In What Ways Can We Help Adolescents Remain in Treatment?

In What Ways Can We Help Adolescents Remain in Treatment?

By: Cumberland Heights

adolescent addict talking with motherThe adolescent stage is a unique period of a person’s life because of all of the developmental changes, both physically and mentally. When addiction becomes involved, youth are significantly at risk for getting into trouble at school, at home, with peers and with their health overall. According to a review published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, there are a number of factors that place youth at risk for addiction, such as: exposure to drugs, socioeconomic status, quality of parenting, peer group influence and genetic predisposition to addiction. When an adolescent engages in addiction, recovery can be challenging based on their age and mentality alone. What can we do to help keep our teens in treatment?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) argues that there are several effective forms of treatment for adolescents, which may include behavioral approaches, family-based approaches, medication assistance and more. Most likely it will depend on the circumstance of the adolescent to determine what type of treatment would best suit them, but there are a number of treatment elements that all adolescents should receive in order to find promising, long-lasting recovery results after formalized treatment.

A few years ago, researchers from Texas assessed the results of 547 youth from various treatment centers to find out what worked for them in terms of long-term recovery – and what didn’t. They found that teens who used drugs after their program ended tended to:

  • Drink alcohol
  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Not use condoms
  • Experience psychological distress
  • Engage in criminal behaviors
  • Skip school

Teens who didn’t revert to addiction-related behaviors tended to have the following both before and during formal treatment:

  • Higher motivation in recovery
  • Stronger counselor and peer-to-peer relationships
  • Retainment in treatment programs

How can we make sure our youth are receiving more of the latter and less of the former? Researchers believe that the motivation of teens can be cultivated more during the beginning phases of treatment. Motivation enhancement therapy (MET) could be an excellent approach but being able to engage in other activities and to find great connections through treatment could also spark more motivation for youth as well.


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-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-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.

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