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The Essentials of Teen Treatment

teen drug and alcohol treatment

An adolescent brain isn’t the same as an adult brain. For starters, according to research conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, the adolescent brain is inherently vulnerable to risk-taking activities. That’s because the parts of the brain that control behavior is still growing and changing during the teen years. That inherent need to take risks can make teens slightly more prone to experiment with drugs, and it can also make these teens a little less likely to respond to treatment programs designed for adults. That’s why it’s vital for teens to enroll in treatment programs that are made just for them.

Teen Addiction Programs

Any addiction treatment program will provide therapies that are designed to help combat a return to drug use. Therapy sessions tend to explain the mechanics of addiction, along with the risks recurrent drug use bring, and therapists hope to help their clients build up skills they can use to resist a return to drugs, even when these people are tempted to do so.

Beyond skill-building for sobriety, it’s vital for teen drug rehab centers and teen drug programs to focus on providing care for the entire teen, mind and body. Rather than focusing exclusively on a drug use problem, a comprehensive adolescent program can provide therapies for:

  • Physical issues, including HIV infection or hepatitis
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders, including depression or suicidal tendencies
  • Poor socialization skills, which might manifest as anger or defiance
  • Educational gaps, which leave teens vulnerable to poverty as adults
  • Family trauma
  • Homelessness or malnutrition

To address these issues fully, programs for teens might include counselors, social workers, nurses, teachers, coaches, therapists, and more. The care might touch on each aspect of a teen’s life, in an attempt to find the roots of the drug use problem, so the teen can embrace a fulfilled life without the need for drug use.

The teen’s family is also integral in helping the teen live a life without drug use. While teens might claim that they have nothing in common with family members or that they don’t need help in order to heal, they often lean on their families and rely on them in ways that they may not understand. Families also have a long history with the teens in trouble, and they might provide a backstory that makes therapy all the more effective. Including families in therapy and treatment can be vital to the teen’s recovery.

Length of Treatment Programs

Intensive addiction treatment programs for adults are often measured in terms of weeks. Adults with addiction might build on their successes for years by attending support group meetings and follow-up counseling sessions, but they might be through with daily addiction care in a short period of time.

In 1990, when the need for adolescent addiction care was first widely recognized, an article in Addiction Medicine suggested that teens needed a longer time in which to heal. Since they struggle with impulse control due to their developing minds, they need added help in resisting the call to return to drugs.

Experts suggest that teens often need extended intensive therapies for addiction, and they often need regular follow-up care for equally long periods. Providing care over an extended period like this allows teens to build up their skills in a supportive environment before they return to life outside rehabilitation.

Finding a Teen Addiction Treatment Program

According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), 90 percent of Americans who meet the diagnostic criteria for addiction started misusing drugs prior to age 18. Clearly, drug use early in life is dangerous, but it doesn’t have to be catastrophic. With the right kind of program, even teens with a history of drug use can grow and heal.

Finding the right program for teen drug addiction doesn’t have to be difficult. Advanced Recovery Systems runs a nationwide network of facilities dedicated to helping people heal from the disease of addiction, and some of these programs are designed for teens. We have a team of operators standing by who can answer your questions and help you identify programs in your area. Calling is toll-free, completely confidential and obligation-free. Reach out today to learn more about teen addiction treatment programs in your area.