The process of adolescents healing from addiction is challenging and extends past treatment. However, during treatment, adolescents can begin to build the necessary life skills that will help them to succeed. These skills will help them to live independently and decrease their likelihood of relapse later in their lives. While the skills will vary for each individual, they will help their recovery by giving them the necessary tools to manage and solve issues and face the challenges they will experience in their lives.
Learning Life Skills
The term “life skills” encompasses the skills necessary for individuals to be able to cope with the challenges and demands of life. These challenges will vary for each individual. However, the skills to manage them generally include improved communication, time management, and problem-solving techniques to manage challenges and daily life.
Every adolescent will have a different starting point when it comes to learning life skills. However, in treatment, each individual will be evaluated and aided on their road to improving current skills and learning new ones. The process of learning life skills is ongoing; however, it begins with the understanding of the skill itself and the knowledge of why it is important to learn it.
Once an adolescent begins to understand the skills necessary for good communication, time management, problem-solving, etc., they can begin to incorporate them into their own lives. In doing so, they begin to take ownership, which helps to empower them. As adolescents continue to grow, their skills will improve and change, but the foundation of these life skills during this stage will help this process.
Value of Life Skills After Treatment
After treatment, adolescents recovering from addiction need to continue to take steps to heal. This includes continually improving and working on life skills. By learning and improving life skills after treatment, adolescents can build resilience, care for themselves better, and manage their relapse risk in the future. Therefore, improving life skills is incredibly valuable for adolescents to heal and thrive after treatment.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains that resilience is an individual’s capacity to deal with challenges and changes in life. This includes dealing with difficult situations and learning from them so that they are better prepared for the next stressor. For adolescents healing from addiction, resilience is important. This is because stress is a part of life. Knowing how to deal with it with resiliency helps protect adolescents from substance abuse in the future.
Learning life skills is an important way to improve resiliency. This is because these skills help them to solve problems and manage their lives, internally and externally. For example, improved communication gives adolescents the tools to set limits and have more intimate and honest relationships. Additionally, skills like time or stress management help them to make changes to build resiliency and better deal with the challenges they experience. Therefore, by learning life skills, adolescents increase their capacity and overall resilience.
As adolescents grow up, they need to learn life skills that help them to care for their needs in adulthood. Ideally, these skills will include some that help them to heal from addiction. Self-care skills include those that help them to care for their needs emotionally, mentally, and physically. Therefore, life skills like managing finances, communication, and healthy eating and exercise habits are vital.
Adolescents are generally still living at home. However, it is the ideal time for them to learn life skills that will help them to heal from addiction now and not fall back into substance abuse in the future. According to research, self-care plays an important role in helping individuals to feel more comfortable in their skin and preventing the abuse of substances in the future. When adolescents learn the skills that they will utilize for self-care in the future, they are helping the healing process and ensuring their health into adulthood.
Managing the Risk of Relapse
After treatment, one of the primary concerns is to manage and decrease an adolescent’s risk of relapse. This generally includes many changes in an adolescent’s life. Often they include who they spend time with, how they spend their time, and improving upon skills that protect them from relapsing. Life skills can help to make this transition and manage their risk of relapse while at home and in the long term.
Improved life skills help to enhance decision-making, problem-solving, and stress management, which ultimately leads to decreased substance use. This is because when adolescents lack life skills, they are more likely to give up on challenging problems. Additionally, they are more likely to be looking for a way to manage stress. However, with improved life skills, they can solve issues and manage their stress levels with healthy communication, external changes, and stress-relieving techniques that help them to keep their distance from substance use and high-risk situations.
When adolescents are healing from addiction, learning life skills helps them to live independently and decreases their chances of relapse. While every adolescent will have their own unique journey, these life skills are often learned in treatment and expanded throughout their lives. At Sustain Recovery, we understand that healing from addiction is a long road. However, we believe that adolescents can learn skills that will help them heal. As they age, these skills will help them to thrive as adults and reduce their chances of relapse. We offer a broad spectrum of treatment options that can help adolescents where they are on their recovery journey. To learn more, call (949) 407-9052 today.