An Overview of Teen Drug Addiction Treatment
Experimenting with drug use is often related to the period of adolescence. Parents and caregivers play a key role in the prevention and treatment of teen drug abuse. It is essential that they are informed about all the important aspects of this issue, so they can prevent it, identify it, and treat it where necessary.
What Are the Causes of Teen Drug Addiction?
There are a number of possible reasons why teens take drugs1. Many do so in order to be accepted in social circles that include drug users among their peers. Others use drugs because they want to experiment or experience an feeling of pleasure that the consumption of drugs creates.
There are also those who seek relief from depression, social anxiety, or stress-related disorders, and those who are looking for ways to improve their performance in an increasingly competitive society.
Sometimes, parents’ drug addiction may result in a situation when children also become drug users later in life. Awareness of these issues is vital because an effective teen drug addiction treatment addresses these causes in order to help a teen overcome the addiction problem.
What Problems Can Teen Substance Abuse Cause?
Evidenced consequences of long-term substance abuse include the following2:
- Severe health issues such as lung or heart disease, stroke, cancer, and mental health conditions.
- Some drugs, inhalants in particular, may damage or destroy nerve cells, either in the brain or the peripheral nervous system.
- The use of opioids is extremely dangerous because it can lead to overdose and death.
- In some cases, lethal outcomes are not caused by the substance itself but another event that occurs when drugs are consumed, such as a car accident or an infection (1 in 10 registered HIV infections come from drug abuse and hepatitis C also spreads through sharing of needles and other drug equipment).3
It is therefore vital that teen drug addiction treatment starts as soon as possible. In addition to health consequences, drug abuse usually has severe effects on relationships with friends and family, as well as learning and career paths.
What Are the Five Warning Signs of Teen Substance Abuse?
The most prominent signs that indicate that an adolescent may be using substances are:4
- Frequent mood swings.
- Changes in appetite and sleep patterns.
- Changes in physical appearance.
- Lack of interest in hobbies or friendships.
- Health symptoms such as blood-shot eyes, a frequent and unexplained bloody nose, odd smells, tremors, seizures or shakes, lack of coordination.
Teen addiction treatment should take place as soon as milder symptoms are spotted, before the teen’s health has been more severely damaged.
How Does Teen Addiction Treatment Work?
Each patient is an individual with a very specific situation in terms of the nature of their addiction. Appropriate treatment depends on the case and is prescribed by experts after a very careful examination. Teen substance abuse treatment may involve residential treatment, partial hospitalization, outpatient treatment, counseling and therapy for families, or various forms of support for the families of individuals struggling with addiction.
For most individuals affected by substance abuse, treatment begins with a period of detoxification (detox),the purpose of which is to clear the intoxicating substances from the body.
The period of intensive detox is followed by rehabilitation (rehab), in which the emphasis shifts from chemical treatment to psychological and emotional treatment. During this phase, teen addiction treatment may address the causes of addiction through services such as group therapy, individual talk therapy, family counseling, and recreational therapy.5
Unsure where to start? Take Our Substance Abuse Self-Assessment
Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. This evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are designed to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result. Please be aware that this evaluation is not a substitute for advice from a medical doctor.
What Services Exist for Teen Substance Abuse
Typically, some of the teen substance abuse treatment options include the following:
- The teens who can benefit from the stability and security of 24-hour monitoring are good candidates for residential/inpatient treatment.
- Partial hospitalization combines the structure and supervision of an inpatient program with a higher degree of independence.
Outpatient treatment options for substance abuse mean that teen drug addiction treatment takes place during the day while teens return to their homes at night. This form of treatment is appropriate for teenagers who no longer need 24-hour supervision and who are fairly advanced in their recovery process.