FAQs For Parents of Teens
1. Why is deciding to place my adolescent child in a treatment center so hard?
For many parents, it’s difficult to imagine ever sending their kids to one of these facilities. The problem is that most parents consider this option an admission that they’ve failed in their role within the family. Others worry about how outsiders will view the decision, fearful that they’ll be judged as unfit to raise their own children if they seek professional help of that kind.
But most of the times there is such a breakdown in the family structure that there are few other viable options for ensuring the child’s well being. For instance, serious substance abuse problems can often only be resolved by separating the child from his or her current environment and lifestyle patterns. The same can hold true in cases where your child is suicidal, habitually skips school, or engages in promiscuous or other dangerous behavior.
At the end of the day, the real question always comes down to the most important issue facing any parent: can you keep your child safe without exercising the residential treatment facility option?
2. Why should we choose the Family Center for Recovery for our loved one over other treatment facilities?
There are many reasons, but these are the five we consider to be the most important ones:
- We are the ONLY treatment facility in South Florida that is owned and operated by a Board Certified Psychiatrist, Dr. Robert A. Moran, who is also certified in Addiction Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine.
- We are the ONLY treatment facility that works with dual-diagnosis patients, although some facilities claim they do this. We treat patients who suffer from only one psychiatric illness such as addiction or other mental disorders, to those who have both addiction and psychiatric illness, and even pregnant women with addiction and/or mental illness. We treat patients that other facilities turn away.
- We are the ONLY treatment facility that offers a program that does not put a time limit on recovery. Not 28, not 30, not 45 days. Your loved one can stay under our care until he/she feels strong and ready to be reunited with the real world.
- We own our Joint Commission Accredited Transitional Living facilities, so patients can continue under our supervision and care once they move-on from 24/7 Residential care.
We are the ONLY treatment center that treats both the patients and their families. It is a well-known fact that families of addicts and/or mentally ill individuals generally suffer from relationship addiction, also called Codependency.
3. Why do I need help, I’m not sick?
In the recent past, your time and energy has been spent trying to control the chaos and picking up your loved one’s pieces, mopping up his/her mess. You lose yourself when your loved one exhausts you. Self-care is put on a back burner. It is time to reclaim your life!
4. What is Codependency? How do I know if I am codependent?
Codependency is defined as a relationship that enables another to maintain their irresponsible addictive or underachieving behaviors. Google defines Codependency as “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on someone who requires support due to an illness or addiction”. Wikipedia says it is “a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement”. Some authors call it “relationship addiction”. Some of our family members define it as “when we focus on our loved one to the detriment of our own well-being, losing ourselves to the illusion that we are helping them. When we feel one way and do something else, unable to say no or create boundaries”.
You know that you are a codependent parent/spouse/child if you answer yes to one or more of the following:
- Do you manipulate your ill loved one into compliance when he/she shows signs of taking his/her own path in life?
- Do you always have to be right?
- Do you impose your own views and correct your loved one instead of engaging in healthy discussions?
- Are you overly emotional? Do you cry, scream, and intimidate to restore the balance in your favor when you feel that you’re losing control of a situation or the upper hand in an argument?
- Do you listen to your loved one? Do you refute your loved one’s irrefutable facts or move onto a different argument?
- Do you have mood swings? Are you yelling and screaming one moment, then exuberant once you get your way? Or sulk to rebuff guilt?
- Do you have to have control at all costs? Is control your end goal?
- Do you believe that what you are doing is in your loved one’s best interest?
You need to retrain your brain to stop these codependent behaviors.
5. How does the Family Center for Recovery help families deal with their codependency?
In the Family Center for Recovery, we not only help our patients with their addiction and/or mental illness, but we also provide help to their families, so they can recover from co-dependency. We do this by developing a support community among family members.
We offer an on-going chat, via the GroupMe messaging app, where families whose loved ones have been with us longer, or may have even graduated from our Center, share their learnings and help the newcomers start their own recovery. We also host a weekly support call, moderated by one of our therapists, where topics of interest are covered and discussed. Last, but not least, every two months we hold a three day Family Weekend, an educational weekend where the doctor & therapists teach families the science behind our program, and show them how our Community group therapy works. Some families like to call this event ‘Family University’.
6. Does the program differ for those who are only struggling with substance use and those who are not?
No, and the reason is simple: substance use is also considered a psychiatric illness, because in both cases the patient’s judgement is impaired in the same way. The addicted brain and the bi-polar brain, to name just one of the known psychiatric illnesses, are both re-wired to go directly into action without analyzing the consequences.
All of our programs are tailored to each patient’s needs. Many people who suffer from addiction also have a primary mental health issue. The Family Center for Recovery acknowledges that both disorders need to be treated at the same time so patients heal completely. Our Medical Director, leading neuropsychiatrist and addictionologist, Dr. Robert A. Moran, diagnoses every patient and places them on the most appropriate treatment plan, which he monitors continuously throughout their stay.
7. If my loved one enters the Family Center for Recovery, how many times per week will he/she see the psychiatrist? What kind of therapy will my loved one receive?
When patients enter our Center, they see Dr. Robert A. Moran every day in what is called Community. This is a group therapy session, where everyone in the Center participates: patients, therapists, medical students, and of course, Dr. Moran. It is used in our treatment center because it has been proven that while in group sessions, patients are more inclined to be open. The other reason why we use Community therapy is because peers keep each other truthful: if someone is not telling the whole story or is manipulating the facts, peers join in and help them out. This interaction allows a more effective discovery of each patient’s situation.
On top of daily Community, patients also receive one-on-one therapy with our Psychologists and participate in scientifically proven behavioral therapies.
