Multidisciplinary Approach to Teen Addiction

Substance abuse is a very slippery slope. No one who experiments with recreational intoxication intends to become addicted to alcohol or drugs. More often than not, individuals are caught by surprise when they realize they have become physically and even psychologically dependent on the substances with which they were experimenting. Oftentimes one won’t even realize they’ve become addicted until they experience withdrawal symptoms for the first time, at which point it’s too late.

There have been numerous studies that have sought to identify the specific variables that make certain individuals especially susceptible to the development an addiction. According to what we’ve learned so far, individuals of any demographic—one’s age, gender, geographic location, religion, socioeconomic status, and so on—can become an addict. The factors that can result in the development of an addiction can be biological, environmental, or developmental, and they vary from one individual to the next. However, teenagers represent a demographic group in which experimentation with substance abuse has become alarmingly common. Perhaps due to the turbulence of adolescence, teens have become a high-risk group for the development of addiction, which is why the treatment of addiction in teenagers has recently become a major focus. In terms of the efficacy of teen addiction treatment, an approach that is multidisciplinary in nature is considered the most comprehensive form of treatment and results in the greatest potential for success in recovery.

What is the Multidisciplinary Approach to Addiction?

man with a question

Due to the multifaceted nature of addiction and its effects, treatment and the recovery process as a whole become rather complicated. When a treatment regimen doesn’t address the varied effects of addiction, one’s treatment is inadequate, either preventing the full extent of one’s recovery potential or leaving an individual at significantly higher risk of relapse. As such, treating only the behavioral aspects of addiction, offering only holistic treatments, and implementing only cognitive behavioral therapy are examples of inadequate treatment approaches since each possible scenario involves accounting for a very limited range of needs. In short, this would be the opposite of a multidisciplinary approach with an individual receiving only a portion of the treatments necessary for a comprehensive recovery.

By definition, something described as “multidisciplinary” could be defined, in short, as being derivative of multiple disciplines. Therefore, it follows that a multidisciplinary approach to addiction treatment refers to the consideration of differing perspectives of recovery and the inclusion of treatments from different disciplinary backgrounds in recovery curricula. Despite the distinction between branches of science and the various specialties in medicine, these different perspectives are frequently found to be complementary. This technique of uniting seemingly differing perspectives in a unified approach has become increasingly common in recent years as research has indicated that the benefits of a multidisciplinary approach far outweigh any perceived shortcomings.

Multidisciplinary Treatment for Teens Suffering from Addiction

Although many individuals underestimate the sheer addictive power of alcohol and drugs, this is especially true of adolescents and teens. Moreover, the allure of substance abuse as a means of fitting in with peers has resulted in alcohol and drug abuse becoming increasingly widespread among youths today with the rate of teen addiction continuing to climb. In order to help teens to overcome a substance abuse habit or developing a chemical dependency, addiction treatment that is comprehensive, drawing from a variety of fields and utilizing a number of complementary techniques, is essential.

The core of any addiction treatment program—whether it’s intended for teens, adults, or seniors—is counseling and psychotherapy. Drawing from fields that approach addiction treatment in terms of its behavioral foundation, addiction counseling and psychotherapy help teens to identify some of the underlying causes of their substance abuse so that they can better understand the disease and develop strategies to curb this harmful habit. Oftentimes the counseling utilizing in recovery programs is based on the tenets of cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a goal-oriented form of psychotherapy that looks at how one’s maladaptive thoughts and emotions result in destructive behavior.

Combined with other forms of psychotherapy such as motivational enhancement therapy—considered especially effective in treating adolescent and teen addicts—counseling serves to illuminate the relationship between a teen’s substance abuse or addictive behavior and his or her thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and even components like social circumstances and environment. Moreover, in instances that involve a teen addict also exhibiting symptoms of a comorbid or co-occurring affliction, dual-diagnosis support is essential. Dual-diagnosis support refers to the simultaneous treatment of addiction as a secondary diagnosis in a single program, which is important as the two conditions will often have a rather complicated connection or causal relationship.

