Different Approaches to Young Adult Drug Treatment

Adolescents and young adults battle substance abuse very differently than adults over the age of 25. When choosing a rehabilitation program for your teen, it is important to remember that he or she will most likely require distinctive treatment approaches compared to an older peer. Why is this the case?

Adolescents and young adults often report using different substances than adults do. They are more likely to binge on using drugs or alcohol, to hide their substance use, and to continue use despite any adverse legal consequences of addiction. Most of all, adolescents and young adults are less likely to feel they need professional help or seek out a drug rehab program. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, only 10 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds needing substance abuse treatment actually receive any professional help.

There are, however, particular methods that professionals, families, and educators can use to approach young adult addiction treatment. The following types of addiction treatment are NIDA evidence-based approaches, all designed to address adolescence, young adulthood, and the various aspects of drug use within those early years.

Behavioral Therapy:

The NIDA suggests that the most effective treatment plans for young people rely primarily on a behavioral approach. Behavioral therapy is a type of addiction treatment that allows adolescents and young adults to proactively participate in the recovery process. Because the adolescent brain is not fully developed, it is hard for many teens to understand the extent of their drug problem. Some do not see the reason they are in drug treatment, and therefore, do not have a willingness to change. The mission of behavioral therapy is to help them recognize how their drug use is affecting their selves, and how it is impacting others.

types of drug treatmentIn general, behavioral interventions consist of modifying a teen’s behaviors and attitudes on drug use, improving communication, encouraging relationships, and enhancing one’s coping and stress management skills. Turnbridge’s behavioral treatment program, for example, typically teaches clients new life skills to avoid relapse triggers, deal with cravings, and further show how one can replace drug using habits with healthy, recreational activities.

There are various degrees of behavioral addiction treatment, including:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – Therapy that focuses on addiction’s impact on the young mind and development. The success of cognitive-behavioral therapy is that it is largely dependent on the learning aspects of the recovery process. Cognitive-behavioral therapy shows patients how to recognize any abnormalities in thought or feeling relating to substance abuse, problems that may indicate cravings or relapse, identify high-risk situations, as well as how to cope using self-control and problem-solving skills. Turnbridge also ensures to educate clients on the consequences of substance abuse and teach them how to monitor behavior accordingly.
  • Contingency Management (CM) – Contingency management is a type of addiction treatment that encourages positive behaviors through immediate, tangible reinforcements. This approach is especially used in helping teens establish goals, and giving them incentive to accomplish those goals. Contingency management substitutes the “rewards” felt from drug use with rewards for their abstinence.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) – Adolescents and young adults are often ambivalent about entering drug treatment. Motivational Enhancement Therapy works by assessing a person’s willingness to get better, then helping them see the positive aspects of pursuing treatment. While this is not used as a stand-alone treatment, it has been proven to work well with other types of addiction treatment.
  • Twelve-Step Facilitation Therapy 12-Step meetings are very effective at prolonging abstinence and have been proven to be aid the recovery process. These programs are designed to teach clients responsibility, to commit to a weekly meeting, and how to form relationships with sponsors, mentors, and other members of the local recovery community.

Family-Based Treatment Approaches:

From Family Behavior Therapy to Multidimensional Family Therapy to teen interventions prepared by the family, there are many ways that relatives can get involved in their loved ones’ recovery process. Family approaches to treatment highlight the need to engage the family—parents, siblings, peers, and all. By doing so, these treatment approaches are able to address communication issues within the family structure, as well as any additional issues that may be present at school, work, or in the home. Counselors can help families work together to develop support networks for their addicted teen, or teach parents how to stop enabling their child.

Recovery Support Services:

Recovery support is a crucial for the success of addiction treatment. Continuing care, recovery support groups, sober living homes, and even collegiate recovery programs are great ways for adolescents and young adults to stay on the right track towards a drug-free life. These services are not the key to drug treatment alone, but rather, can help youth maintain a positive lifestyle without drugs. They can help teens especially grow and connect with others, and establish meaningful relationships that will last long after treatment has ended.

Recovery is long, and for adolescents and young adults, it can sometimes be complex. That is why the National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends that adolescent and young adult drug rehab programs uphold a continuum of care, through recovery support services and follow-up care.

Finding your son or daughter the best treatment is vital to his or her quality of life. As a parent, it is important for you to choose the most appropriate type of treatment for your teen’s age and for his or her addiction. If you have questions on the types of addiction treatment Turnbridge offers its clients today, please feel free to call us at 877-581-1793 or email us here