When the field of alcohol and drug addiction treatment was in its infancy, there was little to no differentiation between types of treatment for different people. For instance, men and women were provided the same addiction treatment just like adults and teens were provided the same addiction treatment.
However, it’s clear today that there are some major differences between how men and women experience addiction, making their needs for treatment vastly different. And the same is true between adults and teens. Adolescents have much different needs in treatment for addiction than do adults. Because teens are going through immense changes physically, emotionally, psychologically, and socially, there are some important treatment factors to keep in mind.
The following are some examples of significant factors to consider regarding teenagers and why teen addiction treatment should be specialized for them.
Level of Maturity – Adolescents are still maturing. This development is not only taking place emotionally and psychologically, but also physically, and the brain itself is developing.
Fascination – Some teens, especially those in early recovery, might still feel identified with the glamour of using drugs. Adolescents can continue to hold drug use with a certain ideal. Teens might share their stories of drug use with a sense of nostalgia, and this alone can be an obstacle to creating a life without drugs and alcohol.
No Hitting Bottom – Many adults who have been addicted to drugs or alcohol had to hit bottom first before they could surrender to the recovery process. Most teens have not yet had the experience or the number of years in their life to reach this point.
Peer Group – Once teens are out of drug rehab, the community in which they will return is often made up of peers who are still drinking or using drugs.
The above listed obstacles are those that most teen addiction treatment centers are aware. However, as parents or caregivers, or as a teen, knowing these can facilitate the recovery process. They can point out what to avoid, how to fully participate in the recovery process, and if possible, to make the complete commitment necessary for change.
One more difference between adults and teens to take into consideration is the developing teen brain. Long-term drinking and drug use leads to changes in the brain that can last long after an addiction ends. And this is especially true for teens because of the growth their brains are still undergoing. In other words, the effects of the addiction have a strong biological component where triggers and cravings for the drug occur almost without notice. Experts are aware of the developing brain in teens, requiring treatment that addresses these concerns specifically.
If you’re teen is struggling with an addiction, it might be in his or her best interest to take your child to a teen addiction treatment center.