Treatment of adolescent addiction
Probably many of us have heard the phrase“ drug addiction is getting younger ”. We hasten to disagree with this: drug addiction has always been a disease of young people, since the peculiarities of its development simply do not leave addicts a chance to live to adulthood. Nevertheless, according to statistics, in the last 5-6 years in Ukraine there has indeed been an unprecedented increase in the number of people dependent on drugs and alcohol, and their age has been steadily decreasing.
Treatment of adolescents from drug addiction is impossible without understanding the reasons leading to addiction. Let’s try to figure it out and immediately make a reservation that drug addiction is just one of the negative consequences of many processes in our society, family, and therefore we will pay attention to other addictions.
The problem of teenage drug addiction in Ukraine
The problem of drug addiction in Ukraine has always existed, but if earlier it was urgent only for certain regions, today it has acquired the character of an epidemic. In recent years, adolescent drug addiction has developed rapidly, and the basis of such changes in our society has become the availability of drugs that can be bought online, using advertisements on city buildings, etc.
But the problem of drug addiction and alcoholism is much deeper, and the availability of drugs alone would not have such dramatic consequences under certain conditions. The studies carried out show that in our country, as in the entire post-Soviet space, there is a tendency of “early trial”. Our teenagers are very early adopters of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs.
According to the conducted research, even before their majority, about 80% of boys and 70% of girls had experience of smoking. At the age of 13-15, adolescents only experiment with cigarettes, and after 1-2 years tobacco products become an obligatory attribute of their image. It is in this place that the prevention of drug addiction in adolescents would be appropriate, since addiction is a universal reaction of the body.
The problem of teenage alcoholism in Ukraine
The situation with alcohol is no less deplorable. The dominance of “light alcohol” on store shelves, the possibility of free purchase of alcoholic beverages, and the drinking traditions of our people are the main reasons for the alcohol abuse of adolescents. The number of those who have not tried alcohol at all is negligible among teenagers. Having reached the age of 15-16, young people drink alcohol at least once a week. More than once a week, about 10% of adolescents arrange “fasting” days for themselves, and about 3% of boys and 1% of girls at such a young age can be considered addicted to alcohol. In addition, among the youth, the number of those who prefer “cultural” rest has significantly increased – they drink in bars and nightclubs. The incentive to such a pastime is a feeling of freedom, friendliness, detachment from external problems.
The Transformation Rehabilitation Center offers anonymous assistance to drug addicted teenagers.
Attention to the situation and statistics
The drug addiction problem is regularly reported in the media and on television drug addicts who have lost their human appearance, talking about the prospects of their further existence. Despite this, adolescents quite easily adhere to the camp of those for whom drugs are a way and an option for recreation. “Fashionable”, “cool”, adult-like “- this is how they justify their first experience. According to surveys, teenagers most often decide to try drugs at the age of 14-16.
Teenage drug addiction in our country is more typical for large cities, and by the age of 18, the number of addicted to various kinds of drugs increases significantly. In this age period, up to 30% of guys and up to 12% of girls manage to try drugs. Most often it is marijuana or hashish.
Most commonly used by young people
The most common psychoactive substances that young people use are: glue, alcohol in combination with drugs, tranquilizers, sedatives, LSD, amphetamines, cocaine, crack, heroin … Gradually, elements of the so-called “drug culture” become part of the consciousness of adolescents, although there were much fewer people before those who had heard anything about certain drugs, methods of their preparation and use. For example, only 13% of respondents knew about amphetamines in the mid-nineties, and today their number has grown to 35%, and about 1% of them have already tried this type of drug.
“Fashionable” heroin and cocaine are most popular with girls. Ecstasy is actively promoted among the youth, about which up to 40% of respondents have heard. By the way, among those who are familiar with such a drug as marijuana, 11% have already tried it at least once in their life.
Drugs such as hashish and glue are considered affordable by adolescents, and when asked where they can be purchased, about 5% of respondents named a school or other educational institution … Over the past 20 years, the number of those who consider marijuana and ecstasy unhealthy has also changed – now there are 10% fewer of them.