The Right Care at the Right Time

girl suffering from addiction

As a teen progresses through an addiction recovery program, the emphasis of treatment tends to evolve from one modality to another as he or she progresses under the supervision and continuous care of a highly qualified staff. This ensures that each teen in recovery always receives pertinent treatment when it is needed and most beneficial. If a teen requires detoxification upon intake, the first stage of rehabilitation will involve 24-hour medical supervision by physicians to ensure that the teen overcomes physical dependency safely. In later stages of treatment, teens receive counseling and learn valuable relapse prevention strategies from psychotherapists and behavioral health professionals.

Additionally, social workers will often help to recover teen addicts as well, teaching them the life and social skills that will allow them to be independent, functional adults in society. Social workers are also important when case management is involved, which is a process that ensures each recovering teen has a safe, stable, drug-free home environment to which he or she can return upon completion of the program. In short, multidisciplinary addiction treatment for teens involves continuous supervision, healthcare and medical treatment, counseling, psychotherapy and psychiatry, dual-diagnosis support, psychosocial services, and other components that afford recovering teens with the educational and behavioral components required for a successful, long-lasting recovery.

The Palm Beach Institute Guides Teens & Adults to Healthy New Lives

Although teens represent a demographic group that’s at an elevated risk for addiction, there are many strategies in place to help teens remain healthy, safe, and drug-free. Many county-level education systems incorporate substance abuse and addiction education into their curricula, which keeps teens informed about the many dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. However, if you believe your teen has been abusing alcohol or drugs and you would like to learn more about multidisciplinary addiction treatment for teens, the Palm Beach Institute is here to help. We have a staff of qualified physicians, counselors, and recovery specialists, each of whom is personally invested in the recovery and success of each of our patients. Call us at 855-534-3574 or contact us online today for a free consultation and assessment so that you or your teen can begin the healing process at the Palm Beach Institute.

What to Do When Your Teen Won’t Stop Abusing Drugs

There are several misconceptions about alcohol and drug addiction, which have resulted in the perception of addicts having willfully chosen the path of addiction. Although behavior and personal choice represent important factors in the development of addiction, there are other components as well. For some individuals, a biological or genetic predisposition makes them more likely to develop an addiction if they experiment with substance abuse; others are led down the path of addiction due to environmental circumstances. No matter how or why it occurs, alcohol and drug addiction is a chronic, progressive disease that initiates a dramatic transformation, turning good people into individuals who are only concerned about their next fix.

Substance abuse is especially dangerous for adolescents and teens. Impressionable by nature, these youths are commonly curious about substance abuse and have traditionally experimented with alcohol and marijuana at young ages. However, with a heroin epidemic taking the United States by storm there’s evidence of increased heroin use among high school and college-aged individuals. Substance abuse at such a young age is especially dangerous since these individuals are not yet fully developed; when youths abuse alcohol and drugs to the point of addiction, they run the risk of stunting their physical and psychological development. Moreover, addiction makes individuals more likely to resort to criminal behaviors and damage important relationships, which can have a major impact on the rest of their lives.

For parents of teens who have been experimenting with substance abuse, the grim possibilities that result from teenage addiction can be terrifying. As such, it’s important for parents of teens who have been abusing alcohol or drugs to be prepared to intervene in order to divert the lives that would be lost to addiction.

Be Prepared & Educated

It’s often said that knowledge is power. However, one of the common characteristics of individuals suffering from alcohol and drug addiction is denial with most addicts often denying the reality or severity of their dependency. As such, teens who have been experimenting with substance abuse tend to not only be secretive about their consumption but also tend to minimize the direness of the situation. Parents who want to help their teens to stop abusing alcohol and drugs need to prepare by educating themselves about substance abuse and addiction. The knowledge that will be most beneficial includes the addictive potential of the various chemical substances, the side effects and symptoms that accompany substance abuse, the difficulty addiction recovery process, and the lifelong journey of sustained abstinence. Parents should also familiarize themselves with the signs of substance abuse in order to better identify when a problem is present.

