Teens: Addiction is Treatable
Maybe you’re struggling from an addiction, and if you’ve already made the decision to get sober, perhaps you’ve even experienced a relapse or two. However, it’s important to know that recent advances in the scientific understanding of teen addiction clearly indicate that the brain has the remarkable ability to recover after an extensive absence of using drugs, even with such a harsh substance as methamphetamine.
Even after a prolonged addiction, recovery is possible, albeit difficult. But don’t let that discourage you! Treatment for drug addiction is not unlike treating a chronic illness. It must include the transformation of deeply embedded habits, thoughts, and beliefs. As these internal patterns find change, it is possible that you might experience relapse. However, this doesn’t mean that your recovery is impossible; in many cases, a relapse can strengthen your commitment to stay sober.
Assuming that there are no mental illnesses that co-exist with your addiction, then the primary method of treatment is a combination of medication, behavioral therapy, and addressing any underlying issues (abuse, domestic violence, trauma, or loss) that might have prompted the use of drugs or alcohol in the first place.
Medication can be used in different ways in the recovery process. For instance, it can be a tool to assist the process of withdrawal in the beginning stages of healing. Other types of medication can facilitate the brain’s ability to adapt to the absence of the abused drug, and still other forms of medication can help to prevent relapse by inhibiting the brain’s triggers for craving drugs.
Behavioral therapy examines any attitudes, beliefs, and thought patterns you might have that contribute to a dysfunctional lifestyle. For instance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), specifically, is a form of psychotherapy that addresses unhealthy patterns of thought that lead to making poor choices. CBT also provides healthier coping mechanisms to help manage challenging emotions, triggering life circumstances, and stress, replacing any old methods of coping that may have furthered dysfunction and stress. CBT can also enhance the effectiveness of the treatment medication. This, in turn, assists with your ability to stay in treatment longer.
In order to assess your willingness and readiness to change, another form of therapy that is also incredibly successful and often used towards the beginning of treatment is Motivational Interviewing. This form of therapy seeks to evoke your intrinsic desire to change. Because recovering from an addiction is a path that only you can walk, the desire to change must come from within. All the therapeutic tools and medication might be available for you, but if you are not ready to let go of your addiction, then it will most likely remain a significant disturbance in your life.
If you do decide that you’re ready and you’re willing to make the commitment to a sober life, despite the challenges, the therapeutic resources mentioned above can be available to you. These and other forms of support, such as group therapy with other teens who are struggling from an addiction, can make all the difference in the world. With the right support, encouragement, and commitment, you can create a drug-free and healthy life.
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