Adolescence is a time when teens question almost everything, including the rules, their place within the family and the role they should play in society. They try on personalities and take risks, trying to piece together the life they’d like to lead as adults. For many teens, this risk-taking involves the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol. While some teens quickly leave this experimentation behind, others do develop serious addictions at the end of their experimentation phase.
Teen addiction can be terrifying, and it is a serious problem, but addiction can be successfully treated. In a formal program for addiction, teens can pick up the skills they’ll need to avoid the temptation of drugs and alcohol, and they’ll receive medical care that can help to reverse the physical changes the addiction has caused.
Addiction in Teens
It’s an alarming statistic, as teens are choosing the exactly wrong time to experiment with drugs and alcohol. The adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to addiction, as drugs are more pleasurable and powerful in a developing brain, and this vulnerable brain is more likely to sustain permanent damage due to drug use and abuse.
While many parents discover their teen’s drug abuse and encourage the child to get help, there are many teens who know that they have addiction issues. For example, a study in the Journal of Substance Abuse found that 36 percent of high school students in a California school knew they were at risk for a drug or alcohol addiction. Perhaps they’d felt their lives were spinning out of control due to their substance abuse. Or, perhaps they had attempted to stop using drugs and/or alcohol on their own, and found they could not stop.
Programs might include components such as:
- Individual counseling
- Family counseling
- Support groups
- Medication management, during detoxification and perhaps beyond
- Educational support
There is no single way to treat addiction in teens. Each teen is slightly different, and therapy must be customized to meet the needs of that teen at that point in the teen’s life.
Some programs provide this care in an inpatient setting, asking the teen to live within the walls of the facility while treatment moves forward. Other programs use an outpatient format, allowing the teen to live at home while therapy is provided. Some programs last for weeks or months, while others last for an even longer period of time. The options and approaches truly are endless, allowing experts to build a customized program that can reach the teen and provide meaningful help to address the addiction in just the right way.