The Adolescent Drug Treatment Program at Elk River
Adolescent Substance Abuse Should Addressed by Parents Immediately
Many drugs being used by adolescents have long-lasting and even permanent effects on a child's developing brain. Therefore it is critical that parents take corrective action as soon as they realize that their child has a substance abuse problem and begin to seek some sort of treatment. Many drugs can cause learning or emotional disabilities and may impact family relationships, interactions with peers, and performance in school.
Early Intervention is Key in Adolescent Drug Treatment
Early intervention is key to prevention even if the adolescent is not addicted to a drug but is only using it "recreationally" or "experimentally". With children any drug use is cause for serious concern as it often leads to other dangerous and reckless behavior as well as continued drug use.
Adolescents engaged in substance abuse rarely feel they need treatment and will almost never ask for it. Family or legal intervention is usually the compelling factor that gets adolescents to enter, stay in, and ultimately complete inpatient or outpatient treatment programs.
Our Treatment is Unique to Each Individual
Substance abuse treatment should be customized to the unique needs of the individual child and his or her family. Planning treatment begins with a full assessment identifying the child's degree of substance abuse, their treatment history, medical history, family history, psychological makeup, relationship with family and peer group, school performance, and any physical or behavioral issues.
Treatment is Focused on the Entire Person Not Just the Drug Use
At Elk River we have found that treating the adolescent in a wholistic manner, rather than just focusing on substance abuse or drug addiction, is most effective and leads to the best outcomes. Often children are using drugs to escape from painful situations which frequently exist at home, in school, or in their peer groups. Identifying the root cause of the substance abuse is essential in eliminating the behavior.
The behavioral therapy, administered by our professional therapists at Elk River, gives adolescents the motivation, strength, and courage to get off drugs, and most importantly, stay off drugs. By incorporating many strategies, like courage circles and letter writing, various tools are acquired that help the children resist drugs as well as the physical and emotional cravings that lead to its usage. Replacing destructive drug use and its associated behavior with constructive and self-improving activities, improved communication, and stronger relationships is paramount in treatment.
Effectively treating substance abuse in adolescents also requires identifying and treating any other medical or mental health issues they may have. Adolescents who abuse drugs often suffer with depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and other behavioral or psychiatric disorders.
Family and Community Support is a Critical Part of Treatment
At Elk River we seek to involve the parents and siblings in the process of recovery. Recovery doesn't occur in a vacuum and therefore it is important that family and community participate in providing encouragement and support. Many evidence-based interventions for adolescent drug abuse seek to strengthen family relationships by improving communication and improving family members’ ability to support abstinence from drugs. In addition, community members such as friends, guidance counselors, pastors, etc. can encourage adolescents who need help to get into treatment—and support throughout the entire process.
How Long Is Residential Treatment at Elk River?
Staying in treatment for a sufficient period of time and providing continuity of care afterward is extremely important in recovery. The minimal length of drug treatment depends on the type and extent of the adolescent’s issues, but our experience shows that outcomes are better when an adolescent stays in treatment for 3 months or more. Because relapses can occur, more than one episode of treatment may be necessary. Frequently adolescents also benefit from continuing outpatient care following treatment, including drug use monitoring, follow-up visits at home, and linking the family to other supportive services or groups.