Avery’s House is an inpatient teen mental health treatment center in Arizona. Our specialized behavioral health professionals work with adolescents to evaluate, diagnose, and stabilize various teen mental health conditions, including depression.
Addiction and substance abuse is a serious problem among teenagers. Fortunately, teen alcohol and drug addiction therapy is available, and it can help tremendously.
What is Drug and Alcohol Addiction?
The best definition of addiction is an uncontrollable dependence on a drug. While it is treatable, it is an extremely complex, chronic medical disease.
Depending on the drug, people get addicted for many reasons.
In the case of nicotine, dependency is developed when a person smokes. The nicotine spikes their dopamine levels. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that makes people feel happy. It is often called the “happy hormone.”
This is the “buzz” or “kick” that people experience, and while that feeling can be addictive, there is more involved.
The body produces dopamine all on its own. But when people add more by smoking, their brain makes less. This is when a person starts to become dependent on nicotine. Without it, they do not feel like themselves, and it is very difficult to experience happiness at any level.
A similar thing happens in people with alcohol addiction. Drinking alcohol produces excess dopamine. Over time, people cannot stop drinking without some type of help.
Drinking causes teens to experience a feeling of euphoria because of the excess dopamine the alcohol creates. It is common for teens who drink regularly to feel depressed when they are not under the influence of alcohol.
The more a person drinks, the more of a tolerance they build. This means they must consume more alcohol to experience the same feelings they felt the first time they drank.
This results in more and more alcohol consumption over time, ultimately leading to dependency.
What are the Symptoms of Drug and Alcohol Addiction in Teens?
Symptoms parents should be aware of include but are not limited to:
- Mood swings (more than just regular developmental mood swings)
- Behavioral issues
- Academic issues (especially if they were once a great student)
- New friends that they do not want family members to meet
- A very apathetic attitude
Parents may be able to identify the likelihood of drug and alcohol addiction by asking themselves the following questions about their teens:
- Is your child reckless?
- Do they experience manic highs and lows?
- Do they get into issues with the law?
- Have you found alcohol or other substances in their room?
- Do they not excel in school as much as they used to?
- Have they abandoned childhood friends and now associate with a new crew?
- Do they not seem to care about anyone or anything?
If your teen is experiencing any of the above, you may want to consider treatment.
What Causes Teen Substance Abuse?
There are many reasons teens have a higher chance of becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Probably the biggest issue is adolescents’ availability and easy access to substances. There is also a stigma of substance use as a sign of “freedom” or being “cool,” which is portrayed by social media.
Other factors can include mental health disorders and genetic pre-exposure. For example, teens struggling with mental health are more likely to look to substances for relief.
A teen is 45% – 95% more likely to struggle with addiction if their parents or relatives were addicts.
What are the Effects of Addiction on Teens?
The effects of addiction on teens can be devastating.
Teens may experience depression and suicidal thoughts or actions. This is because substances alter one’s perception of reality.
Teenagers may also have issues with the law. This can ruin their lives and directly impact their families and others.
Addicts may have issues forming lasting bonds and connections. This is because of the dependency created by substance use. It is important for young people to at least have a few dependable relationships and friendships in their teen years.
What is Some Information Parents Should Know?
Parents of teens need to be aware of the signs of alcohol and drug addiction. Any indication of substance abuse should never be ignored. The teen may be in a critical state, and immediate action needs to be taken.
There are many resources online to help struggling families and teens, and Avery’s House is one of them. Resources like professional treatment and support groups help teens and families work toward recovery. They also help the family unit grow and provide educational opportunities.
How Can Parents Help Prevent Addiction in their Teens?
Parents can help prevent addiction in their teens in many ways.
First, they need to lead by example. Their children will not listen to them about substances if the parents are using them themselves.
Next, parents must establish clear, open, and honest relationships with their kids. Teens need to be able to talk with their parents about tough things like substance abuse. If there is no trust, there is no relationship.
Finally, spending time with their teens is critical. Parents should let them know that they are not alone. But they also need to be involved in their kids’ lives and know who their friends are. It may be helpful to encourage positive interactions in safe spaces with other teens.
Therapy for Teens with Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Treating addiction issues is different in teens than in adults. Teens are not fully developed mentally and therefore do not handle substance abuse the same way adults do.
Teenagers who abuse drugs or alcohol often have co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety or depression. This needs to be taken into consideration when making a treatment decision.
There are two main types of therapy – inpatient and outpatient.
Outpatient Therapy Options
Most options are outpatient, meaning the teen lives at home while receiving treatment. Weekly therapy is possible, but some teens may need more intensive therapy for drug and alcohol addiction. Outpatient care often involves the patient’s family and helps the family unit grow stronger.