The first experience of acquaintance with substances that alter consciousness occurs, as a rule, in a company, and about 6% of cases are in a company of friends whose lifestyle is illegal.
What are the reasons for such devastating consequences in our society?
They are social in nature – they are
- indifference based on poor economic development of the state
- “adult” movies with tough guys
- complete decline of the socio-cultural environment
- no goals or targets.
Addiction in adolescents: how to recognize the problem in time? Signs of drug poisoning
By far the best way to combat substance abuse is to prevent teenage drug abuse. But, unfortunately, for most of us the problem becomes obvious when it is no longer possible to do without the help of specialists.
There are direct and related signs that your child is addicted to drugs. Accompanying ones are changes in the lifestyle habitual for an ordinary teenager, which are expressed in difficult relationships with friends, in problems at school, theft, etc. Direct signs change depending on the type of drugs used, the stage of addiction. Some drugs cause minor changes in the child’s behavior, but attentive parents always notice them:
- speech too slow or too fast;
- wobbly gait;
- severe drowsiness (characteristic of opiates or pharmaceutical drugs with a sedative effect);
- narrow pupils that do not respond to changes in light levels (a typical reaction of the body when using an opiate group of substances);
- wide pupils that do not respond to light (a characteristic sign of psychotropic substance use);
- prolonged insomnia followed by prolonged sleep;
- red eyes (after using marijuana);
- excessive dry mouth;
- increased appetite or its complete absence (the first symptom is typical for cannabis users, but with opiate or psychotropic substances, there is no appetite).
Signs of teenage drug addiction
Signs of addiction can be any deviation from the usual behavior, so we recommend that you be vigilant. The final verdict can be made using special test systems that are freely sold in pharmacy chains.
Now let’s talk about the typical mistakes parents make after establishing the fact of a child’s addiction to certain drugs:
- Tight control. This is the habitual reaction of parents who now want to keep everything under control. However, if a problem has already arisen in your family, this will not help keep your teenager from using drugs. A typical reaction of an addict to such actions of his parents is aggression, alienation, secrecy.
- Condemnation. No matter how hard it is, you need to accept any fact without condemnation, otherwise the teenager will hide information about himself.
- Confrontation. Another typical behavior model of parents who decide to fight for the future of their child is prohibitions to communicate with friends, clarify relations with the parents of your child’s “dysfunctional” friends, etc. All this by no means conducive to a trusting relationship between parents and a teenager.
- Covering. In no case should you take responsibility for everything your child does, to myself. He must be punished, otherwise he will have the illusion that the problem does not exist.
- Ignoring the problem. For a very long time we do not attach importance to the obvious facts, considering the addictions of our children whim, temporary misunderstandings. However, we strongly recommend sounding the alarm even when your child has been seen smoking, as this is already a sign of chemical addiction.
Stages of teenage drug addiction
Treatment of adolescent drug addiction should be started as early as possible, since its effectiveness depends on what stage of drug addiction the person is at. All psychoactive substances have a deadly property in common: they cause physical and psychological dependence, subjugating the body and consciousness of a person.
Stage 1. The beginning of all addicts is horribly banal. Conflict with comrades, drama with your girlfriend, parental control – there can be a great many reasons for forgetting. There are always faithful “friends” nearby who will tell you how you can alleviate your suffering, moreover, once does not solve anything. If you refuse, they see you as a “weakling” and not old enough to experience the pleasure that real men have.
Stage 2. You can get to the second stage very quickly, and usually it is not noticed at all. Drugs are becoming a part of your life. Periodically resorting to their “help”, a person gradually ceases to control how often he does it, what changes occur in his body. Drugs partially replace the functions of our hormones, and the body goes into an economical mode of operation. Thus, physical dependence arises, and the body requires a new dose, since without it it is no longer able to function normally. Marijuana is replaced by amphetamine or other strong drugs, and your mind finds new reasons to justify the addiction.