8. How will I be involved after my loved one enters FCFR?
Group Therapy is one of the behavioral interventions we use with adolescents. They are designed to provide teenagers with a non-judgmental setting to discuss their substance abuse problems. These meetings give them positive social reinforcement from their peers. It also encourages them to turn their lives away from drug abuse.
Behavioral interventions also include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, which help teens anticipate and cope with substance abuse problems. They learn to monitor and control their feelings, and use their self-control to escape high-risk environments for drug abuse.
Family Therapy Sessions address negative issues in the home environment and equips the family with skills and goals for dealing with drug abuse. Some of the teenager’s behavior and attitudes toward substance abuse can be attributed to the family’s failed behavior in key areas, such as in failing to instill discipline, or for being substance abusers as well. We help the entire family unite and resolve these issues.
Our on-site Medical Doctor evaluates each of our teen patients to assess whether they should entertain the idea of trying addiction treatment medication. Our Doctor includes the parents and gives the family unit the choice to decide. More often than not, drug and alcohol abuse is related to other mental disorders, which is why medication can be such an aid in overcoming drug abuse.
We will help our teen patients in every step after treatment is complete through other recovery support services. We have staff that helps our patients find programs set up in communities or in schools for recovering teenagers, guardians and peer leaders to support one another in overcoming substance abuse problems. We also guide and encourage 12 step meetings, community engagement, volunteer opportunities, and support groups.
9. What is going to be the progression of my loved one?
At the Family Center for Recovery all patients, whether they are an adult, an adolescent or an expectant mother can enter at different phases of the rehabilitation process depending on diagnosis. Briefly, here are the different levels of care:
Detox, if needed, is the most crucial program to the health and safety of our patients suffering from substance abuse disorder. Withdrawing from alcohol, benzodiazepines, opiates, and barbiturates can be fatal if not supervised by professionals. Our Medical Director and Associate Medical Director closely oversee the detoxification process. Our program is designed to keep patients comfortable and safe.
Residential level of care follows, which means 24/7 medical supervision, monitoring and therapy, all necessary for initial recovery.
They then move to our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), where they continue to be fully monitored but start living in our Joint Commission Accredited transitional housing. The objective is to slowly start moving them back into the ‘real’ world.
The final phase of rehabilitation is the Outpatient Program, which has two different levels: Intensive Outpatient (IOP) or plain Outpatient (OP). In both of these, the patients are required to keep a steady job and attend group meetings, 12-step programs, and other recommended therapies. Because they have jobs, the frequency of therapy is gradually reduced to accommodate their work schedule. In IOP, patients live in our Joint Commission Accredited transitional housing. OP patients can continue to live there or move out on their own, if they so desire. Once all this has happened, they graduate and become a responsible, productive member of society.
Each patient will have different speeds of recovery and thus, a different timing to get to each of the levels mentioned, and at FCFR treatments last as long as it takes for your loved one to heal completely.
Unfortunately, Insurance companies have a lot to say about the length of treatment or the duration of stay in each level. But FCFR will always fight for your loved one to receive the treatment they need at any given time.
10. When can we expect to receive a diagnosis for our loved one, and how will this be communicated to us? How will I be involved after my loved one enters the Family Center for Recovery?
When your loved one enters the Family Center for Recovery, the therapeutic team’s most important priority is the patient. They will work together to determine your loved one’s correct diagnosis, stabilize symptoms and start detox, if needed. This may take a few days, but it can also be longer. Each patient is different.
During this time, the treatment team is trying to gain insight and earn the trust of your loved one, while your loved one learns to bring his/her issues, concerns and emotions to the treatment team.
The primary therapist will contact you as soon as possible, most of the time within the first week, to answer questions and provide updates on your loved one’s status. He/she might also contact you to schedule family therapy session, if it is therapeutically appropriate. Family therapy sessions are only given to patients who earn them. Negative behavior from your loved one will not be positively reinforced with a call to his/her family.
If the therapist needs your help to gather information about your loved one to complete his/her medical history, he/she will contact you. If you don’t hear from FCFR it is because they can manage without you or because they are actively working to get your loved better. As Dr. Moran likes to say “the insurance clock is ticking as soon as your loved one enters the Family Center for Recovery; we need to focus on helping him/her”.
Moving forward, communication is on an ‘as needed basis’. While all this is happening in FCFR, the families should be working on getting healthier by attending Al-Anon or other 12-step groups, reading the recommended books, joining FCFR weekly calls and reaching out for support and answers on the Family Support thread on GroupMe.
11. Do all patients work the 12 step program?
Yes, all adolescent and adult patients attend 12 step meetings as a part of their therapy. It is yet another support system that will continue to provide help to your loved one once he/she graduates from FCFR. 12 step groups have been proven to provide guidance while not passing judgment.
As your loved one works his/her 12 step program, the family members are encouraged to also find 12 step groups of their own, to aid in your own recovery from codependency, but also because it will give you a better understanding of what your loved one is doing for him/herself.
12. How do we deal with our loved one’s anxiety building up before intake?
Once your loved one has agreed to come to FCFR, there might be a wait time to do so, for many reasons. Try to maintain the routine tasks and schedules of everyone and keep the incoming patient busy if there is idle time. Exercise is great to release anxiety. Go bowling, swimming, to the movies or the beach, fishing, or biking together. Don’t dismiss your loved one’s fears and feelings. Allow them to communicate these fears and feelings, and be honest and open with him/her. Offer your support in a nonjudgmental way, and remember to keep it positive and healthy.
13. Is there a minimum or maximum time for my loved one to stay in the program?
No. Your loved will progress from one level to another at his/her own pace, and the stay at FCFR can be as short or as long as necessary. As we all know, your loved one’s insurance company also has a say in the amount of time spent in each level, but we will always fight to keep them in the right level for as long as it is needed.