Treatment Options for Teenage Substance Abuse

In families and communities across the country, teenage substance abuse is a common problem. Life with this issue can be very difficult and for some even unbearable. Whether the result of peer pressure, a dysfunctional family setting or personal turmoil, many teens turn to drugs and alcohol for comfort and escape, often with tragic results. Learning about the options for treatment can bring parents hope and bring help for a struggling teen.

Available options for treating teens with substance abuse issues

Inpatient rehabilitation centers

When teens have exhausted all other attempts for rehab, do not want help or are too far gone for rational thinking, checking them into an inpatient therapy program may be a good option. They will be housed, fed and treated with a variety of methods to get them clean — the first step before rehabilitation is possible.

Recreational therapy

Many parents and guardians have found that signing their teens up for a therapeutic recreational experience is helpful in the process of overcoming addiction. It can invigorate mind and body, teach interpersonal and communication skills and encourage lifestyle changes. Some of these programs use special techniques and trained professionals to teach teens how to work and to gain satisfaction from it. These therapies can include life sports, wilderness retreats, ranch retreats or equine therapy.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Also known as psychotherapy or talk therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy boils down to helping teens analyze the reasons behind their turning to drugs and helps them take responsibility for those behaviors. CBT can help to reformat their reasoning and direct them to self-regulation. It may teach them how to avoid high-risk situations and find alternative coping skills.

Family-based approach

Teenage substance abuse is a family matter. This approach involves all family members in the home learning to adjust behaviors that may be allowing or even encouraging drug or alcohol use. Therapists can teach families how to face up to and deal with uncomfortable issues, interact with one another more positively and solve conflicts in nonviolent ways. Family members may learn how better to function as a family. This type of therapy may be used as the follow-up to rehab, combined with day treatment or even as a preventive measure.

Treatment with medications

In a situation where the physical addiction is complicated by possible underlying psychiatric disorders, certain medications may be used along with other treatments. If a teen has persistent pain, for instance, opioids such as Percocet or Vicodin may be used under careful management enough to function within the program. For those who suffer emotional swings resulting from bipolar disorder, mood stabilizers may be administered. If a teen has attention deficit issues, Ritalin or Adderall may be prescribed to enhance focus.

Conclusion

Drugs and alcohol can wreak havoc with the brain and body of a young teen and can potentially pull families apart, so getting help is crucial. No two kids think or react alike and the treatments are just as varied. In seeking treatment options for teenage substance abuse, caregivers should seek a method most compatible with their teen’s problem and personality and trained professionals who can best help bring the child back to a safe new normal.

Request an appointment here: https://www.joelnathanmd.com or call Joel Nathan, MD at (212) 410-6832 for an appointment in our New York office.

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