If your adolescent or teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, your natural instinct might be to get them into the first rehab clinic you can find, but that may not be what’s best for them. Teens need treatment programs that recognize the unique challenges adolescents pose because of their age, size, level of development, ever-changing body chemistry, and social differences. Moreover, teen addiction treatment centers should have plans in place to deal with these issues.
Brains that aren’t as fully developed
Teens may think that they understand how the world works and believe that they’re mature enough to make their own decisions, but many aren’t able to clearly see the consequences their substance abuse may have on their lives and health. Moreover, their still-developing brains can put them at greater risk for relapse and prevent them from achieving a healthy emotional balance as they use their substance of choice as a crutch to get through uncomfortable situations. For this reason, it’s especially important that teen programs have excellent continuing care for at least 90 days after the official treatment has ended.Read more: Teen and Adolescent Rehab
Issues related to academic performance
Adult substance abusers may have to worry about losing their current job, but those in teen addiction treatment facilities are likely making choices that are impacting their ability to do well in school. That means that many might not be able to go on to college, and some may not even graduate high school. Those are situations that can trap a person in low-skill, low-wage jobs for the rest of his or her life, so it’s important that teen clinics address academic issues as part of the treatment. A number of teen addiction treatment programs focus on prevention and early detection for this reason, with some aspects of the program even being available in schools themselves.
A need for family support
While support from family and friends is a major positive for all addicts, it’s especially important for teens for a couple of reasons. First, the simple fact that teenagers are still growing and developing means that they have a strong need for support and role models to encourage good, healthy behavior on a regular basis, as well as to set boundaries that prevent them from making foolish mistakes and putting themselves into situations where they will be tempted. Because of this, many teen-oriented programs focus on teaching parents better parenting skills and frequently visit and work with the family. Second, while adults may or may not be an active part of a larger family, teens almost always are. This means that families are an important resource to use and that their lack of support can be devastating to teens.
Very few adolescents voluntarily check themselves into teen addiction treatment. In fact, most teens don’t even believe that they have a problem at all. They’re just young and having fun, and anyone who tells them differently is raining on their parade. Because of this, facilities that cater to teen addicts need to be ready to put up with a lot of resistance to treatment and work hard to educate teens and break down their defensive barriers. Urine testing has been found to be very effective in catching teen addicts who attempt to continue using because it shows them that they can’t just get away with it.
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