Teen & Adolescent Addiction Therapy in Substance Use & Mental Health Treatment

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Addiction Therapies in Adolescent Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Treatment

Substance use is a highly complex condition. To be effectively treated, it must be thoroughly addressed on various levels. Substance use affects much more than the physical body; it ravages the mind and completely destroys an individual’s emotional well-being. At Guardian Recovery, we utilize various therapeutic tools and methods throughout every stage of the treatment process. All of the therapeutic techniques we utilize have been heavily researched and proven effective for the treatment of substance use disorders in adolescents.

Addiction Therapies & Their Role in Holistic Treatment & Recovery

Millions of teens are affected by substance use every year. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 3.7 million adolescents, ages 12 to 17, reportedly engaged in the use of a substance in 2021. (1) That same year, approximately 1.2 million adolescents met the diagnostic criteria and were diagnosed with a substance use disorder. (2) Addiction therapy is the process of an individual experiencing a substance use disorder receiving psychological treatment that a licensed mental health professional provides. Teen addiction therapy allows adolescents the opportunity to be able to develop the necessary techniques needed to overcome their substance use. 

The Goal of Therapies in Effective Recovery of Adolescen

While each teen receiving treatment has their own goals, effective adolescent addiction therapy typically has the following goals: (3) 

  • Helping each teen reduce their engagement with substance use and aiding them in achieving an abstinent lifestyle. 
  • Helping each teen learn to maximize various aspects of their lives. 
  • Preventing the occurrence of relapses. 

Addressing Triggers & Underlying Issues

Substance use therapy helps teens learn to identify and address any behaviors or triggers that may be contributing to their mental health or substance use concerns. During therapy specifically crafted for substance use, the therapist will ask the client to describe any triggers or negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that may be related to their substance use. (4) This helps the teen not only develop insight on their behaviors, but learn adaptive coping techniques as well. 

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What Types of Addiction Therapies Are Offered for Teen Treatment?

There are different types of addiction therapies that are offered for teens experiencing substance use disorders. 

Types of teen addiction therapy options include: 

  • Individual Therapy.
  • Family Therapy.
  • Group Therapy.

In addition to different types of addiction therapies, there are also different therapeutic treatment modalities that can be utilized during the treatment of adolescent substance use disorders.

Therapeutic treatment modalities utilized in adolescent addiction therapy include: 

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) : Focuses on the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and helps teens replace their negative thoughts with more productive ones. 
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) : Similar to CBT, however, it focuses on emotional regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness techniques. 
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI): Focuses on helping clients address their ambivalence to change. 
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR):  Helps those with underlying trauma process their emotions and learn effective behavioral techniques. 
  • Experiential Therapy:  Focuses on addressing and processing feelings through a variety of alternative methods, ultimately allowing for a greater chance of maintaining abstinence. 
  • Recreational Therapy:   Focuses on physical wellness and coping mechanisms. 
  • Life Skills Training:  Focuses on the development of necessary tools and skills needed to reach and maintain recovery. 
  • Holistic Therapies:  Focuses on treating the mind, body, soul, and spirit as a whole.  

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Tailoring Evidence-Based Therapies & Treatment for the Individual Needs of Your Teen

At Guardian Recovery, we believe in tailoring each therapeutic intervention to meet the specific treatment needs of each client. Research has found that utilizing evidence-based therapy ensures that counselors assess treatment practices and apply them to each individual client’s circumstances. (5) 

The Effectiveness of Addiction Therapies for Adolescent Mental Health

There has been extensive research regarding the effectiveness of different evidence-based therapies for adolescents experiencing substance use disorders. CBT has been found to be effective in the treatment of substance use disorders. (6) Research has also found that those receiving DBT treatment were more likely to achieve full remission when compared to other treatment options. (7) Additionally, EMDR has been found to be effective in reducing PTSD symptoms in those with co-occurring substance use disorders. (8)

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a curated list of frequently asked questions regarding addiction therapies in adolescent substance use disorder treatment.

At Guardian Recovery, we can offer your child an initial psychological assessment to help determine the presence of any mental health or substance use disorders. An individualized treatment plan will then be created that outlines which treatment program your child will attend and for how long.

Addiction therapies differ from general counseling in the fact that they are solely catered to those experiencing substance use disorders. General counseling can be used to help treat broader mental health concerns. 

Yes, addiction therapy can help your teen address any underlying behavioral or mental health concerns. Mental health and substance use often occur simultaneously, and they both can influence the other. (9)  At Guardian Recovery, we offer dual diagnosis treatment for those experiencing both substance use and mental health concerns. 

Yes, addiction therapy is appropriate for teens ages 12 to 17 experiencing substance use disorder, regardless of the severity level. Depending on the severity of your child’s substance use, other treatment modalities may be utilized as well. 

Yes, at Guardian Recovery, we tailor each therapeutic intervention to meet each child’s specific treatment needs. 

There are various ways that families can support their child’s therapy goals. Being open and adaptable to incorporating the techniques discussed during sessions throughout your family’s daily routine is one of the best ways to support teens receiving substance use treatment. Additionally at Guardian Recovery, we offer family therapy sessions to help promote healthy familial bonds and communication techniques.  

Our Simple Admissions Process

If your teen is engaging in substance use, treatment may be needed. At Guardian Recovery, we offer comprehensive and evidence-based treatment options for teens experiencing substance disorders. We help each teen learn the psychoeducation behind substance use and develop recovery-focused skills. One of our Treatment Advisors is ready to hear from you and guide you through our simple admissions process. A free, no-obligation insurance benefits check can be provided to help you determine which of our treatment options is covered by your health insurance plan. Teen substance abuse recovery is possible at Guardian Recovery. Contact us to start your recovery and wellness journey today.

Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

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