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This week I’d like to explain how our family received the message that my stepdaughter Katherine was ready to receive treatment — and the process we went through to find a treatment center that worked for all of us.

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Though it is important not to rush into labeling a difficult teenager, not to rush into medication as the answer, parents are wise to become informed about symptoms and seek counsel with highly qualified professionals who can keep an eye on what’s going on, especially if there is some family history of depression or manic behavior.

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My stepdaughter Katherine was living on the streets with her “meth family.” We were in a panic, wondering where she was, where she was sleeping, if she was eating, if she was alive — or if we were about to receive the dreaded call every parent fears.

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When you suspect your child is in trouble, one of the most difficult challenges is figuring out how to approach him or her. Beyond dealing with their particular substance abuse, the big question is how to get them engaged and encouraged to accept treatment.

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Sadly, they’re never going to be like other teenagers. They can’t have just one beer. The extra pocket money probably won’t go for snacks. They can’t hang with a party crowd and stay straight. Even when in recovery, the addiction shadow will always stalk them. And you.

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He last used thirty minutes ago. Morphine. He prefers not to mention his pharmaceutical source. He’s been using since maybe he was thirteen: LSD, marijuana. Lots of LSD. Heroin? Off and on since he was in his late twenties. He’s dual diagnosis. Bipolar disorder. Onset probably about thirteen.

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There must be times when you think of yourself first because if you lose your mind, you’re no good to anyone.

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When do you know when a loved one is suffering from an addiction? Is it when you notice their growing distance? After too many of

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