Stage 3. Critical stage – from now on, the addict devotes all his time to finding drugs. The next dose is a need, so a person’s habit now controls his essence. The main problem now is money, and there is always a lack of it. Theft, lies, prostitution, crimes and even murder help to correct the situation.
Stage 4. The addict’s life is already drawing to a close. For drug addicts, it is measured in years of suffering. With intravenous use of narcotic substances, a person lasts for 6-8 years, and other “chemistry” can give a person only a few months, or even days. It all depends on the type of drugs and the individual characteristics of the organism.
Treatment for adolescent addiction
Recently, a number of methods for getting rid of drug addiction have been proposed, among which the most famous are coding (hypnosis), therapy with receptor blockers responsible for receiving pleasure, etc. Unfortunately, none of these methods is self-sufficient, since they do not consider the disease as a combination of spiritual, psychological and physical factors that have a direct impact on addiction.
Read more about the 12 step adolescent drug addiction treatment program, see the 12 step infographic
The 12 Steps Methodology at the Transformation Center for Teenagers’ Rehabilitation
Acknowledging Our Powerlessness: The first step in the program for the addict is to admit that he is no longer in control of his own life. Understanding that we cannot save our lives on our own is the first step to our recovery.
In his struggle with the disease, the patient can enlist the help of God, such as he sees him.
The patient learns to trust the power that leads him to recovery; he completely delegates control of his life to this power.
The stage of careful introspection: the patient reveals his hidden fears and negative experiences to the group in order to understand the root cause of the development of the disease.
The patient accepts himself and his negative experience; he admits his mistakes not only to himself, but also to his loved ones and to God leading him.
The patient prepares for active actions aimed at getting rid of the disease. He understands that alcohol or drugs is not the cause of addiction. The reason lies in himself. You can defeat addiction only by changing yourself.
Based on the experience of other members of the group, patients begin to correct their own behavioral patterns, correcting their shortcomings.
The patient makes a list of the people he has harmed during his illness and prepares himself to apologize for the pain and make amends.
The patient apologizes and compensates for the damage to all people offended by him. Thus, he gets rid of remorse and forgives himself.
The patient develops the habit of constantly analyzing his actions and immediately admitting his mistakes. This is learning self-control and responsibility for his life
The patient continues his path of reflection. This allows him to develop the spiritual essence of the addict, his moral sphere.
The patient uses the knowledge gained during the course to help himself and other victims of addiction. He uses these skills in all areas of his life, thus achieving inner harmony and happiness.
One of the most effective methods of treating any type of addiction is the “12 steps” program, which was developed and began to be practiced back in the 30s of the last century. It is a clear algorithm that allows the addict to take the most difficult and most memorable steps in his life. It is a path to healing, a set of fundamentally spiritual principles that shape the addict’s new way of life and help him free himself from the shackles of addiction.
Treatment of adolescents from alcoholism and drug addiction according to the “12 steps” method is tens of thousands of people who have returned to a normal life, full of events and happy moments. The principles of the program form the basis of the course of treatment practiced in the rehabilitation center “Transformation”. An important distinction of the clinic is an integrated approach to treatment, which covers all spheres of human life and helps to form new principles of existence.
Conventionally, the program is divided into several stages. Each of them is important and obligatory, but the basis of the course of treatment is a rehabilitation program, which includes individual work with an addict and group lessons, activities aimed at spiritual revival of a person, the development of creative skills, etc. An obligatory stage is the social adaptation of addicts or resocialization, in which experienced psychologists help former drug addicts become part of society, learn to overcome problems without the “help” of substances that change consciousness.
The rehabilitation of addicts does not end there: all of them remain in the field of vision of the specialists of the Transformation center – this is the best prevention of relapses and the opportunity to come to their aid in time in a difficult situation. Regular meetings in special camps help to feel strong and not alone, where you can be inspired by the experience of others and help those in need, take part in competitions and concerts.
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