Adolescents are developmentally different from adults, and when teens becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, they need a research-based treatment program that’s centered on their level of development and which focuses on education, behaviors, family dynamics and peer issues.
The objectives of treatment for teenagers should differ considerably from those of adult treatment, according to treatment guidelines developed through funding from the State of Wisconsin and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Compared to adults, teenagers typically:
- Have a shorter history of substance abuse.
- Experience fewer consequences of their addiction.
- Engage in more episodic use of drugs and alcohol and use a greater variety of substances.
- Have a higher prevalence of co-occurring mental health problems.
- Have a greater chance of “outgrowing” drug abuse.
- Have different motivations for wanting to change the course of their lives.
Research shows that when the objectives of treatment for adolescents reflect the outcomes there is a reduction in drug and alcohol addiction and an increase in abstinence rates as well as fewer mental health problems, better school attendance and performance, and better social and family relationships.
Adolescents and Self-Esteem
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, low self-esteem is a major factor in substance abuse among teens. Adolescent treatment programs focus heavily on issues related to self-perception and self-esteem in an effort to improve both and to build the self-confidence and self-efficacy that make attempts to abstain from drugs and alcohol more successful.
Through group, family and individual counseling, teens explore the various issues underlying low self-esteem. They learn to evaluate their attitudes and beliefs about themselves and replace harmful self-attitudes with those that are healthier and more accurate.
Relapse Prevention for Adolescents
Relapse prevention programming starts in treatment and continues through aftercare, which is critical for helping to ensure ongoing recovery after treatment, according to research cited in a study published by the National Institutes of Health . Relapse prevention includes an educational component that helps teens understand the mechanics of relapse as well as a therapy component that helps teens learn to identify and confront their self-destructive attitudes, beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy ways of thinking and behaving.
Because relapse prevention is so critical for successful recovery, adolescent treatment objectives should include strengthening the family unit through family therapy. A separate educational component for parents is also crucial for helping them understand how to best support their child’s recovery in a healthy way through setting limits and discarding any last vestiges of denial or enabling behaviors.
The aftercare plan that’s individualized and set in place after treatment will include ongoing individual, group and family therapy to build on the momentum gained in treatment. The plan will also include participation in a teen-based peer support program, which promotes a high level of personal responsibility and accountability and provides the opportunity to develop healthy relationships with other non-users–another important factor for preventing relapse.
Through a research-based, holistic recovery program geared specifically toward adolescents, your teen will gain the essential skills and strategies needed for successful, long-term recovery from a substance abuse disorder while improving familial relationships and developing better psycho-social skills that will help improve his or her quality of life and outlook for the future.
Contact us at 877-466-0620 to learn more about our treatment options for adolescent addiction.