Substance Abuse in Teens and Young Adults

Paradigm Treatment is a residential facility that helps teens and young adults with a range of moderate to severe mental health issues. Before being admitted to Paradigm, every client undergoes a thorough psychiatric evaluation, which is then utilized to carefully construct a specialized treatment plan and team for each individual. Although mental health is our primary focus, at Paradigm we recognize that all too often, teens and young adults may come to rely on a variety of substances and problematic behaviors to cope with what it is that they are up against. We approach substance abuse from this dual diagnostic lens, with the understanding that for many of our clients, problematic substance use is just the tip of the iceberg.

At Paradigm, our therapeutic focus places an emphasis on our clients’ inherent and individual strengths, which in turn empowers us to work effectively with any presenting substance abuse or problematic behaviors. Because we focus on the whole individual, teens and young adults in our program are given skills and tools to establish long-lasting recovery, and furthermore, healthy and happy lives.

Individualized Treatment

Despite the fact that our programs are individualized, there are some fundamental aspects of treatment that are consistent among all our clients, in terms of addressing the issues they may be facing regarding substance use and problematic behaviors.

Firstly, for teens and young adults who are struggling with substances, coming into our program may mean experiencing some symptoms of withdrawal depending on severity of use. While we are not a drug and alcohol detox or rehab facility, we do provide social detoxification, which involves careful monitoring and care, to assure clients’ physical and mental well-being throughout this process. Because this can be such a difficult and uncomfortable experience, we work closely with teens and young adults to provide support and much needed guidance. Some potential clients who are experiencing severe physiological symptoms may be in need of inpatient medical treatment in order to obtain the appropriate level of care. Once medically stable, the client will be more able to benefit from a residential level of care and social detoxification to address the underlying contributors that drive their substance use.

All clients receive one-on-one therapy sessions every day while they are at Paradigm.  In addition to these sessions, clients also take part in group therapy sessions, family sessions, and a number of other types of experiential therapy, depending on their desires and interests.  Some of these special therapy approaches include: Art Therapy, Writing Therapy, Music Therapy, and Equine Therapy.

In both individual and group sessions, therapists work with clients to address their substance use issues, its mental and physical effects, and any related behaviors.  Once teens begin to have an awareness of their problematic behaviors and their effects, therapists then help them to evaluate what stressors, triggers, and/or conflicts in their lives may have led to the initial or continued use of the substance. Our therapists work with clients to build awareness around the deeper connections between their substance use and other problem areas, so as to help them identify what underlying issues may be driving the behaviors.  Once clients can make these connections, therapists can implement different behavioral therapies in order to empower clients to make positive, lasting changes in their lives.  These may include healthy ways of coping with stress, academic support resources, and/or tools to communicate better with parents or other family members.  This might also include assisting clients with recognizing and changing faulty belief systems that have held power in their lives and on their behavior. This deeper work, in which our clients evaluate and work to change the underlying behaviors, feelings, and belief systems, is fundamental to Paradigm Treatment, and we believe, fundamental to successful and lasting recovery.

In order to support teens both physically and mentally while they’re at Paradigm, we have an array of supplemental programs and offerings to help them with stress and overall well-being.  Some of these offerings include options like:

  • Hiking
  • Yoga
  • Surfing
  • Acupuncture

We also offer academic support for whom school is a major cause of stress, and therefore, trigger for using. All of these programs and offerings are ways in which our treatment becomes truly turn-key, addressing our clients and what they are up against  in all aspects of their lives.

Parent Support

At Paradigm, we understand and appreciate that being a parent of a teen or young adult struggling with substance abuse is an extremely difficult and scary challenge. This is why we take our parent support programs as seriously as the clients’ treatment. As such, we make every effort to provide parents with the most comprehensive support possible throughout the entire process. This includes individual parenting sessions with therapists, family sessions, group sessions with parents, and Parent Effectiveness training. Our therapists work to help parents become aware of and knowledgeable about what their teen is experiencing, as well as providing them with the resources and tools necessary to know how to support them long after they leave our programs.

Therapists also help parents to begin laying the groundwork for a healthy home environment, once their child returns home. Furthermore, therapists become a bridge of communication between clients and parents, providing a safe, open place for both parties to speak and be heard.  These family sessions can be an extremely powerful tool towards relational healing, forgiveness, and moving forward. 


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