Substance abuse or addiction in the life of a child is an especially sensitive topic on many levels. When it comes to the parents of these young people, it’s often very difficult to admit their children might be using drugs or alcohol, let alone be suffering from addiction or abuse. However, it is a problem that parents cannot afford to ignore.

The total number of substance abusers and addicts is on the rise in the UK, especially among young people. More and more they are turning to drugs and alcohol to help them cope with lives that don’t meet their expectations. More, now than ever, there is a need for effective addiction rehab for young people.

Rehab opportunities are available through a variety of sources including:

  • the NHS

  • drug and alcohol charities

  • local support groups

  • professional counsellors and therapists

  • private rehab clinics.

Where help is sought for young person is secondary to the decision to get help. If you’re the parent of a troubled child, the best thing you can do for that young person is to admit there might be a problem that needs to be dealt with. Then, get a proper evaluation in order to determine a course of action.

If you are unwilling to look honestly at your situation, there’s little anyone can do to help. So consider this: you stand to lose nothing by asking. If it turns out your child is not suffering from abuse or addiction, your mind will be set at ease. If they are, you’ve taken the first step toward recovery.

Children and ADHD

Statistics show that children diagnosed with ADHD and treated with powerful, mood altering drugs are more likely to develop addiction later in life than others are. Perhaps this is due to the mindset of attempting to control one’s behaviour through medication rather than therapeutic behavioural changes.

In other words, teach a child that taking drugs is necessary to overcome struggles in school, and he or she is likely to assume drugs are also the solution to their other problems. That’s not to say ADHD shouldn’t be treated; it’s merely to say we need to be more careful about what we do.

According to a 2012 report by the Mail Online, prescriptions for ADHD drugs quadrupled in the decade ending in 2010. Along with the drastic increase has come an equally staggering increase in A & E admissions for problems relating to overuse or overdose of these prescription drugs.

Treating a Dual Diagnosis

When an individual is diagnosed as having a drug addiction problem while at the same time suffering from another known mental disorder, this is referred to as a dual diagnosis. In the truest sense of the term, a drug addiction in combination with ADHD would also be a dual diagnosis scenario. A dual diagnosis requires a special kind of rehab.

Rehab for young people usually takes into account the possibility of other conditions such as ADHD. When these other conditions exist, therapists and clinic staff will tailor rehab treatment programmes around dealing with both issues simultaneously. A strategy that does not do so is only treating half the problem.

In the case of ADHD specifically, a dual diagnosis treatment may include what is known as cognitive behavioural therapy. Also known as CBT, this is a specialised therapy designed to teach the addict how to modify their behaviour without the continued use of addictive substances. CBT encourages the addict to look at a number of things, including:

  • current and past circumstances

  • reasons for using addictive substances

  • triggers of addictive behaviour

  • the general perceptions of addiction.

When CBT is employed as an addiction therapy, the point is to help the addict face the underlying issues that appear to be the root of their addiction. It then goes on to teach them strategies they can employ to overcome temptation and those things that trigger their addictive behaviours.

Unlike some other therapies, CBT is not open-ended. At the beginning of the treatment, the therapist establishes a list of goals the client will work toward. As each goal is reached, the therapist and client move to the next. CBT can normally be completed in 12 to 14 sessions.

Outpatient or Inpatient

Should you decide to contact us for help for a young person you know, we’ll advise you on treatment options that include both outpatient and inpatient programmes. You need to know the difference in order to make a wise choice. We will start by talking about outpatient services.

Outpatient services are those offered at a central facility where all of the clients in a given group meet every day. Clients will remain at the facility for several hours, or even the entire day, before returning home in the evening. The following day they return for additional treatment.

Inpatient services are those offered at facilities that provide residential living accommodation for each client. The client is admitted to the programme, undergoing 4 to 12 weeks of therapy while residing at the facility. The programme provides for basic needs like meals, medical care and, when necessary, transportation to and from therapy sessions.

It can be difficult for young people to undergo treatment in a residential facility. Nonetheless, we typically recommend residential treatment as the best option because it offers the greatest chances of success. If residential treatment is not the best option for your young person, some very good outpatient programmes can be very helpful.

What We Do

Our organisation acts as an confidential referral service and liaison between alcohol and drug rehab centres and clients. We work with private rehab clinics, charities, support groups, and professional services that can provide each client with the best care possible. We can also advise clients on accessing NHS services if that’s the best option.

Should you be concerned that a potential abuse or addiction problem is present in combination with ADHD, your GP may be the best person to make a dual diagnosis. Should he/she determine an addiction is present, they will be able to recommend the next steps to be taken.

We want you to know there is help available for the young person in your life. If you suspect substance abuse or addiction is even remotely possible in the life of your child, or another young person you know, please get in touch with us right away. The sooner you do, the sooner the road to recovery can begin.