Whether an adolescent is abusing prescription drugs, opioids, marijuana, stimulants, or other drugs, substance abuse has the potential to devastate an adolescent’s life. There are a number of profound negative consequences that can come with a substance use disorder, and overcoming substance abuse can be extremely difficult when attempted without the help of professionals. Depending on the length of abuse and which substance(s) a young person is abusing, attempting to stop abusing a drug can oftentimes bring about painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that may all but prevent a person from successfully ending his or her use of the drug. Despite their severity, however, these withdrawal symptoms may pale in comparison to the systemic psychological, social, emotional, and physiological damage that a substance use disorder can bring if left untreated.
Fortunately, successful treatment for substance use disorders is available. While recovery is often a lifelong journey, the compassionate and highly-experienced staff at Youth Care is dedicated to helping young people find freedom from substance abuse. We provide specialized treatment that is designed to help your child break the grips of addiction and take his or first steps towards a sober and recovered life.
Helping Your Child Get Treatment
It can feel overwhelming to think about talking to your child about his or her substance abuse problem, and you may feel that you have all but exhausted your options to help him or her. However, it is important to remember that there is hope and there are still things you can do to help your child overcome a substance abuse problem, such as:
- Speak openly and frankly with your child about his or her substance abuse. Let him or her know, in a caring and nonjudgmental tone, that you love him or her and want what is best. Your child may deny his or her abuse of substances, and he or she may be angry, frustrated, or oppositional, but it is important for you to remember that your child is in crisis and needs your help if he or she is to overcome his or her substance abuse.
- Spend time doing research. Look into options for treatment centers and select a few that might be a good fit for your child. Also, learn about your child’s drug(s) of choice and take note of the signs of intoxication and addiction. Speaking with mental health professionals can also be helpful, as they may be able to provide suggestions for how to best help your child.
- Once you have found a treatment center that would be a good fit for your child, be an active participant in your child’s treatment. Stay in contact with your child’s therapist and discuss your child’s progress. Frequently remind your child of how much you love him or her and how proud you are that he or she is seeking treatment.
- Do not forget to take care of yourself as well. Make sure to engage in activities that bring you joy. Keep up with your hobbies and social connections and consider joining a support group for parents whose children are struggling with substance abuse.
Why Consider Treatment at Youth Care
There is virtually no area of an adolescent’s life that cannot be affected by substance abuse if he or she does not receive treatment. Struggles at school, poor academic performance, expulsion, social isolation, and trouble with the law are all distinct possibilities. Adolescents may derail their plans for the future as well, losing out on career opportunities or college placements. Substance abuse also can cause immense physiological damage, possibly harming entire organ systems. Finally, a potentially fatal overdose is an ever-present danger. And while it is true that substance abuse can profoundly affect an adolescent’s life, it is also true that, with effective care in a specialized treatment center, it is possible for an adolescent to take steps to free him or herself from substance abuse and rediscover a life of sobriety and hope.
Types of Treatment Offered at Youth Care
Youth Care provides life-changing residential care in a peaceful, home-like setting for adolescents ages 11 to 17 who are struggling with a wide range of mental health disorders and behavioral problems, including the abuse of drugs and/or alcohol. The Youth Care philosophy is based upon honoring the unique strengths and capabilities of the young people who are entrusted into our care and encouraging them to embrace the concepts of accountability, responsibility, and respect while making the changes that will allow them to lead healthier and more productive lives.
Treatment at Youth Care is an intensive and highly personalized experience. During an average week, students receive will receive 20 hours of clinical services that have been integrated into a customized multidisciplinary treatment plan that reflects the needs and strengths that were identified during a thorough assessment and evaluation process.
At Youth Care, we place great emphasis on helping our students recognize the choices they have made, understand the natural consequences that can occur as a result of these choices, develop self-confidence, and conduct themselves in a manner that promotes dignity, respect, and trust. The family-like structure of our program is designed to model and reinforce important life lessons that will support our students’ efforts to establish healthy interpersonal relationships and achieve to their greatest potential in all aspects of their lives.
When a student enters Youth Care for the treatment of substance abuse and addiction, his or her personalized treatment plan may feature the following components:
Medication management: If an adolescent’s dependence on drugs or alcohol is accompanied by certain co-occurring disorders, the inclusion of psychotropic medication in his or her treatment plan may be beneficial. Of course, medications will be prescribed only when clinically appropriate based upon a careful review of the student’s evaluation and the needs that were identified during that evaluation. Youth Care students have the opportunity to participate in weekly meetings with a psychiatrist, and all medication management needs are handled by the psychiatrist and members of our nursing and medical teams.
