If you’re the parent or another loved one of a teen or young adult who is struggling with addiction, you may feel frustrated about where to turn for help. You may not realize that different treatment facilities operate differently and that means your loved one isn’t going to get the same level of treatment at any facility. While any facility is equipped to treat those addicted to drugs and alcohol, some facilities offer customized treatments specifically aimed at addressing addiction in young adults. There are many treatment centers in most communities that offer rehab programs specifically designed to help teens and young adults.
While the effects of alcohol and drugs may be the same, the causes of the addiction are usually vastly different among younger age groups. By offering therapy and other treatments that target those specific triggers, addiction recovery has a higher probability of sustained success. Additionally, there’s less emphasis on treating withdrawal symptoms, since teens and young adults aren’t as susceptible to them. Even their cravings for the drug or alcohol are less severe than those experienced by older recovering addicts. This allows caregivers to spend more time on the therapies that are needed to address substance abuse and the causes of addiction.
Co-Occurring Conditions Are More Common in Young Adults
When an individual is struggling with an addiction and simultaneously trying to cope with a mental disorder, this is called a dual diagnosis or a co-occurring condition. While anyone can suffer from a co-occurring condition, it’s much more prevalent in teens and young adults. For this reason, teen and young adult rehab programs emphasize behavioral therapy as a part of their overall treatment. This kind of therapy is incorporated into a peer group and family meetings as well as in one on one counseling sessions. Therapy of this type addresses the mental disorders that caused the individual to begin using drugs or alcohol. Caregivers use a range of different therapy techniques to help recovering addicts recognize and cope with the depressive episodes, anxiety attacks, and other emotional problems that led them to use drugs or alcohol in the first place.
Some therapies used in this way include:
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MTE)
- Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Youth Addiction Recovery Places Greater Emphasis on Family
In all types of addiction treatment, social support is encouraged. In adult treatment facilities, family is restricted from visiting the recovering addict throughout the first part of the recovery process. This means the recovering addicts must rely on one another for peer support. Since many younger recovering addicts are minors or still living at home, treatment programs seek to get parents and other family members involved at a much earlier phase. In fact, young adult treatment programs include a range of family-based therapies.
These may include:
- Family Behavioral Therapy
- Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT)
- Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)
The goal in family-based therapy sessions is to address issues that led to the young adult’s substance abuse. In addition to co-occurring mental illness, this might include peer pressure and socialization problems. Therapy sessions may address attendance problems in school or behavioral issues that resulted in the loss of a job. Counseling with family members will also address conflicts that arose from the individual’s addiction. This will be a time for the recovering addict to communicate with family members to mend strained relationships.
Even after teens and young adults have successfully graduated from a rehab treatment program, they must be encouraged to continue pursuing a clean lifestyle. This often includes attending peer group support meetings in the community and, like rehab programs, there are support groups that are open to teens and young adults only. This provides them a forum where they can talk openly and gain support and insight that will help them resist a relapse. The recovering addict may also be encouraged to continue family-based therapy.
This is a good opportunity for parents and siblings to stay involved with the individual’s recovery. It also provides a safe place to discuss any issues that may arise between family members before problems escalate and cause a relapse. If the teen or young adult in your family is struggling with addiction, contact one of our counselors at 770-299-1677. We’re available 24 hours a day to discuss the available treatment options that will help your loved one recover. While recovery will be challenging, getting started immediately can help your loved one return to a healthier and happier way of life.