Category Archives: Family & Friends

How the Addiction and Recovery Process Differs with Teens

Posted on May 23, 2016

teen_postBeing a teenager is difficult enough, but when it when it comes to substance abuse, teens face their own set of challenges. Yet in many instances, the reasons for their addiction provide the focus for their rehabilitation. Most teens are:

Physically Immature

Obviously, adolescents are smaller in stature. They weigh less. And most importantly, their brains are not fully developed. This means that the same amount of alcohol or drugs taken by an adult is going to have a greater impact on a smaller person with a less sophisticated cognitive system.

Therefore, the road to recovery includes help in understanding the future consequences of addiction for a growing body and brain. Teens believe they are immortal. They rarely focus on how addiction can damage their kidneys, increase their chances of contracting HIV or change the way their brain perceives pleasure.

Acting Out

Many teens have self-image problems. They are insecure, shy and not socially experienced—which makes them highly susceptible to peer pressure. They go along with the crowd, maybe not because they really want to drink or try drugs, but because they want to fit in.

For this reason, recovery starts with therapeutic counseling, in order to understand the issues that trigger the addiction. These vary with each teen, but often include negative body image, conflict at home, trouble with academics or sexual abuse. Finding the root of the problem is the key to solving it.

Involuntary Participants

The majority of teenagers are forced into rehab by their parents, court or school. This is not the ideal situation, because an involuntary participant is frequently an unwilling participant.

For this reason, family involvement is crucial in treating teenagers. Rehab counseling stresses improved communication to smooth the relationship between parents and their children. Teens see their parents are willing to work alongside them in the recovery process.1)SMART Recovery’s program for Family & Friends includes tools from CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training).  CRAFT is a 20+ year old an evidence-based approach, found to be significantly more successful than other frequently recommended approaches such as interventions.  The goal of CRAFT is to improve communication, smooth the relationship and find ways to be truly supportive, in a healthy way.

Missing Activities

Addicted teens do not have the mental acuity or physical coordination required to participate in sports, music or art. These teens are missing out on many extracurricular activities, and they don’t even realize their loss.

Social events and sports, creative outlets and outdoor adventures are just some of the options that rehab programs can offer. It is easier for teens to give up a bad habit if they can replace it with an appealing new interest.

Long-lived

Young people have their whole lives ahead of them. While this is the ideal time for them to embrace abstinence, it can also seem like an impossible goal to give up alcohol or drugs for the next 60, 70 or 80 years.

Therefore, recovery programs for teenagers don’t promise a quick fix. Instead, they provide after-care or post-treatment programs of continuing therapy. Support groups (e.g., SMART Recovery, LifeRing, Women for Sobriety, etc.) and 12-step programs also help teens stay focused after they have completed the initial recovery program.

The good news, of course, is that the sooner teenagers embrace recovery, the sooner they will be able to embrace their full potential. Rehabilitation provides them with a richer emotional and social life, while it allows them to become healthy, well-rounded adults.

About the author

Patricia L. Ryding, Psy.D is Executive Director of Beach House Center for Recovery, a drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation center in Juno Beach, Florida. She is a licensed clinical psychologist who brings over 30 years of experience as both a clinician and an administrator in the behavioral healthcare field to her writing.

References   [ + ]

1. SMART Recovery’s program for Family & Friends includes tools from CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training).  CRAFT is a 20+ year old an evidence-based approach, found to be significantly more successful than other frequently recommended approaches such as interventions.  The goal of CRAFT is to improve communication, smooth the relationship and find ways to be truly supportive, in a healthy way.

Upcoming event: Talking about Addiction for Kids and Young Adults

Posted on February 15, 2016

Stanton Peele Interview

Interview with Dr. Stanton Peele by Dr. Tom Horvath, President, SMART Recovery

Saturday, February 20, 5:00PM EST

To register for this online event, just go to http://www.smartrecovery.org/events/ and hit “Register for this free event.” 

This will be a wide-ranging talk about addiction and today’s youth and teens. Dr. Horvath, SMART’s President, will interview Dr. Stanton Peele on what is needed in society, in public policy, for parents, and for those in the caring and justice professions, to better help our young people.And for young adults, we want to show you the power of making your own choices and having solid resources for decision-making readily available, so you can assess what’s best for you and live a life of freedom and power. Continue reading

How To Avoid Conversation Traps

Posted on January 27, 2016

– reposted from the Center for Motivation and Change blog

 

holidaysIf you are someone who would like to help a loved one change their relationship with substances or to make any behavioral change, there are four essential tools you can learn. First, Helping through Understanding or thinking about issues of addiction differently using the science we now have available. Second, Helping by Taking Care of Yourself as you need to be able to survive and thrive while trying to help. Third, Helping through Words or learning positive communication strategies that shift the conversation from negative to positive. And Fourth, Helping with Actions which are usually using positive reinforcement strategies.

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Celebrating the Holidays with Recovering Family Members and Friends

Posted on November 17, 2015

Peter Gaumond, Chief, ONDCP Recovery Branch

Holidays in RecoveryThis time each year can be stressful for anyone, but the holidays present a special challenge for people recovering from a substance use disorder. Those in long-term recovery typically are adept at navigating the minefield of temptation at holiday social gatherings. But many of those in their first year of recovery, their friends, and family members wonder how best to celebrate the holidays safely, comfortably, and joyously.

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When a Loved One is Addicted

Posted on September 17, 2015

How Family & Friends Can Help
Practical Recovery

Help AlcholicCan people get addicted to alcohol? Yes. But as a spouse, you can help your husband cut back on his drinking. In fact, the suggestions outlined below could be used to help anyone stop or cut back on…

ANY addictive behavior!

But to keep it simple, we will talk about how to help your husband stop drinking.

When will my husband stop drinking?

Generally, drinking stops when your husband realizes that the costs of drinking exceed the benefits. You could wait until the costs are very large, so that he can realize the problem more easily. However, by that point his thinking may not be very clear, and he (and you) will have paid a substantial price, possibly to include problems (such as health problems) that will endure. So it is better to stop drinking sooner rather than later.

How can I help my husband get sober?

In this approach you are looking to build the “landing place” before you ask him to “jump.” Many heavy drinkers are reluctant to quit drinking because Continue reading

Book Review: “In This Moment. Five Steps to Transcending Stress Using Mindfulness and Neuroscience. “

Posted on June 23, 2015

Portrait of pensive womanIn This Moment.   Five Steps to Transcending Stress Using Mindfulness and Neuroscience.  2015, New Harbinger, $16.95.   By Kirk Strosahl, PhD and Patti Robinson, PhD.

In SMART, we use Tools to reduce stress and disturbances.   We use the ABC Tool to reduce our self-made cognitive stress, and create more healthy behavior by changing our thoughts.  We use the DISARM Tool to change our relationship to thoughts and bodily sensations, to maintain and regain control over our choices.  Stress reduction can reduce reactive behavior and allow humans to focus and move on toward what they decide is important. Continue reading