Develop a Plan

Once a parent is certain of a teen’s alcohol or drug abuse and has become educated on the subject, it’s time to create an actionable plan. In short, parents are planning the confrontation with the teen substance abuser, which involves anticipating possible responses and reactions and deciding how best to address them. When the confrontation occurs, teens will likely deny the accusations initially due to the fear of reproach and punishment.

However, when reaching the point of finally admitting to the problem he or she will likely make excuses for the behavior so as to be held in the least possible amount of accountability. Common excuses that are given by teen substance abusers include stress from parents’ marital discord, the influence of peers, and feeling depressed or anxious. In short, the teen may try to explain substance abuse behavior as being his or her reaction to external stimuli and, therefore, not his or her fault.

Another part of the plan should include deciding upon the consequences. If the teen has abused alcohol and drugs in the past and the present instance is a repeat offense, there would likely need to be some sort of immediate consequence as well as consequences for if the behavior continues.

Choose the Right Environment & Confront the Teen

It’s important for the confrontation to occur in an environment that offers safety from distraction and intervention from third parties. Moreover, it should be a place where the teen would feel comfortable and safe, which would likely be the family’s home in a communal living area. Privacy is also important so siblings and other individuals should not be present during the exchange. During the confrontation, parents should refrain from being too aggressive and accusatory as it will make the teen less likely to participate in the conversation. 

Compassion and understanding are essential as it will make the teen feel as though the parents are trying to empathize and see the situation from the teen’s point of view. Parents should remember that the most central goal of the confrontation is to understand the factors motivating the teen’s substance abuse behavior—whether due to his or her social group, feelings of depression and anxiety, or some other inner turmoil—so that those factors can be addressed in order to prevent additional substance abuse.

Over the course of the discussion, parents should explain to the teen the dangers of substance abuse, including the health risks and potential sacrifices made in the course of active addiction. Addicts often lose their jobs, financial stability, homes, relationships, and many other prospects, leaving them with only their expensive substance abuse habits. Additionally, parents of teen substance abusers should outline the consequences for substance abuse going forward. A teen’s substance abuse can be an emotional and trying time for a family. However, if handled correctly the parents and teen could gain a better understanding of another perspective of substance abuse and result in the family’s becoming a more united unit.

Explore Substance Abuse Treatment Options Today

If you or someone you love is suffering from a substance abuse disorder and would benefit from addiction treatment, the Palm Beach Institute can help. We have a team of recovery specialists available, offering free consultations and assessments in order to match those suffering from chemical dependency to the therapies that will allow them to regain their sobriety and health. A more fulfilling life is just a phone call today. Don’t wait, call us today at 855-354-3574 or contact us online.

What to Do After Finding Your Teen’s Drug Stash?

Adolescence is a period of rapid physiological change. From puberty onward, teens are learning to become adults while their brains and bodies continue to mature in preparation for the time when they’ll come of age and take responsibility for their own lives. When substance abuse is introduced during this delicate period, the damage can be catastrophic.

Among the many problems that teenage addiction can cause, perhaps the most important are the effects that substance abuse can have on the brain and body that are not yet fully developed. When drugs are introduced into the body, the production and levels of essential neurotransmitters and hormones are thrown off balance, causing the body to compensate accordingly.

The body is still balancing the natural levels of many of these hormones and chemicals, which means drug use would compound an already complicated issue. What’s more, it’s during the period of adolescence that individuals learn the life skills that are essential for survival. If a teenager doesn’t or is unable to learn the important skills adults need to survive, survival will be dubious at best.

Finding Drugs in Your House: Maintaining the Family Unit

confront your child

Many parents fear the possibility of their children inadvertently developing an addiction to alcohol and drugs at an age when the devastation caused by developing a chemical dependence is compounded. And despite the fact that there are many parents across the country—and even the world—whose fears are realized when they discover some sign that their teenage child is using drugs, this scenario does not mean the battle against the disease of addiction has been lost. On the contrary, parents who discover evidence that a teenager is using drugs should be thankful that their child’s substance abuse did not continue in secret, growing more and more severe in the absence of treatment and support. While it’s a discovery that won’t be memorable in a pleasant sort of way, it’s the moment in which parents learn that a substance abuse problem exists and takes action so that the teenage child can be directed toward recovery.

