There are significant differences between drug and alcohol treatment for adolescents and adults. Most young people suffering from substance abuse related issues have a difficult time recognizing that they have a problem. Adults may have an equal amount of denial but because they are (at least in theory) responsible for all aspects of their lives it is more difficult to blame others for their problem. A teenager or young adult is still dependent on someone else for his well-being. There is also a huge difference in life experience between adolescents and adults. In recovery this is critical to understand because an addict needs to hit some sort of emotional bottom in order to have the motivation to change. While an adult may have no one else to whom he can turn, a young person can usually find someone to take care of him. In providing effective substance abuse treatment this can create a tremendous challenge.
The Treatment Process
When someone goes through treatment at The Insight Program there is a very specific plan of action followed and certain criteria that needs to be met before discharge. Every week the staff meets to discuss each person’s progress and to make necessary adjustments to set appropriate treatment plans. Progress is measured by a person:
- achieving at least 30 days consecutive sobriety
- learning to integrate the first four steps into daily life (review the Insight 12 steps)
- gaining insight into his or her own pathology
- showing signs of improved self-esteem
- beginning the process of repairing family relationships
- development of a continued care plan post-treatment
This list is not exhaustive but it provides a basic guide. Long term sobriety is challenging but with support and a course of action it is achievable.
What Happens Next?
Aftercare is actually the most critical phase of treatment, particularly for young people. Once an individual is discharged from acute care the real challenges begin. It is vital that a young person feels the support of family and a positive peer group. Continued reinforcement of the coping mechanisms developed in treatment is critical. The goal of substance abuse counseling is long term recovery. This process can be frustrating for loved ones but with patience the family will more than likely get better.