Most parents would do anything to ensure that their children live happy, healthy lives. But when drugs, alcohol, or mental health difficulties take them off course, even your best efforts don’t seem like enough. All the prayers, boundaries, promises, and threats in the world aren’t enough to make a child happier, or better. But is professional help for young adult substance abuse really necessary? If you’re asking yourself “Does my child need rehab for young adults?” there are some signs to help you decide when to get help.
It’s Time for Rehab When … Your Child Is Using Drugs & Alcohol
Tragically, drug and alcohol misuse has become almost a rite of passage in American youth. The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (https://drugabusestatistics.org/teen-drug-use/) reports that 50% of teenagers have misused drugs more than once. Worse, it’s a growing problem: Drug use in 8th graders went up 6% between 2016 and 2020.
Some have linked that to the increasing availability of “legal” marijuana. Indeed, nearly 84% of teens who reported using drugs in the last month were using marijuana. But, just because marijuana is legal for adults does not mean that it’s safe. The human brain does not complete its development until the mid- to late-20s. Marijuana use — or drug and alcohol use of any kind — can have a lasting impact on the brain and other behavioral functions. In particular, marijuana use in the teen and young adult years is linked to an increased risk of psychosis or schizophrenia in later life (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33617756/).
It’s Time for Rehab When … Your Child Is Unrecognizable
Even if the impact on your child is not as drastic as schizophrenia, drug and alcohol misuse can turn your child into someone you don’t recognize. Increased aggression, apathy, depression, or mania: Drugs and alcohol can cause a wide variety of behavioral changes in a user.
The signs of behavior changes may be hard to recognize if your child is away at college for most of the year, and/or living away from home. In addition, it’s easy to chalk up mood swings or behavior changes to normal young adult development. However, don’t let the red flags go unnoticed. Dig deeper to find if your child’s behavior has been influenced by drug or alcohol use — and if they need help.
It’s Time for Rehab When … Your Child is Struggling in School or At Work
According to the DSM-V, substance use disorder is characterized by a series of symptoms. However, the most telling sign of a problem is when substance use is causing issues in an individual’s life and they still keep on using. If your child is struggling at school, at work, or with friends and you think that drugs or alcohol could be the cause, consider this: Failing to seek help could allow these problems to fester and get much worse.
It’s Time for Rehab When … Your Child is in Trouble with the Law
Drug- or alcohol-related legal problems are the sign of a serious substance use problem. So much more than youthful indiscretions, they should be a wakeup call for your child that it’s time to get clean and sober. If your child insists they want to keep drinking or using, however, that itself could be a sign that they are already in the grips of addiction.
It’s Time for Rehab When … Your Child Needs Addiction or Mental Health Help
All of the surface-level symptoms of addiction are important to identify because they almost always indicate deeper problems below the surface. If your child is struggling with substance misuse, it’s likely that they also have a deeper trauma or mental health difficulty to contend with. Pursuing residential addiction treatment at a dual-diagnosis program would allow them to heal both at the same time, setting them up for a better, happier life.
Adolescent Addiction & Mental Health Treatment
It is possible to break the cycle of addiction and find connection, community, and sustainability in long term recovery. At Momentum Recovery, our gender-specific programs for young men and young women offer dual-diagnosis paths to a happier, better life and a new sense of belonging. Contact our caring experts to learn more about whether Momentum could be right for your child.