Drug Rehab Programs for Young Adults and Teens

Do I need a drug rehab program designed for teens and young adults?

Teens and young adults have different treatment requirements than more mature substance abusers. In addition to issues involving addiction and withdrawal, young people may need help with education, accompanying mental health conditions, family life, and more.

The Monitoring the Future survey that studies drug and alcohol use among high school age students reported: “in drug use of teens and young adults in college2014, approximately 20.3% of 8th graders had abused an illegal drug in their lifetime, while 37.4% of 10th graders had and 49.1% of 12th-grade students reported lifetime drug abuse.” More precisely, The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports “70% of teens have tried alcohol by their senior year in high school, 50% have abused an illegal drug, 40% have smoked cigarettes, and 20% have used prescription drugs for recreational, or for nonmedical purposes.”

Drug and alcohol experimentation is not unusual in adolescents and young adults. Since the prefrontal cortex and other areas of the brain responsible for impulse control, willpower, and healthy decision-making are not fully developed, risk-taking behavior often happens during this stage of life. Drug or alcohol use before the brain is completely formed can increase the odds of addiction.

“70% of teens have tried alcohol by their senior year in high school, 50% have abused an illegal drug, 40% have smoked cigarettes, and 20% have used prescription drugs for recreational, or for nonmedical purposes.” National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Evidence-based Treatment Methods

Drug rehab programs that have been scientifically tested and documented to have shown that they are successful are often called research-based treatments. Because of the still undeveloped adolescent and young adult brain, many of the rehab programs that succeed for adults have to be modified for the younger people.

A CBS News report stated that “the developmental level, drug or drugs abused, potential risk factors or causes of drug abuse, gender, motivation for change, and co-occurring mental health disorders may all affect treatment methods.

Two-thirds of young substance abusers may also battle mental health issues like depression, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or other disorders.”

This combination of factors calls for a holistic approach to treatment, all aspects of the young adult’s needs must be addressed to build a foundation for a drug- and alcohol-free life.

The Demographics of Drug Use

The National Institute on Drug Abuse classifies the following drugs in order of abuse:

Adolescents and teenagers 12-17:

1. Marijuana

2. Alcohol

3. Prescription drugs

4. Hallucinogenic drugs

5. Cocaine

6. Inhalants

7. Heroin

Young adults 18-25:

1. Prescription drugs

2. Alcohol

3. Marijuana

4. Cocaine

5. Heroin

6. Hallucinogenic drugs

7. Inhalants

Adults aged 26 and older:

1. Alcohol

2. Prescription drugs

3. Cocaine

4. Marijuana

5. Heroin

6. Hallucinogenic drugs

7. Inhalants

On a more promising note, NIDA also reports that “teenagers may be less likely to suffer from withdrawal symptoms, extreme cravings, and a loss of control over their drug abuse than older individuals.”

What is the Focus of Teen Treatment Centers?

Drug rehab programs for teens are designed to treat more than just addiction; they also address related needs the client may be dealing with. Substance abuse affects most aspects of a user’s life, including executive function and behaviors. Teen rehabilitation treatment is designed to address the effects of substance abuse. Per the National Institute on Drug Abuse, studies conducted since the 1970s have shown that treatment is effective in stopping drug use in users. These studies have also demonstrated that treatment prevents relapse and enables users to resume sober lifestyles after completing treatment.

The primary focus of treatment in a teen rehab facility will be individual therapy. Through therapy, the addict will learn the skills needed to stay sober. Therapists use various approaches to help the addict overcome his or her addiction and learn the skills necessary for long-term success. The methods used in teen rehab programs may include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Contingency Management
  • Family Counseling
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)

Contingency management rewards teens in recovery who are making progress towards their goals. Rewards may be in the form of a voucher program in a teen rehab program. Vouchers are earned by following the program, and can be exchanged for retail items. Another method is the level program. In this approach, levels have privileges attached to them. As the individual makes progress, he or she moves up to the next level as a reward. Contingency management also has punishments, with a patient losing privileges for not sticking to the program.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help teens and young adults address problematic beliefs, thought patterns and attitudes. They learn how emotions, thoughts and behaviors intersect and how to self-regulate these processes. Research shows that CBT is a highly effective addiction therapy for the treatment of mental health issues and addictive disorders in teen rehab programs.

Family addiction therapy and family support programs are often indicated so that family members can understand what their loved one is dealing with, develop a greater understanding of the treatment process, and learn how they can support the person they love during and after treatment is complete.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) is a directive, person-centered approach to therapy that focuses on improving an individual’s motivation to change. It helps teens and young adults resolve the usual ambivalence about engaging in treatment and stopping their drug use. This addiction therapy approach in drug rehab aims to evoke rapid and internally motivated change, rather than guide the patient stepwise through the recovery process.

Finding Drug and Alcohol Rehab for a Teen or Young Adult

If you need help finding addiction treatment and drug rehab programs for a teen or young adult, contact us today. Our team is equipped to facilitate assessment, treatment planning, and clinical recommendations. Call us at 203-293-1723 to get the process started.

Call us at: 1-203-293-1723

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