Many drug abuse treatment programs focus on treating adults. The longer somebody has been using drugs for the more stubborn and set they become in their habits. Of course addiction is not just a habit, but many of the behaviours that sustain it can be described as behaviours. Many adult addicts have deeply entrenched addictive behaviours and need specialist help in learning new ways of coping.
Young people who come to drug abuse rehab to address their addiction have a few advantages over the “old timers”. They are normally more flexible and open to trying new things. This is a double edged sword because it places them at risk to try drugs but it can also help them in adopting new recovery orientated behaviours quicker and easier than adults. An addiction treatment program can help a young adult or adolescent develop into a well adjusted and emotionally skilled adult.
Severe cases of addiction may sometimes take longer for drug treatment to take effect, but we certainly believe that a year is ample time to address this disease effectively. This might seem like a very long time, but having completed “primary care” it is often possible for the adolescent to attend school during the day in this time and return to the rehab for the evenings. And taking a year out of life to arrest the downward spiral of addiction that leads to misery and death seems like a worthwhile investment if it has a life-long result.
We believe that adolescents need individual attention in a non-judgemental environment that provides appropriate levels of structure. Adolescents need to be respected and valued in a nurturing environment that helps them face their problems in constructive ways. This means that a cooperative style of therapy is often preferred over a strongly confrontational approach.
Ultimately the goal of a drug rehab program is to help the adolescent find a place in society and live free of the compulsion of drug addiction.
People describe having a “new life” when they graduate, drug-free, from an addiction treatment program. They feel like they have a new spring in their step and experience freedom from depression, anxiety, and obsession.
A residential treatment facility that offers drug abuse therapy will have a tight structure for adolescents to follow. This assists them in feeling safe and also ensures that they adhere to the treatment program. Counsellors will monitor their movements through the day and so be able to determine how effectively the drug rehab program is working.
It is key to help adolescents with social rehabilitation while they are in the treatment facility. Adolescents should be helped to develop a sense of identity, belonging, and membership within the treatment community. Learning to draw support from a healthy group of friends is an important lesson. This helps them to learn new ways of relating to one another and fosters self-confidence.
The drug abuse treatment program will be tailored to fit the individual needs of the client. Some clients may have a marijuana addiction, others might have been abusing methamphetamines (“meth”), but they can be treated successfully using the same general principles that are tailored to suit the individual.