Teen Substance Abuse Treatment

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Substance abuse, smoking, drinking, misusing prescription drugs and using illegal drugs is a public health problem of epidemic proportions, presenting danger to millions of Americans and severe and expensive long-range consequences for our entire population. Substance abuse involves the use of drugs or alcohol in a recreational setting such as binge drinking at a party or using substances for relaxation.

Addiction is a compulsive dependence on a substance. Dependence may be physical, psychological or a combination of both. People with a physical dependence on a substance will experience withdrawal symptoms as the substance disappears from their body.

What is substance abuse?

Substance abuse is a harmful pattern of use of any substance for mood altering purposes which leads to frequent and serious problems. These problems can affect performance at work or home. Often relationships begin to suffer and substance abuse users often encounter trouble with the law. Substance abuse is not simply drug abuse; it also includes the use of inhalants solvents, alcohol and many other substances.

In addition to the health risks, continued use of substances can cause havoc in a person’s life. Work attendance drops and family members are neglected in favor of hangouts where the substance can be found. Risk taking increases, threatening behavior may occur and suicidal thoughts are not uncommon. Other indicators of substance abuse are:

  • Getting drunk or high on a regular basis
  • Spending less time with others in order to get drunk or high
  • Planning substance use in advance
  • Drinking alone
  • Needing larger amounts of substances to get drunk or high
  • Blackouts, forgetting what happened while drunk or high

When substance abuse increases to the point of chemical dependence and that use is compulsive and uncontrollable, the term addiction is used.

What causes substance abuse?

People abuse substances such as drugs, alcohol and tobacco for varied and complicated reasons, but it is clear that our society pays a significant toll. The toll for this can be seen in our hospitals and emergency departments through dire damage to health by substance abuse and its link to physical trauma. Jails and prisons tally daily the strong connection between crime and drug dependence and abuse. Although use of some drugs such as cocaine has declined, use of other drugs such as heroin and club drugs has increased.

Finding effective treatment for, and prevention of, substance abuse has been difficult. Through research, we now have a better understanding of the behavior. Studies have made it clear that drug education and prevention aimed at children and adolescents offers the best chance to curb abuse nationally. Synthetic substances commonly have recently appeared on the market, sold in small plastic or foil packages and marked “not for human consumption.” They are available online and in drug product stores under various names, and have been linked to a high number of visits to emergency departments and Poison Control Centers across the country.

Additionally, a family history of substance abuse or a history of child abuse or other trauma raises a person’s risk. Negative emotions and mental health disorders such as depression, low self-esteem, anxiety and stress also lead many people to self-medicate through substance abuse.

Symptoms of substance abuse

  • A sudden change in behavior involving withdrawal from friends and family
  • Lack of interest in formerly favorite activities
  • Depression
  • A decline in work performance
  • Undertakes risky behavior

Substance abuse treatment

It is essential to educate the public that substance abuse is a public health problem and that addiction is a complex brain disease that, in most cases, originates in adolescence. Our health systems must work to prevent or delay the onset of substance use through effective public health measures. Routine screenings should be conducted by health care providers to identify at-risk people. Once these are identified, healthcare providers must intervene to reduce risky use and provide appropriate treatment if needed.

For many people, a residential treatment provider such as Sovereign Health provides a more thorough treatment that combats underlying conditions causing the substance abuse.

What is addiction?

The path to addiction begins when a person uses a substance such as alcohol or drugs for pleasure, initially it may take place in a social setting. As the amount and frequency of the substance taken is increased, it soon becomes a compulsive habit. The person finds they become incapable of doing without the substance, which leads to addiction and complete dependence on the particular substance.

Physical addiction happens as the body tolerates the substance to the point where a larger amount is needed to achieve the desired effect. At this point, the body requires the chemicals in order to function. Behavioral addictions are caused by the pleasurable sensations triggered by the substance in use. Many people attempt to cover negative emotions in this manner. A behavioral addiction can be present without an accompanying physical addiction.

What causes addiction?

A family history of addiction puts a person at higher risk due to genetic factors. Living around other people who are addicted also increases the risk. Some drugs are so highly addictive that even one use can put a person on the road to physical addiction.

What are the symptoms of addiction?

Most drug addictions start with casual or social use of a drug. For some people, using the drug becomes a habit and its use becomes more and more frequent. With the passage of time people may need larger doses of the drug to get high. Soon one may need the drug just to feel good. As drug use increases, it becomes increasingly difficult to go without the drug. Stopping may cause intense cravings and make a person feel physically ill. Drug addiction symptoms or behaviors include:

  • Feeling a compulsion to use the drug regularly
  • Failing in attempts to stop using the drug
  • Making certain the drug is always available
  • Spending money on drugs even though one can’t afford it
  • Stealing or other actions to get funds for drugs
  • Feeling the drug is needed to deal with everyday problems
  • Driving or other risky activities while under the influence
  • Focusing increasing amounts of time on obtaining and using the drug

How to treat addiction

If the patient is in need of a medically supervised detox, because they are addicted to alcohol, opiates or benzos, then it is suggested that they seek the appropriate medical attention before entering our facility. When a patient has completed detox and is no longer dependent on the substance, behavioral therapy and counseling can begin. Group therapy is particularly beneficial as other people share their stories. Coping therapy provides support and offers encouragement as to how to avoid future temptation with resulting relapse.

Sovereign Health Group’s treatment programs

Sovereign Health Group is an addiction, mental and behavioral health rehabilitation treatment provider headquartered in San Clemente, Calif. with multiple other facilities and programs offered across the country. Sovereign’s adolescent facility in Rancho San Diego, Calif. specializes in treating substance abuse and co-occurring conditions in adolescents ages 12 to 17.

Sovereign Health helps the individual, not the disorder, reducing the risk of relapse by customizing programs with up-to-date, evidence-based treatment. Sovereign Health offers several programs, including its adolescent facility, and several facilities are dual-licensed to treat mental health disorders and substance abuse. To find out more about our programs and enrollment, call our Admissions Team at 866-615-7266.

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Sovereign Health offers comprehensive and high-quality treatment programming for substance abuse and mental health. Call our 24/7 helpline at any time to reach our admissions team.

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