There are three different types of outpatient therapy:
- Partial hospitalization programs involve the teen attending a daily program (5-7 days per week). Medication management is available at PHPs, and teens will work with a drug and alcohol addiction therapist.
- Intensive outpatient programs or IOPs are another therapy option for teens. They can still go to school during the day and attend their treatment programs at night. IOPs usually run for about 12 weeks for 3-5 evenings each week.
- Traditional outpatient therapy involves more typical therapy sessions a couple of times weekly.
Inpatient Therapy Options
A teen with a serious addiction – such as abusing opioid painkillers – may require inpatient treatment. This means the patient will stay in a hospital or treatment facility to get help and learn how to avoid a relapse.
Behavioral therapy helps adolescents identify other mental issues that may lead to substance abuse. It teaches teens how to deal with triggering situations and find other ways to cope with their circumstances without substances.
Behavioral therapy also helps the entire family unit become stronger by teaching parents ways to have open and honest relationships with their children. They learn how to have conversations about addiction and the struggles their kids are facing.
|Types of Behavioral Therapy|
|Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)||Motivational Enhancement therapy focuses on motivating and encouraging teens to take part in drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs. This therapy helps to motivate the teen to seek recovery and start their treatment plan.|
|Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA)||This approach helps reinforce adolescents’ community and support system to create stability. It also helps teens find healthy coping mechanisms and teaches them problem-solving skills.|
|Contingency Management||In this approach to behavioral therapy, rewards are used to encourage good behavior and a faster recovery.|
Another treatment option is family-based therapy. This involves the teen’s family and support system during treatment.
This therapy targets more specific issues such as:
- Dual diagnosis
- Peer pressure
- School or job inconsistencies
- Family issues
|Types of Family-Based Therapy|
|Family-Behavioral Therapy||This is a type of Family-Based therapy that uses a series of therapy sessions with a prize at the end of each goal. These sessions and goals aim to improve communication and relationships between parents and kids.|
|Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT)||This type of Family-Based therapy uses multiple therapy sessions that specifically target drug and alcohol abuse in the home.|
|Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)||This therapy option is for blended or split families with violent and chronically addicted teens. In this option, school and local government works together to help the struggling teen and family.|
Recovery support services help teens after they have been successfully treated and sober. Support groups have many options to keep teens clean during addiction recovery.
|Types of Recovery Support Services|
|Assertive Continuing Care (ACC)||This recovery program is based in the adolescent’s home and helps create more open, honest communication to help the teen stay healthy.|
|Peer Recovery Support Services||This recovery program is usually held in a community center and helps give teens role models that have experienced addiction and recovered.|
|Recovery High Schools||Recovery High Schools can be used as a treatment option or to follow treatment. They are an education institute for teens struggling to overcome addiction. This provides adolescents with peers struggling with the same issues as they are and work to further their education.|
How Can Avery’s House Help?
Avery’s House is a program that offers inpatient therapy for teens. Drug and alcohol addiction therapy for teens is one of our specialties. We also help teens struggling with co-occurring disorders.
Here at Avery’s House, we treat teens ages 11-18 and work with families to identify the best treatment options.
We work with co-occurring disorders such as:
- Depression – the mental state of extreme sadness or low mood
- Bipolar disorder – the mental state of overwhelming changes in emotions
- ADHD (Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder)
- Self-esteem issues
- Mood swings
- Difficulties in the home
- Difficulty with friends
- Suicidal thoughts
- Self-harm issues
- PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)
At Avery’s House we have a variety of therapy options to help your adolescent and family. They include:
- Weekly therapy sessions
- Family therapy sessions
- Experiential therapy
- Dialectical-behavior therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Art therapy
- Music therapy
- Community activities
- Trauma-informed care
We also offer family programs. Family members can visit teens weekly, and we offer a virtual weekly support group for families. Family members can meet virtually with one of our therapists for a therapy session if needed.
Your child’s education is important to us here at Avery’s House. If the patient’s current school meets our requirements and is willing to work with us, they may be able to stay enrolled and continue their education while receiving treatment.
If not, the patient will be enrolled online at Brightmount Academy to continue learning. We also offer summer school programs to further education.
We also provide medication management services for our teen patients. We aim to ensure your child’s medication is correct so they can get the help they need.
Avery’s House Offers Teen Therapy for Drug and Alcohol Addiction
At Avery’s House, your teen and your family are important to us. We know how critical it is for teens to work with an alcohol and drug addiction therapist they can trust. In addition, your family needs ongoing support as you navigate through this challenging time.
Do you have questions about teen therapy for substance abuse? We would love to answer them for you and help your child get started on the path to recovery. Please contact us to learn more.