adolescent detox

  1. Hello...not looking for medical advice but looking for some general answers.

    Here's a long story made short: My 17 yr old son has been abusing percocets/oxycodone/benzo's. He likes to grind them up and snort them. I had my head in the sand and didn't realize how bad things were (new job in an ICU) until the other night. Today we took him to an inpatient detox/rehab facility. So, my question is...what is adolescent detox and rehab like? Is it physically painful? What would do you tell parents? The nurse said they'd give him a few meds to make him comfortable and it may take 3-5 days, but that's all I heard. It's true, when you're in crisis mode, you hear and retain very little. Again, I'm not looking for dx or medical advice, just what my son may be experiencing in detox. Thanks in advance.
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    About Nurse1966

    Joined: May '06; Posts: 97; Likes: 143


  3. by   BoogiePop
    The patient detox process varies depending on how long has the patient's been abusing from the substance and the quantity. From what I seen, in teenagers or adult patient that go on detox for benzodeazepines, is that they have a hard time falling asleep. Some of them become very anxious, thus making them moody and in some cases agresive if the anxiety is too much. In the end, I think it depends on how do your son manages or copes with stress or difficult moments.

    A usual day for a patient in Detox, where I work is assisting to therapies with Mental Health Technichians, Counseling from their appointed social workers, and a controlled dose of medication from the psychiatrist which he chooses depending on the grade of addiction.
    Usually they are busy the whole day.

    In my hospital, (and I suppose in the majority of other hospitals) we only use restraints as a last resource and only after all attemps of talking have failed. Also the patient safety, or the safety of those in the unit must be in jeopardy in order for restraints to be used during crisis moments.
  4. by   Thunderwolf
    First, let me say that this is no easy thing for a parent. You did the right thing to take him in to be evaluated and subsequently to be treated. So, kudos to you. It is also easy to miss things right under our noses at home when things distract you on the outside...but upon discovering this, did the right thing. Substance treatment often has both an inpatient component (detox) and an outpatient component (counseling, which is often done in group). As his being an adolescent, family therapy may also be recommended...because things often do not occur in a vaccuum. The inpatient component or detox length of stay depends upon the person and how minimal or severe withdrawal symptoms may present. Each person is different. Due to the nature of substances you mention, he most likely will be monitored for both benzo and opiate withdrawal symptoms and treated appropriately. He is in good hands and is in the right place to be monitored for this. Opiate withdrawal is rarely ever fatal but is usually more uncomfortable than benzo withdrawal. Benzo withdrawal can be more harmful (even fatal) however, which requires close ongoing monitoring by trained professionals. Regardless of which type of withdrawal he may present, they will have the appropriate medications to intervene with to prevent any complications and to assist in his level of assured. Detox from substances should never be tried at home. So, bringing him in was the best thing right off the bat. However, looking at the big picture, detox is the easy part. The harder part is outpatient...he needs to keep going to groups and to not minimize the use for it. Denial and minimizing are one big factor for relapse. Do not fall for it. As a parent, you will need to be strong and you may need to become more knowledgeable regarding triggers and causes of relapse....that means education on your part to better assist him. As a teen, his peers may be a big part of his using. Some structure and expectations/ground rules may need to be set in place by you as well that are not negotiable by him. He is the child and he uses...he has to regain your trust and demonstrate this....not by words, but by his actions. The proof is in the pudding, sort of speak. Again, detox is easy in the scope of things....staying clean, especially as a teenager, presents more of the challenge. He may also be recommended to start attending AA or NA meetings....along with his other groups and may be recommended to follow with this after his regular groups. They may also recommend Alanon for the family in order for you and significant others to learn more about "addiction in a family member" and "how to handle it" via education and support. I suggest heeding their advice if they do recommend this. His using will not just stop overnight. It began as a process....and it will end in a process....a process that entails work and vigilance on his and your part. Honesty is paramount in all of this.

    I am glad you are not seeking medical advice, for asking for such would close this thread down fast. However, seeking some comfort in coming to know what to expect as a parent and to obtain some support is something to be honored and commended. Because, believe it or not, there are many families out there that do not or will not take the extra step for their teen. I am glad to see that your son will not be one of those tragedies.

    I am sorry to hear that things are what they are currently in your home.
    And I certainly wish the best for your son, for you, and for the rest of your family concerning this. Again, without asking for medical advice, please keep us posted in his progress.

    With much sincerity,

    Last edit by Thunderwolf on Oct 25, '07
  5. by   Nurse1966
    Thank you both so much...I've always been careful to not say "my child will never..." but this has hit me like a ton of bricks. He's such an awesome kid and it hurts to know he'll struggle with addiction for the rest of his life. I pray that because he's young he'll learn quicker (kind of like how kids learn a second language quicker than us adults) and so I'm holding out hope for that. He called tonight and said he hurts and has a headache but is otherwise fine. Tomorrow starts "family education" and I'm anxious for it to start and dreading it all at the same time. Ignorance is bliss. Anyhow, thanks for the advice and support. If anyone has a crystal ball...I'd love to know who wins the World Series and what happens to my boy!!
  6. by   Yosemite, RN
    My hopes and prayers are with you and your family.
  7. by   LadyTiger44
    I am a new user so I am just now reading this thread. I hope your son is doing great. And just like said before you did do the right thing by taking him. I have grown up the daughter of a drug addicted father whose addiction started out in his teenage years. He has unfortunately never been able to overcome his addiction, so he has never really been a big part in my life. Going through nursing school, and my psych rotation, has helped me forgive and realize that it is a disease and addiction, not the person. His parents were the kind of parents, for whatever reason, that did not get him help. To this day I still do not understand that, and it is still hard for me to not be angry with them for that, especially since they have never been close to my sister and I either. My hopes and prayers are with you and your son because it is a lifetime struggle that he will deal with every day of his life; but with lots of love and support he will be able to over come it! You gave him a wonderful chance! I wish you all the best of luck!