Alcoholism in teenagers is one of the most potentially deadly diseases to treat. Aside from the addiction itself, the fact that the brain is in the peak period of development and growth during adolescence (age 12 through approximately 25) makes treatment extremely complicated. It’s important to arrest teen alcoholism before it gets out of control. Teenagers’ brains are not fully developed, so alcohol abuse among young people can cause permanent damage and stunt physical, mental and emotional growth.
Often, adults and teenagers are treated the same, and statistics show that teenagers who go through ‘standardized’ treatment are prone to return to active addiction. Fortunately, there are treatment centers that specialize in treating teen alcoholism. In the context of treatment, it is important that teenagers continue their studies for school. All programs for teens go to great lengths to not disrupt a normal routine of schooling while undergoing treatment. This goes hand-in-hand with development of sobriety skills. While general treatment protocols are similar to treating adults (groups, cognitive therapy, etc), therapists and counselors are mandated to conform to an elevated level of sensitivity to account for the inherent immaturity, lack of experience and accountability of these young patients.
Teenagers and young adults are decidedly disposed to alcohol dependency and abuse, and the consequences can be more distinct. The principal treatment objective is to facilitate teenagers reverting back to their fit and normal mental and emotional circumstances as soon as possible, since they are more apt to suffer from irreversible developmental disorders and problems as a result of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Teenage alcoholism treatment is more of mental and emotional than a physiological challenge. Clinicians and counselors have to focus on areas such as immaturity, low self-esteem, emotional vulnerability, poor sense of accountability and responsibility, impatience and recklessness.
These developmental challenges amplify the prospect of teenage alcohol abuse and alcoholism. If they are not dealt with during treatment then a relapse back into drinking is the probable result. Therefore, for a teenage alcoholism program to be successful, it must concentrate on and answer these key developmental challenges being faced by teenagers as well as young adults. In fact, these central themes are crucial to the successful treatment of alcoholism in teens.
In terms of finding a proper treatment program for teenage alcoholism, one should consider several factors. Some of these are geographic convenience. In many programs, parents are required to participate a certain number of hours a week, so a facility that is nearby to the home is a very good idea. As well, after a certain number of weeks in treatment, your child may be permitted to spend weekends at home. The program should offer comprehensive education programs suited to your teen’s scholastic level. There should be a rigorous intake evaluation to specifically focus in on your child’s individual needs. For instance, your counselor or family doctor might recommend impatient program, but that isn’t necessarily right for every teenager, and this should be addressed during the intake process.
Adults should relate with your teen on a regular basis and acknowledge diversity. In order for treatment to be successful, your teen must feel accepted and respected by the adults working with them. Regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or religious beliefs, staff should be able to relate to them. Lastly, the facility should provide assistance with aftercare: this is critical in all treatment, but even more so when dealing with teen substance abuse. Once your teen leaves rehab, he needs outpatient treatment in order to stay sober and to adjust to life outside of treatment. If they don’t specifically offer outpatient aftercare they should have solid referrals to neighborhood facilities that work with them on a regular basis.