Can Adolescents Attend Inpatient Treatment for Drug Addiction?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens, “Residential treatment [or inpatient treatment] is a resource-intense high level of care, generally for adolescents with severe levels of addiction whose mental health and medical needs and addictive behaviors require a 24-hour structured environment to make recovery possible.” While not all adolescents need this level of intensity in their rehab program, there are inpatient centers that exist for teens, and certain individuals can benefit from receiving treatment there.
Who Needs Inpatient Care for Drug Addiction?
Adolescents without a strong support system at home benefit greatly from inpatient treatment.
Adolescents who require a higher level of treatment can be potential candidates for inpatient or residential care. Some teens who may require this type of program include:
Those who are addicted to more than one substance
Those who are a danger to themselves and others
Those who have attempted drug addiction treatment in the past and have been disappointed with the results
Those who do not have a strong social support network of family and friends at home
Inpatient care can be very helpful to these individuals and allow them to get the kind of support, care, and attention they need during this difficult time. However, those adolescents who do not need treatment at this intense of a level may want to choose an outpatient program, family therapy, or individualized drug counseling instead.
Treatment for adolescent addicts is often different from treatment for adults, and this is because teens are in a different place entirely in their lives and development. In addition, their brains work differently and are affected differently by drug abuse, which must be taken into account as well. Some of the ways in which adolescent inpatient care is different from adult programs include:
Adolescent-based treatment programs usually only allow patients between the ages of 12 and 17 to attend. This is because many studies have shown that individuals in this age group respond better to treatment among their peers.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Adolescents can benefit from a drug abuse intervention even if they are not addicted to a drug.” Usually, if their substance abuse does not qualify as a serious addiction, they will not need inpatient care, but some individuals who are suffering from a severe mental disorder or another issue and have turned to substance abuse as a way of coping may actually benefit from this treatment option.
“Adolescents with substance use disorders rarely feel they need treatment and almost never seek it on their own,” so legal interventions and sanctions from parents or family members may be a large part of the reason they attend inpatient treatment.
Family therapy is often an essential part of the program, as there is a need to focus on the home life of the individual and to identify any issues therein (as well as help family members learn to cope with the adolescent’s addiction).
The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes addiction as a mental illness that “changes the brain in fundamental ways, disturbing a person’s normal hierarchy of needs and desires and substituting new priorities connected with procuring and using the drug.” Altered thoughts, emotions, and habits are not things that can easily be reversed during the time….
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