Adolescents and Addiction Recovery: Why Love and Service Are Important


Adolescents and Addiction Recovery: Why Love and Service Are ImportantIt is often during adolescence that substance use is first introduced; young teens discover it via friends, parties, and even through family members and accessibility is the first step to use. Whether it’s from peer pressure, impulsivity, socialization or all of the above, teens are at high risk for abusing – and becoming addicted to – substances. Genetic vulnerability, lack of supervision, and even the stage of development an adolescent is in can greatly influence their risk of addiction. Once in recovery, support is crucial to help a teen find their grounding again. If you’re a friend, parent, guardian or loved one, knowing some of the factors that can really stand out for your teen in terms of recovery can be a great benefit.

Adolescents learn, think, and behave differently than someone who is more developed, which is why this stage of life is such a vulnerable time. In 2016, researchers from Ohio sought to find out how love and service impacted adolescents who were in recovery from addiction. A total of 195 teens were who were referred to a residential treatment center by court were assessed throughout their stay. The researchers found some information that is truly remarkable:

As adolescents are building their sense of identity, they may engage in more trouble-making behavior if they’re missing the support they need either emotionally or materially. Social trends can cause some teens to feel as though they don’t “fit in”, and so they turn to substances to try and bridge that gap. Adolescence is also a time where a lot of physiological changes are taking place, and this can cause low self-esteem. During recovery, love and service exercises – such as helping other through volunteer work – can increase a teen’s sense of leadership and humility. The researchers found that teens who engaged in service showed reduced rates of returning to their old behaviors.

Our teens often need to feel heard, and by giving them a chance to help others during their time in treatment, we give them a purpose. A voice. Recovery is a lifelong process, but the skills that teens can gain from their recovery program are ones that can last a lifetime. The structure and support provided can offer teens the time and space needed to work through their problems and overcome their addiction. If you have a teen who needs help, stay supportive of their recovery, and guide them every step of the way. Their entire life could change.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-campus, we are made up of 2 twelve-step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.