. Professionals can treat a myriad of addictions, including alcohol, fentanyl, heroin, and more. Parents should contact us through our online form if they have any questions about what their teenagers need to recover successfully.