Teen Rehab Options
While teen drug and substance abuse is a growing problem the world over, it presents special difficulties for rehabilitation and detox. The age of teen substance abusers makes the process harder, not just because of their maturity and psychological development, but also because their bodies haven’t finished developing completely.
Physical Development and Addiction
A problem that cigarette manufacturers had for most of the 1900s was the age limit on smoking. Once a person’s body had fully matured, and they were 18 years or older, the chances of getting that person hooked on nicotine decreased significantly. So, going around the law, the tobacco companies tried to figure out ways to get young people to smoke, knowing that if they put tobacco into younger, still developing bodies that there was a higher chance their new “customers” would remain life long smokers.
This problem holds true with all kinds of different substances. Whether it’s cocaine or methamphetamine, caffeine or peyote, teens are more prone to addiction due to unsettled body chemistry. And while a changing body that is still developing that can lead to all sorts of problems in the short term as well as the long term when it comes to detox solutions.
Psychological Development and Maturity
Decreased capacity for long term decision making and ability to adhere to decisions plagues teens of all sorts, not just teens that have substance abuse problems. However, when a teen’s substance abuse problems have reached the point where rehabilitation is necessary these characteristics can lead to problems with treatment. Lack of commitment for a short term thrill and peer acceptance, as well as difficulty paying attention to lectures and therapy sessions, can all have severe negative impacts on teens trying to get clean.
What Choices Are There?
Rehab programs that specialize in working with young people should be the first port of call when giving teens options for getting off of substances. These medical centers and the personnel that staff them are practiced in working with young adults, and they are familiar with the special issues they present. That kind of working knowledge can sometimes be all that stands between a program having a meaningful impact, and sliding right off of a teen.
Outpatient rehab centers are a good option for teens who need to get a handle on their problems, but who still need to attend school. They show up to the center for therapy and rehabilitation sessions, and then afterward the teens can go home for school, work and any other activities they have in their lives.
Inpatient rehabilitation centers, on the other hand, are for teens that have more severe addiction problems and who need more concentrated help. These centers are for those that need medical care to detox their bodies (a necessity for more dangerous and more addictive substances), and who need to go through a program to prepare themselves for life back in the real world. Short term and long term (called residential), inpatient care can take months to finally complete.
There is no silver bullet for substance abuse, and that is just as true for young people as it is for adults. That’s why it’s important for as many different treatment options to be available as possible. Medical treatment involving drugs and detox, psychological counseling in both one on one and group settings, as well as faith based solutions have all been shown to have positive effects on different patients. The treatment facility simply has to find the right combination that works for each individual patient.
There’s also no guarantee that treatment will work the first time through. Many clients will relapse several times before they finally get clean, and that can be discouraging both for the treatment providers and for the clients. If one treatment option isn’t as effective, then the individuals involved simply need to try a different approach, or a combination of different approaches.
The Power of Peers
One approach for teens to improve their standing is to work together. Many programs will work with older “young adult” counselors that are closer to the age range of the participants. Sometimes graduates of the program come back to lead discussions or to offer insight they gained from what came after. Statements made by other young people that are going through the same things, that truly understand the stresses and pressures of the teenage years, carry more weight with others that are going through the same situations. Often times that can be the most effective therapy.