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The Healthy Family

 

The Importance Of Family
In Youth Addiction Treatment
by Melissa Davis

CDC: Alcohol and Public Health

       Every parent worries about their children falling prey to the scourge of substances. We do our best to educate them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, while simultaneously trying to let them make their own decisions and forge their own way in the world. If your teenager does fall foul of addictive substances, there’s no need to worry. With love and support from their family, they can get their lives back on track. After all, they’re young, and they have their whole lives ahead of them. There’s no reason why an early blip should blight their futures. If anything, it could help them to proceed in a wiser fashion than many of their peers. Here are some treatment methods which are proven to be effective with teenagers suffering from substance abuse issues:

Multidimensional Family Therapy

Teen treatment-programs that measure up

       Many addiction specialists are frustrated that programs for teens don’t involve the family more. It’s been proven that families can have a very important role to play in therapy for any addict - but particularly so for teen addicts, who are still reliant upon their families for physical, financial and crucial emotional support. Multidimensional family therapy helps adolescents to cope with their world through healthier psychological means than substance usage, while simultaneously coaching parents in effective methods of reducing conflict, promoting positive mental health, and providing boundaries in a caring manner. Involving the whole family in this manner enables the healing process to continue outside the therapist's office, and can expose underlying issues which may have contributed to the aberrant behavior. A very important aspect of MFT is that it helps participating families to communicate more effectively with each other, which strengthens family support networks and is of enormous help to those suffering.

Adolescent Community
Reinforcement Approach

Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy

       A-CRA is based around the knowledge that teens use substances because they feel they’re gaining something from it. A-CRA seeks to replace that gain with more positive gains, and to discourage substance usage with (non-harmful) negative reinforcement. It’s about teaching teens and their families to find positive outlets for negative emotions, as well as more effective communication and emotional support skills. Kids are rewarded for positive behavior, and parents are taught to apply boundaries in a non-conflict based manner. A child who sticks to their curfew will be rewarded by having it extended. A child who breaks their curfew will have that curfew set back.

       The focus of A-CRA tends to be on positive rather than negative reinforcement - rewards for good behavior rather than punishment for bad - but there is still a certain element of boundary-enforcing involved. Essentially, A-CRA programs teach teens how to manage their emotions in a positive manner - to make positive life choices, to solve problems effectively, to manage their emotions healthily. And it teaches parents how to encourage and support their children in this. It's not about restricting and punishing problem teens - it's about teaching them that positive choices come with positive rewards and happier lives overall.

Drug Addiction Rehab Centers

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