With the rates of substance abuse being so incredibly high both nationally and globally, it’s the worst nightmare of most parents that an adolescent or teenage child will show behavior that indicates substance abuse and physical dependency. This may mean that parents pay more and more attention to their teens’ behavior as they continue to age, looking for signs that would alert them to the presence of a problem so that the budding addiction can be swiftly dealt with before it becomes a lifelong issue.

When parents see some sign that makes them suspicious of substance abuse, the next step will often entail searching the teen’s bedroom and belongings for drugs, paraphernalia, and other physical evidence of substance abuse or dependency. If you find drugs in your house, either inadvertently or while snooping, you may wonder what the best course of action to take might be. If you have recently found drugs in your teen’s possession, here’s what you should do.

Be an Educated Enforcer

finding drug paraphernalia

Before the moment of finding drugs in your house, it’s crucial that you’ve educated yourself on the basics of substance abuse. It seems that most parents are either excessively paranoid about the possibility that their teen will abuse mind-altering substances while others assume it couldn’t happen to their children and don’t worry about it at all. Instead, take a stance that’s somewhere in the middle: Acknowledge that it’s possible, even if only remotely, and learn what to look for so that your innocent teen doesn’t get blamed for something he or she isn’t doing because you’re not quite sure what you should be looking for.

Use the internet as a resource and research teenage addiction and substance abuse. Learn about the common behaviors exhibited by teens when they’re experimenting or addicted to alcohol and drugs. Knowing more about this will mean you’ll be better prepared for the possibility of it happening and equipped with the knowledge of how the situation should best be handled.

Recruit Other Parents

Finding teen's stash

As a parent, you might expect the first step to entail immediately confronting the teenage drug user, but the parent who discovers that their teenager has been using alcohol or drugs has homework to do first. Namely, the parents should get in contact with the parents of teenager’s peer group, which is likely to consist of friends with whom the teenager has been experimenting with substance abuse. In fact, one or more of those peers has likely been providing the substance to the others or providing access to the substance.

It’s important to make sure that the other parents are aware of what’s going on because if the entire group of teens is partaking in substance abuse, then the entire group needs to be addressed. Even if you tell your teen to stop associating with a certain group of people, if they attend the same school it’s virtually impossible to ensure that the teen obliges. If all the other parents are aware of the situation, the parents can form a sort of coalition, agreeing on rules such as curfews, supervision, and so on. In short, the parents can collectively prevent situations in which the teens were abusing alcohol and drugs.

If your teenager goes to the same school as his group of friends that are abusing substances, you will need to be creative and resourceful to help ensure that he or she does not fall back into the substance abuse trap. If all the other parents are aware of the situation, the parents can form a sort of coalition, agreeing on rules such as curfews, supervision, and so on. In short, the parents can collectively prevent situations in which the teens were abusing alcohol and drugs.

Think Before You Act

If you find an alcohol or drug stash in your teen’s bedroom, try to refrain from letting your emotions get the best of you. Immediately confronting the teen with your anger, outrage, and tears is one of the worst things you could do. This kind of discovery is going to make you volatile, even unpredictable, and would likely cause you to say things before you’ve really thought about them.

For example, you don’t want to immediately throw your teen out of the house and then realize later that night that you’ve made a momentous, colossal mistake. Take some time, even a day or two, to collect yourself and strategize about how you want to handle the situation. You’re upset about this situation because you love your teen and you’re scared of this situation and what it could lead to, so find the best way to convey those thoughts and feelings to your teen.

Prepare Yourself for the Discussion

Finding drugs in your house

It’s probably hard not to think of this as a confrontation, but try not to. When you approach your teen with your discovery, it’s to have a discussion, not a confrontation. By being understanding and empathetic, your teen will be more likely to participate in the conversation and make it an exchange rather than it being you berating him or her. This is essential if you hope to learn the circumstances that led to his or her substance abuse so that you can set rules that will prevent those circumstances from encouraging substance abuse going forward.

