Why Do We Need More Addiction Specialists Focused on Teens?

Why Do We Need More Addiction Specialists Focused on Teens?

The rising trend in teen drug use has spurred a need for more addiction specialists to specialize in working with this demographic. Many experts feel that these treatment clinics will be more effective at treating teen addiction due to their specific experience and knowledge of the demographic.

What Is an Addiction Specialist?

Addiction specialists hold qualified training in addiction recovery. Yet, one specializing in teen addictions has necessary training regarding adolescent development. This includes being familiar with the brain’s development through adolescence and age-appropriate topics such as sexuality and body image. They provide the best possible care for teens seeking recovery.

Addiction specialists can work in many different environments, such as treatment centers, rehabilitation facilities, community health centers, and substance use clinics. Addiction specialists can also work in private practice or provide counseling services online. It’s essential to understand the differences between these professionals before choosing a specialist to help your teen with addiction recovery. Such knowledge can help you find the most suitable treatment program or team for your child.

The Challenge Teens Face Finding a Treatment Program

People with substance use disorders (SUDs) typically respond well to treatment, but according to reports, “1 in 10 people with a substance use disorder receive any specific treatment.” This is particularly true for teens, who are often less likely than adults to seek help for their issues. Unfortunately, teen addiction is common and often goes untreated, and most young people who need treatment are not getting it.

Most rehabs or specialists appeal to older people who have years of substance abuse behind them. Still, teens have shorter histories of substance abuse and tend to be more impulsive than adults, so they need different services and approaches from their addiction specialists.

Understands Unique Stressors and Challenges of Teens

As experts in the field at Clearfork Academy, we don't treat teens like adults and then expect them to stay in recovery. It is essential that teens work with addiction specialists who understand their stressors and challenges. Based on research, teens experience unique stressors and challenges, including:

  • How trauma and stress affect teens
  • How teens learn
  • How peer pressure, especially in social media, affects teens
  • How family dynamics affect teens
  • The unique interaction between teens and their family, friends, and peers
  • The feelings and issues they face
  • The importance of structure for teens
  • The impact of negative self-image, such as low self-esteem or body dysmorphic disorder
  • Social pressures often come at this age, including bullying

To complicate matters further, teenagers undergo rapid physical and mental changes while going through puberty. This causes stress hormones such as cortisol to spike during adolescence. High levels of cortisol make teen brains prone to addiction and make withdrawal symptoms harder on teenage addicts than on adults. We recommend specialists who can relate to the unique situations and problems teens face. A go-to person trained in adolescent development can make all the difference.

Meets the Unique Needs of Teens

Teens tend to fear seeking treatment because their needs vary from what most centers or specialists can provide. For many teens, they seek the following to benefit from treatment or addiction counseling:

  • A safe space for expressing themselves. This is especially true when discussing sensitive topics like SUD, trauma, and stressors. If the specialists fail to develop a rapport and trust between themselves and the teen, it could cause a block to the teen's recovery. An addiction specialist with the proper training will hold the tools to connect with a teen.
  • Someone who will listen without judgment. Everyone knows that teens sometimes make questionable decisions, but no one wants to be judged for their past mistakes, especially not by someone they don't know that well. A youth-focused specialist will understand this and emphasize their progress. Plus, they can create space to help teens face their past mistakes with compassion, not shame.

Skilled in Relapse Prevention

Teens often struggle with life skills and coping skills. These skills are often underdeveloped in teens since they lack the opportunity to have cultivated them. Notably, teen addiction specialists understand these particular circumstances for teens, especially relapse prevention.

Relapse is a possibility during the recovery process for all addicts. Still, teens who do not receive specialized treatment during their initial recovery period can experience a greater likelihood of relapse after completing therapy than their adult counterparts. A qualified specialist can assist with the following for relapse prevention:

  • Help them develop coping mechanisms to withstand triggers and stressors before entering the “real world”
  • Teach adolescents how to deal with conflict resolution within relationships
  •  Help teens establish their core values to make good decisions later in life

Adolescent addiction specialists such as the specialists at Clearfork Academy focus on teens. We have a clear understanding of the developmental needs of this age group and the mental health issues that may arise. We are equipped to help teens build resiliency and healthy coping skills to reduce the risk of relapse. Teens who see seek help from us are more likely to feel comfortable expressing themselves. Our specialists offer support tailored to teenage development, school-related stressors, family dynamics, peer relationships, and childhood trauma that a general specialist may not address. Fortunately, there are many treatment programs designed specifically for this age group, but our team of licensed clinicians offers specialized training in helping adolescents develop healthier coping mechanisms. Our treatment programs will help your teen recover from drug abuse in a safe and healthy environment. For more information about our program, call us today at (817) 259-2597.

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