- Adolescents are going through numerous changes, changes that involve the way they look, the way they think, and also experience things. Adolescence is also a time where curiosity is at its highest and drug experimentation as well as drinking is one of those things they get curious about. This is all about an adolescents’ forming an individual sense of self and is normal. But sometimes it can go awry if an adolescent does decide to experiment with drugs and not stop. That is why there is drug treatment for adolescents. Drug treatment for adolescents has to be a bit different than drug treatment for an adult. The reason for this is because there has to be an understanding between the drug use and adolescent development in order for there to be effective treatment strategies. For instance, drug treatment for adolescents that treats them like smaller versions of adults won’t work.
- Drug treatment for adolescents regardless if it is 12 step based, family oriented, or a therapeutic community must have several things it is doing specifically for the adolescent. The first thing about drug treatment for adolescents is that it must recognize that adolescents should be treated differently than adults because they are going through a unique developmental time. Adolescents also have different values and belief systems as well as unique environments such as school and peer pressure.
- Another very important thing that drug treatment for adolescents recognizes is that not all adolescents who have used drugs will develop a drug addiction. Drug treatment programs and the counselors there are careful not to diagnose any adolescent with addiction because it could end up harming them in the grand scheme of things rather than helping them.
- Drug treatment programs for adolescents also take into consideration that adolescents have different needs based on age. For instance, younger adolescents have different things they need than older adolescents.
- Drug treatment for adolescents also takes into consideration gender, ethnicity, disabilities, their readiness to change and their cultural background. Drug treatment for adolescents makes more effort to involve the family than a drug treatment for young adults or adults because it plays a much more important role in where the problem originated and its ability to help them change.
There are other aspects of drug treatment for adolescents that must be focused on to. There are special issues of adolescents that will need to be dealt with and recognized such as self-image, guilt and sexuality. Drug treatment for adolescents works on not only the drug problem but also helps with developing a healthy identity and a positive self-image. Drug treatment for adolescents also helps deal with guilt with groups, seminars, counseling and special guilt sessions. Sexuality is also a special issue that drug treatment for adolescents can help with by providing sex education, one-on-one counseling and keep boys and girls separate.
Drug treatment for adolescents should not be used as a way to diagnose them with a disease but as a preventative and helpful proactive way of dealing with any issues so they don’t continue on into adulthood.