Additionally, it’s equally important that you prepare for the discussion by doing some research. Look up statistics about the drug or substance you now know your teen has been using, such as addiction rates, health risks, side effects, and so on. Inform your teen what it is that he or she is risking or possibly sacrificing by continuing to experiment with and abuse alcohol and drugs. If you feel the problem is severe, you might even consult your child’s pediatrician or doctor about outpatient treatment or a program specifically for adolescents and teens.

Outline the Rules

Once your teen is aware that you’ve done your research and know what you’re talking about, make sure that he or she is also aware that this type of behavior cannot and will not be tolerated moving forward. Discuss your rules, then explain to your child why you’re setting these rules and why they’re important. Explain that it’s not your desire to make your child’s life difficult or unpleasant, but rather to guide them toward adulthood while ensuring their safety and health. Rules might not be fun, but they’re set with love. Just as important as the rules are the consequences for breaking them, which should also be clearly outlined to your teen. After the rules and consequences have been discussed, it’s the duty of the parents to enforce the rules. Otherwise, this will all have been for nothing.

Treat the Contributors

Oftentimes teens will engage in substance abuse for one or more of many reasons, such as to fit in with peers, boredom, self-medicating due to anxiety or depression, and so on. As a parent, be aware that when a teenager engages in substance abuse, there is almost always a cause or contributor that led the teen to engage in that behavior. If the teen was simply bored and had too much free time, find constructive, productive ways for the teen to spend their time that offers fulfillment and keeps him or her out of trouble.

If the issue is that the teen chose to treat anxiety, depression, or some other mental or emotional condition with intoxication, the best action to take would be to find the teen a therapist or counselor, especially one that specializes in teenage substance abuse and addiction. If the issue was the teen’s peer group, therapy or counseling would also be effective in addition to encouraging the teenager to participate or engage with the family in activities that fortify the familial bond and, particularly, strengthen the teen’s relationship with his or her parents.

Encourage Openness and Show Support

Finally, make sure that you encourage your teen to maintain open communication with you as his or her parent. Tell them that addiction is not an easy disease from which to recover with difficulties expected over the course of the process. Encourage your teen to come talk to you and confide in you, express his or her thoughts and feelings and fears. Be supportive of your teen throughout the entire process. If necessary, encourage and allow him or her to participate in twelve-step programs and support groups, especially those intended specifically for adolescents and teens, as these have proven to be a great resource for those with the desire to abstain from substance abuse.

If you or someone you love is addicted to alcohol or drugs, the Palm Beach Institute can help. Our knowledgeable specialists have helped numerous addicts begin the journey of recovery by matching them with the programs that meet their individual needs and we can help you, too. Call us today at 1-855-960-5456.

Teen Heroin Use on the Rise in Suburbia

It goes without saying that there’s risk of addiction in the abuse of any substance, whether it’s alcohol or marijuana or prescription pills. However, despite the risk of an individual developing an addiction to any substance, there are some that are considered more dangerous than others due to their addictive potential. This is largely because of the effects that these highly addictive substances have on the body, in particular the brain. When someone abuses a mind-altering substance, a chemical or hormonal imbalance occurs. Typically the brain will recover from this imbalance once the effects of the drug wear off and the substance works its way out of the body.

Addiction occurs when the individual continues to create chemical and hormonal imbalances by repeatedly consuming the substance, which causes the brain to compensate by decreasing its own production of chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine, relying on intoxication from substance abuse to elevate the brain’s chemistry beyond the natural level. As such, when the individual ceases consumption of a drug, the body begins to feel withdrawal as a result of the brain’s inability to produce enough of these chemicals on its own.

This tends to be how addiction works for virtually all substances but is especially true of opiates like heroin and painkillers. In fact, heroin is thought to be the most addictive mind-altering substance that exists, even more so than cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, alcohol, and tobacco. Research has suggested that we’re in the throes of a global heroin pandemic due to rates of heroin addiction reaching heretofore unseen levels. What’s more, heroin addiction is affecting just about every group on the demographic spectrum with people of all ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic levels falling prey to the addictive power of heroin.

