When a young person consumes alcohol, is unable to stop, and is experiencing negative consequences from his or her continued use, he or she may be diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder. Although the legal drinking age in the United States is 21, many young people still illegally consume alcohol. The effects of alcohol abuse among pre-teens and adolescents are no less severe than the effects of alcohol abuse among adults and, in some cases, may be even more severe. Young people are at just as much risk, if not more risk, of organ damage, academic problems, legal difficulties, social strain, and dependence as their adult counterparts when they abuse alcohol. While the effects of alcohol abuse for young people can be severe, there is hope. With expert treatment, it is possible for young people to overcome an alcohol abuse problem and regain a sober life.
At Youth Care, we understand the difficulties faced by young people who abuse alcohol and are proud to offer the effective and life-changing care that can free youth from the grips of alcohol abuse. Our compassionate staff is dedicated to helping children and adolescents live healthier lives with the ability to abstain from the use of alcohol.
Helping Your Child Get Treatment
Seeing your child battle alcohol abuse can be a profoundly painful experience, and you have likely tried nearly everything you can think of to help your child. While you are likely feeling a wide range of emotions from fear to frustration to sadness to self-doubt, there are some ways you can continue to help, such as:
- Research alcohol abuse among pre-teens and adolescents and speak with mental health treatment professionals. These sources can provide you with additional information and ideas for how to best handle your child’s alcohol abuse.
- Talk openly with your child. Let him or her know in a nonjudgmental fashion that you are aware of his or her struggle with alcohol abuse. Reiterate your love for him or her and express your concern in an open and nonthreatening manner.
- Develop a safety plan in the event your child consumes too much alcohol. Drinking too much could result in alcohol poisoning, which could require medical attention. Learn about the signs of alcohol poisoning and determine when it is necessary to seek emergency medical services.
- Look into treatment centers and consider a few that may be a good fit for your son or daughter. Be sure to consider the needs of your child when researching centers and consider those that offer specialized programming designed for youth who struggle with the abuse of alcohol.
- Once you have chosen a treatment center, set up appointments with treatment center staff. Offer to provide supplemental information to treatment staff, and remain closely connected with your child throughout his or her time in treatment. If the center you choose offers family sessions, try your best to attend as many as possible.
- Take care of yourself. Try to maintain your own hobbies and social connections, and consider joining a support group for parents of children with alcohol abuse problems.
Why Consider Treatment at Youth Care
Alcohol abuse at any age is a serious problem, and perhaps even moreso among young people. Pre-teens and adolescents who struggle with alcohol abuse run the risk of experiencing significant social stresses, problems at school, academic expulsion, and legal problems. They may derail career plans or lose options for attending college. Because alcohol reduces inhibitions, they are also in danger of engaging in risky behaviors like unsafe sex, possibly resulting in unplanned pregnancy or contracting a sexually transmitted infection or disease. They are also at risk for potentially fatal drunk driving accidents or overdoses. While the consequences of alcohol abuse among young adults can be severe and life-altering, it is possible for a young person to overcome an alcohol abuse problem by receiving caring and comprehensive treatment.
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 alcohol abuse and addiction. 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 alcohol abuse and addiction, his or her personalized treatment plan may feature the following components:
Medication management: If an adolescent’s dependence on 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 alcohol 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.
- Recreational therapy groups are conducted twice each week.
- Music therapy groups are conducted once each week.
- Process groups are held 3 times each week.
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) groups are conducted once 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 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 alcohol 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 alcohol 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:
- Exposure therapy
- Expressive therapy
- Situational therapy
Community service activities: All Youth Care students, including those who are receiving treatment for alcohol 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:
- Caring for animals at the Humane Society
- Filling shelves at the Food Bank
- Visiting the elderly
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 alcohol 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 has 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.