If you are a parent whose teenager is struggling with addiction it can be extremely draining. Trying to establish a healthy dialogue while attempting to guide your child to the help they need can be another full-time job, in addition to parenting. However, if your teenager also has anger issues that go along with addiction a new set of problems arise. Not only do you have to try and handle the substance abuse, you may be fearful of what your teenager may do with such interventions.
It is important to note that addiction is a symptom of something deeper that is the underlying cause of addictive behavior. Anger is one of those underlying causes and anger is a symptom of a deeper problem or issue. In terms of addiction and anger in your teenager, it is absolutely critical to understand how anger works, how it ties into addiction, and ultimately, guiding them to the help they need.
What is Anger?
It is important to understand that anger is a normal emotion that can be expressed in healthy ways. When expressed in a healthy way, anger can help to alert us when our boundaries have been crossed. But, if anger is unresolved it can cause physical sickness and depression, in which teenagers will use drugs and alcohol to mask. While it can be an important emotion to express, anger is intense because of the combination of feelings can become overwhelming.
How Anger and Addiction are Intertwined
Anger can manifest itself in several ways. For example, teens can be overly aggressive and use physical means such as hitting, kicking, or punching. They may also try to avoid the source of their anger and frustration and may detach themselves from anger to the point where they are unable to cope, resulting in substance abuse. Teens who have anger and addiction issues may also seek some form of revenge as a coping mechanism.
Treating Your Teen’s Anger and Addiction
Since anger and addiction can be closely intertwined, it is important to find a treatment center that has the capability to address both issues at once— in a comprehensive fashion. Firstly, the treatment center that you choose should be one that can address the unique needs of teenagers and young adults. The ideal treatment situation for teens with these issues may include the following:
- Individual therapy to help them understand and process anger
- Anger management groups
- If needed, use of medications to help control conditions such as bipolar disorder or depression
- Other types of therapy such as relaxation techniques and recreation
What is learned in treatment can help teenagers deal with their anger in a healthy and constructive manner. However, anger is a primal emotion and can be a relapse trigger. Unresolved anger issues can lead to headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, and respiratory disorders. After treatment, it is important that teens engage in continued therapy and counseling and seek out support groups.