Synthetic marijuana, often referred to as spice or K2, is a dangerous and relatively new drug that was originally designed to mimic the effects of natural marijuana. Made of a collection of various chemicals and plant material, synthetic marijuana provides users with a euphoric high and feelings of detachment from their surroundings. While this drug is popular among young people, it is especially dangerous because manufacturers of the drug are continually altering the mix of chemicals present in an effort to avoid government regulations. Unfortunately, this practice can result in a user not knowing what formulation of the drug he or she is ingesting. The user is often unable to predict the effects of the drug when its contents are unknown, which leaves that individual vulnerable to experiencing extreme feelings of fear and paranoia. Furthermore, because the drug is new, there is little research on the long-term effects of its use. Because of the known dangers associated with K2 use, it is important for adolescents who abuse this drug to receive effective treatment.
Youth Care is an excellent option for young people who are needing to overcome a synthetic marijuana addiction. With over 25 years of experience working with adolescents, we understand the unique treatment needs adolescents have, and our caring and experienced staff are dedicated to creating an environment where young people can take steps towards recovery from an addiction to this toxic drug.
Helping Your Child Get Treatment
It can be excruciating to be a parent of an adolescent who is spiraling into a synthetic marijuana addiction. You may feel as though there little you can do, and that any attempt to help will be ineffective. While it is understandable to feel discouraged, it is important to remember that there is still hope and you can still take steps to help your child. Some of these steps may include:
- Learn what you can about synthetic marijuana. Become familiar with the signs of intoxication and overdose, and talk with mental health experts about what you can do to help your child.
- Research treatment options and select a few that you feel may be a good fit for your child.
- Maintain an open line of communication with your child. Let him or her know in a gentle and nonjudgmental manner that you are aware of his or her synthetic marijuana abuse problem. Your child may resist your efforts to discuss the problem, and may deny having a problem altogether, but it is important for you to take the lead in getting your child the help he or she needs.
- Once your child is in treatment, keep in touch with your child’s therapist and inquire about your child’s progress. If possible, attend family sessions that the center may provide. Also, reiterate frequently to your child that you will always love and be there for him or her.
- Nurture yourself. Parents of adolescents with substance abuse problems can find themselves feeling drained, so make sure to engage in activities that restore you. Take time for your hobbies and relationships, and you might even consider joining a support group for parents of adolescents with substance abuse problems.
Why Consider Treatment at Youth Care
Though it is a new drug, synthetic marijuana has already developed a reputation for being dangerous. People who use it have experienced intense episodes of paranoia and some have even died suddenly as a result of abusing the drug. Because the long-term effects of synthetic marijuana use are not yet known, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Synthetic marijuana use comes with the risk of many negative effects, including poor academic performance, expulsion from school, arrests, loss of career or college options, social isolation, worsening physical health, organ damage, cardiovascular problems, and death from overdose. Seeking treatment for this debilitating addiction, however, can allow a young person to avoid these negative effects completely and can restore their ability to live fruitful and successful lives.
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 synthetic marijuana 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 synthetic marijuana abuse and addiction, his or her personalized treatment plan may feature the following components:
Medication management: If an adolescent’s compulsion to abuse synthetic marijuana 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 synthetic marijuana 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:
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) groups are conducted once each week.
- Addictions 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 synthetic marijuana 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 synthetic marijuana 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 synthetic marijuana 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 synthetic marijuana 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 synthetic marijuana 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.