Imaginative writing is often inspired by the conflicts of everyday life. In our society, where we may find ourselves stressed to a breaking point, conflict can reflect pressures we don’t even understand. In an effort to reach beyond fiction toward the real-world tensions that inspired my novel, Our Orbit, I’m introducing a few new topic categories here on the blog. You’ll continue to find items on the craft of writing, literature, and publishing. But since Our Orbit delves into the challenges of family life, I’m also branching out to parenting, including addiction and recovery among teenagers. Here is an offering on this topic, along with links to sources of help and information.
The painful question in the title of this post is one that worried parents ask each day in thousands, if not millions, of homes across all continents. This timely article is was written by Mr. Robert Hunt, a youth recovery coach and wellness advocate, re-posted from SoberNation by permission of Mr. Tom Stoddard, founder of that website, which is dedicated to building community by and for people in recovery from addictions and related problems.
From Recovery Coach Robert Hunt —
Adolescent drug addiction treatment can incorporate a number of different approaches, procedures, and timelines, depending on the adolescent. In our experience, the most effective treatment plans are those that are holistic and individualized, meaning they incorporate different approaches and therapeutic processes, all dependent upon the specific adolescent’s individual symptoms, needs, and unique situation. Three of the most important aspects of an adolescent’s experience that should always be incorporated into a treatment plan include Co-Occurring Disorders, academic struggles and support, and family support.
First of all, it’s extremely common for adolescents who struggle with drug or substance abuse to also suffer from a Mental Health disorder or learning challenge. At times, these symptoms may overlap with those of the drug abuse addiction and effects, thus making it difficult to know which symptoms are attributed to which disorder. Because of this, unfortunately it’s common for teen Co-Occurring disorders to go undiagnosed and consequently untreated. In these cases, teens may recover from their addiction and abuse but still be suffering from the other disorder, which will leave them vulnerable to stress that can trigger relapse. Therefore, the importance of careful evaluation and thorough diagnoses in Adolescent Drug Addiction Treatment can’t be stressed enough, as it’s the foundation upon which recovery is built.
Secondly, adolescents living with addiction and/or abusing drugs often are struggling in school. Because school is such a central part of adolescents’ lives, experiencing such struggles or failure can quickly lead to serious loss of self-esteem, and together with drug use, can add to the adolescents’ withdrawal from others. These academic difficulties will hopefully be realized within talk therapy sessions and careful consideration of possible learning disabilities should be made as well. While in treatment, adolescents should be provided real-life academic support such as tutoring, to help get the students back on track. For adolescents, success at school is pivotal to success in their lives.
Lastly, Adolescent Drug Addiction Treatment plans should include the family members, to help heal what damage and hurt has been done, re-build relationships, and create a healthy environment for everyone to thrive in together, amidst the adolescent’s recovery. In our treatment plans, we always provide parents with individual and group family sessions, in order to provide parents the support necessary to move forward.
Again, because Adolescent Drug Addiction Treatment is different for every adolescent, there is certainly no one right way for it to be done. However, in our experience these three aspects prove consistently important in supporting our adolescents to achieve true and lasting sobriety.
About the author – Robert Hunt is a recovering addict of 20 years. He has devoted his life to helping others suffering from chemical addictions as well as mental health challenges. Robert maintains many blogs on drug addiction, eating disorders and depression. He is a sober coach and wellness advocate and a prominent figure in the recovery community.