Teen Addiction Treatment | XLDrugRehabBlog.com

Teen Addiction Treatment: Why Can’t Teens Quit On Their Own?

Posted on 11. Jul, 2014 by in Alcohol & Drug Abuse

Many teens believe that once they make the decision to stop drinking or using drugs, they will. They believe at the outset that they can stop without treatment and that their personal will alone will work.

However, ending an addiction isn’t always that easy. Sure, there are many people who simply make the decision to stop, and they do. Yet, in the majority of cases, addiction requires treatment, and even with addiction treatment, some teens are prone to chronic relapse and continued substance abuse. Of course, there are many factors that play a role in whether addiction ends with or without treatment. For instance, these are the length of substance use, drug of choice, severity of the addiction, physical health, and any presence of mental illness.

One primary obstacle to a teen ending an addiction on his or her own is that long-term drinking and drug use leads to changes in the brain that can last long after an addiction ends. In other words, an addiction has a strong biological component where triggers and cravings for the drug occur almost without notice. Even if a teen has made the decision to end their using, it’s easy for stress from school, relationship concerns with friends, family issues, environmental cues, running into old drinking or drugging friends, and even a smell can trigger an intense craving.

Of course, a trigger that leads to additional drug use or drinking only strengthens the addiction and weakens the ability to stop. And that’s the definition and the main challenge with addiction – behaving compulsively. Once the cycle of addiction activates the internal reward system, a rush in the brain, that behavior can become the sole focus of one’s life to the exclusion and detriment of other life-activities. In this case, addiction not only has a strong biological component, but also a fierce psychological component.

Furthermore, healing from addiction requires emotional, psychological, and at times, even spiritual development. For this reason, being a teenager in an addiction recovery process can be challenging. They have obstacles that perhaps an older person would not. For instance,

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.

Addiction | XLDrugRehabBlog.comThe 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.

Treatment is often necessary when ending an addiction, and if a teen decides to enter treatment, it will often include both medication and therapy. Medication can be a tool to assist the process of withdrawal in the beginning stages of healing, facilitate the brain’s ability to adapt to the absence of the abused drug, and help to prevent relapse by inhibiting the brain’s triggers for craving drugs.

Behavioral therapy examines any attitudes, beliefs, and thought patterns a teen might have that contribute to a dysfunctional lifestyle. For instance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), specifically, is a form of psychotherapy that addresses unhealthy patterns of thought that lead to making poor choices. CBT also provides healthier coping mechanisms to help manage challenging emotions, triggering life circumstances, and stress, replacing any old methods of coping that may have furthered dysfunction and stress. CBT can also enhance the effectiveness of the treatment medication. This, in turn, assists with a teen’s ability to stay in treatment longer.

Thorough teen addiction treatment addresses the stronghold that both the body and mind have on the drug and breaks the cycle to use that drug in the future.

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