Individual therapy: Individual therapy is an essential element of the therapeutic process at Youth Care. All of our students have the opportunity to meet with their primary therapists for one-on-one sessions three times each week. Also, students who are dealing with substance abuse and addiction concerns can meet with an addictions counselor once each week. These meetings provide a supportive environment in which students can discuss their progress, process successes and setbacks, and address issues that have arisen in the course of their treatment.
Group therapy: Group therapy sessions are conducted on a daily basis at Youth Care. Led by trained professionals, these sessions serve an important role in the therapeutic process by allowing students to share insights, learn from the experiences of others, and practice interacting with adults and peers in a healthy, productive, and respectful manner. Students will have the opportunity to participate in the following types of groups on a regular basis throughout their time at Youth Care:
- Addictions groups are conducted once each week.
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) groups are conducted once each week.
- Process groups are held 3 times each week.
- Music therapy groups are conducted once each week.
- Recreational therapy groups are conducted twice each week.
Family therapy: At Youth Care, we have a deep and abiding appreciation for the value of the family both in the treatment process and in the continued recovery of students who have struggled with drug or alcohol abuse and dependence. Our commitment to promoting healthy family dynamics is reflected in the emphasis we place on incorporating students’ families heavily into the treatment process. Each week, the student’s primary therapist will conduct a family therapy session, and every six to eight weeks we conduct Parent Days, which feature educational seminars, multifamily group therapy, parent support groups, family therapy sessions, and family recreational activities.
Recreational therapy: Students who are being treated for substance abuse at Youth Care benefit from an innovative and dynamic approach to residential care that features an array of recreational therapy opportunities. Under the guidance and supervision of our licensed recreational therapist, students participate in in-house and community recreational activities three to seven times per week. Recreational therapy serves as an effective complement to more traditional forms of therapy by engaging students in physical, cultural, and social accomplishments. Participating in recreational therapy provides students with enjoyable and motivational opportunities to work together while developing and honing essential skills, such as teamwork, problem solving, communication, and trust. Recreational therapy also helps students explore newfound interests, discover unknown talents, and improve their sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
Experiential therapy: In addition to the recreational therapies that are discussed in the previous section, the treatment plan for a student who is dealing with substance abuse and addiction at Youth Care may also include the following experiential therapies, if the student’s primary therapist determines that participating in such therapies is appropriate and beneficial to the student:
- Expressive therapy
- Situational therapy
- Exposure therapy
Community service activities: All Youth Care students, including those who are receiving treatment for substance abuse and addiction, participate in community service activities at least twice each month. These activities help students to develop greater empathy and a broader understanding of others, both of which can be beneficial to their recovery and their continued healthy development. The following are among the types of community service activities that may be featured during a student’s time at Youth Care:
- Filling shelves at the Food Bank
- Visiting the elderly
- Caring for animals at the Humane Society
Academics: A central tenet of the Youth Care treatment philosophy is our commitment to providing each student with the opportunity to achieve academic success. Our fully accredited academic program helps students to maintain and improve upon their academic progress while in treatment, and our students benefit from working with certified secondary education and special education teachers who have been specifically trained to teach and support adolescents who possess a range of learning abilities. Academic objectives are included in all students’ individualized treatment plans, and our services include a full day’s curriculum in a traditional academic setting from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every weekday, with therapeutic interventions being interwoven throughout students’ daily schedules.
In addition to our residential services, Youth Care also offers partial hospitalization programming (PHP) for students who do not require the intensity of the residential experience. This day treatment option allows students to benefit from the same daily programming that is offered to students who are receiving residential treatment, yet gives them the opportunity to return home at the end of each treatment day.
If your child is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, and you believe that he or she can benefit from receiving clinically sophisticated care within the confines of a safe, structured, and supportive environment, Youth Care may have the solutions that you have been searching for. With experienced professionals who are dedicated to providing comprehensive services that have been customized to meet your child’s specific needs, Youth Care provides a life-changing opportunity for your son or daughter to overcome the obstacles that have been preventing him or her from living a happy and healthy life and achieving to his or her greatest potential.