Teenage Substance Abuse Treatment: “Investing in The Future Through Sobriety”

There are as many variations in treating teen drug abuse as there are drugs themselves. The treatment of adolescents entails looking at the addiction from several different sides at once, from the substance itself, to the family environment, peer groups, school completion and environment to past family history. All of these factors need to be weighed and considered, as the outcome of treatment often hinges on one over another; and often all of them at once.

Teenagers are in such as state of emotional, mental and psychological growth between adolescence and age 20 that positioned against the effects of drugs, a myriad of things can go wrong, and often do. Adults operate in a different way than teenagers do; their brains are fully developed, and they’ve had continuing life experience, and greater opportunity to work and develop relationships and functioning out in the real world, during which time they continued their experimenting with drugs.

Teens need treatment that accommodates their restricted experience as well as their perception on life and the issues that they deal with on a daily basis. They also require a medical and therapeutic team qualified to understand the workings of the teenage brain and the chemical transformations that take place when a teenager takes drugs.
There are several evidence-based treatments that are implemented with varying degrees of focus; nearly all of them are attempted, and its unsure going into treatment which aspect will be most effective. Some of these behavioral approaches are:

Group Therapy for Adolescents: Adolescents can participate in group therapy and further peer support programs during and subsequent to treatment to help them realize abstinence. When led by well-trained clinicians following well- authenticated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy protocols, groups can present positive social reinforcement through peer dialogue and help enforce motivation to stay off drugs and living a drug-free lifestyle. It must be observed that adolescent group therapy can have unfavorable side effects, such as when group members steer the conversation toward talk that venerates drug use, thereby deflating recovery goals. Trained counselors need to be aware of that prospect, and direct group activity to a positive direction.

Cognative-Behaviorial Therapy: CBT strategies are based on the presumption that learning processes play a significant role in the development of problem behaviors such as drug abuse. A central element of CBT is training participants on how to anticipate problems and help them develop coping skills. In CBT, adolescents discover the positive and negative aspects of drug use. They learn to monitor their mind-set and thoughts and recognize hazy thinking patterns and cues that trigger their substance abuse; identify and foresee high-risk situations, and apply an array of self-control expertise, including emotional regulation and anger management, realistic problem solving and substance refusal. CBT may be offered in both inpatient and outpatient locations, in either group or individual settings, and even in residential settings.

Family-Based Approaches: Family-based approaches to treating adolescent substance abuse highlight the need to engage in the family; with parents, siblings, and at times peers in the adolescent’s treatment. Involving the family can be acutely important, as the adolescent will regularly be living with at least one parent and be subject to the parent’s controls, rules and/or reinforcement. Family-based approaches usually address a wide variety of problems in addition to the young person’s substance abuse issues, including family communication and discord; other co-occurring behavioral, mental health, learning disorders; troubles with school or work attendance and peer systems. Research shows that family-based treatments are decidedly effective; some studies even propose that they are even superior to further individual and group approaches. Normally offered in outpatient settings, family therapies have also been tested effectively in higher-intensity settings such as residential and intensive outpatient programs.

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