It may be years before experimental treatments and prescription medications are available to all mothers, fathers and friends struggling with an addiction. For now, Dr. Michael Dennis, a psychologist who specializes in teen addiction at the Lighthouse Institute in Bloomington, Illinois, says the sooner you intervene, the better.
Although there isn't one answer or solution for every addict, Dr. Dennis says 90 percent of the people who become dependent on a drug started using when they were under 18. Fifty percent of addicts began using drugs when they were 15 years old…or younger.
If someone you love suffers a relapse, Dr. Dennis says his or her chances of recovery increase the sooner you reintervene.
Even if someone has completed a rehabilitation program, triggers in the outside world can cause a relapse. "Rehab is just a tool," Rick says. "The doors open up and you walk out. If you're just holding a tool, and no one's out there to help you support it, you're going to fall right off the wagon."