As we try to find solutions to this worldwide saturation of heroin addiction, evidence has emerged that paints a terrifying picture of suburban teens being one of the most-affected and fastest-growing groups of heroin addicts. If we have any hope of curbing the growing rates of heroin abuse, especially among teens, we must understand why this pandemic is happening and how to handle heroin addiction.

business man using heroin

Heroin Use Among Suburban Teens

Parents have long harbored the assumption that raising children in suburban and rural areas will prevent or at least offer a buffer to exposure to the hard drugs for which larger cities and metropolitan areas are known. In fact, for many years that seemed to be the case with smaller towns having much lower rates of substance abuse and addiction. Unfortunately, as transportation across larger distances has become more efficient and less expensive, rural and suburban-dwellers have been able to turn to importing drugs from the populated cities from which most hard drugs originate, or have even had an ideal place to begin producing such drugs themselves as has been the case with crystal meth. Over time, less-populated areas have seen a steady increase in the availability and, consequently, the abuse of drugs, which is reflected in significantly higher rates of individuals seeking treatment for addiction in rural and suburban towns.

In addition to the ease with which drugs can trickle into suburban and rural communities, there are a number of other factors that are thought to be responsible for this shift. For one thing, there’s a lot of outreach for adolescents and teens in urban areas; it seems that years of prevalent drugs in urban areas has resulted in a more proactive approach to addiction prevention, which seems to be lacking in suburban and rural communities and allowing many teens who are abusing dangerous drugs like heroin to slip through the cracks.

Graduating from Prescription Opioids

prescription pain pills

According to sources, many middle-class suburban teens get their start with prescription pain pills, which are notoriously expensive and until very recently had been readily available both legally via prescriptions and on the street. As a result of numerous changes in federal drug policy, prescription opioids are somewhat less readily available and many pharmaceutical companies had made their products tamper-proof, making it difficult or virtually impossible to crush them for snorting and making them water insoluble. This has led many suburban teens who developed opiate addiction with painkillers to switch to less-expensive and increasingly available heroin.

The heroin pandemic has led to spiking rates of heroin overdose even in small towns. In northwest Ohio, there were 14 heroin overdoses in 2010, 31 in 2011, and 55 in 2012, showing a clear trend in which rising heroin addiction is resulting in more frequent heroin-related deaths. Statistics estimates approximately an 80 percent increase in rates of heroin use among adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17. Additionally, reports have indicated that the first drug to invade suburbia was marijuana, followed by cocaine and now heroin. Interestingly, professionals who have been working with teens recovering from heroin abuse have reported that the stories tend to be the same from one teen heroin addict to the next; they get their start with prescription pain pills, often obtained through legal means, and continue to increase dosage and frequency until becoming physically dependent, at which time they switch to heroin.

Communities Fighting Against Teen Heroin Use

It’s especially unsettling that rates of teen heroin use are spiking because, being so young, this developing addiction will have a profound effect on the rest of their lives. Things like college, finding gainful employment, forming and maintaining healthy relationships, and so on, are difficult if not impossible for those in active heroin addiction. What’s more, it’s during teen years that individuals learn many of the skills necessary to become independent, self-sufficient adults; when a teen becomes an addict, addiction prevents him or her from learning essential life-skills that promote survival.

With heroin being such a widespread and profoundly devastating problem, many communities are trying to find ways with which they can combat this pandemic. In addition to many communities offering a variety of programs such as inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, support groups, and replacement therapies like methadone management, some communities are starting online forums in order to facilitate discussion of the problem and to device additional ways to effectively combat teen heroin abuse, such as “Heroin in Our Community” for residents in McHenry County, Illinois.

Recover from Heroin Addiction Today

If you or someone you love is addiction to heroin or another mind-altering substance, the Palm Beach Institute can help. Call us today at 855-534-3574 or contact us online to speak with one of our recovery specialists so you can begin your recovery and regain your health today.