Ongoing Support for Teens in Recovery

The external and internal influences that created a person’s drug addiction and alcoholism do not disappear after he completes one or more stints in an addiction recovery program. An addict can be released from a recovery program feeling refreshed and energized, and fully intent to stay away from drugs and alcohol, but reality can sweep in and defeat even the most resolved recovering addict. Teens who are in the early stages of recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism are particularly prone to the forces and temptations that led them into substance abuse. More than other recovering addicts, teens need ongoing support after their initial withdrawal and rehab to keep them on a path to long-term sobriety.

“Aftercare Therapy”
Aftercare therapy and ongoing support for teens who are recovering from drug addiction or alcoholism can include several different types of therapies, educational programs, participation in substance-free social and vocational activities, temporary residency in a transitional halfway house, and behavioral counseling to teach the recovering teen how to handle the internal and external stresses that formed the sparks for his addiction. Individual, one-on-one counseling is effective to diagnose and treat depression, anxiety, or other psychological disorders that might have contributed to a teen’s substance abuse. Addiction and alcoholism are illnesses that are separate from other psychological disorders and that need to be treated separately to ensure a successful recovery. Group therapy will be better able to help a recovering teen to manage and maintain his sobriety while giving him peer group support that he can turn to when he faces temptations to use drugs or alcohol.

“Substance Abuse Education”
Substance abuse education and behavioral and occupational therapy can also be important components of a teen’s aftercare addiction program. A teen in recovery can rely on this education and therapy to learn how to recognize certain behaviors that lead to drug or alcohol use. He is also likely to experience bouts of boredom or uncertainty leading from a lack of knowledge and experience regarding activities that he can participate in as a substitute for drugs and alcohol. Addictive substances have a way of crowding ideas about alternative activities out of an addict’s mind. Educational and experiential programs can be useful to expose teens in recovery to various artistic or athletic opportunities that they would never have considered while they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. From a broader perspective, these programs will also teach teens alternative coping mechanisms to deal with the stresses and disappointments that they may experience as a regular part of their lives.

“Aftercare Therapy”
Aftercare therapy for teens can also include more mundane requirements including regular testing for drug or alcohol use. As invasive and annoying as drug testing may seem to a teen, it can add structure and support to his life. Knowing that he will be tested for alcohol or drug use, either on a regular basis or at random, can be a strong motivating factor that helps a teen to stay away from those substances.

“Pharmaceutical Therapy”
Some teens who are at the farthest outpost of aftercare therapy might benefit from pharmaceutical therapy that substitutes low-risk medical substances for drugs or alcohol. Those substances can help to reduce cravings that lead to a relapse during early stages of aftercare support. All use of those substances should be temporary and should be administered only under careful supervision of an addiction recovery physician.

Sustain Recovery Services in southern California can help to provide ongoing support for adolescents and young adults who are recovering from drug addiction and alcoholism. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information about our services or to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our counselors.