Can AA Be Adapted for Adolescent Patients?
AA can absolutely be adapted for adolescent patients, many of whom can benefit in a number of ways from the program. If you or your loved one is struggling with substance abuse and addiction, call 800-839-1686Who Answers? now to find rehab centers where you can get the help you need.
AA for Adolescents
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Substance use disorders are primary, multifaceted illnesses that exist in people of all ages, including adolescents.” Adolescent individuals who do become addicted to drugs and alcohol also have a number of specific needs that affect them as a group.
As such, treatment for adolescent individuals must be readily available, and it also must reflect the needs of this particular group in order to be successful. AA, one of the most flexible and popular treatment options for addiction, can be altered easily in order to fit the requirements of those patients in this position.
AA for Adolescents in Professional Treatment
One of the most important things to remember is that adolescent patients require professional rehab treatment just like individuals in any other age group do (National Institute on Drug Abuse).
Starting off with formal rehab is often necessary to a safe and strong recovery in adolescent patients, and many rehab facilities also offer AA meetings and 12-step facilitation and philosophies as part of recovery. This can be extremely beneficial to recovering addicts in their teens.
SAMHSA goes on to state that the first five steps (those which are often taught and utilized in early recovery) can be presented in such a way that they are especially beneficial to adolescents.
- Step One: Adolescents must understand that their substance abuse, which should be reviewed in detail, was harmful to them and those they love and that they will require support in order to stop.
- Step Two: Adolescent patients can benefit in this step by talking to others who have made progress and are even leaving treatment. This can instill a feeling of hope.
- Step Three: This step can be modified for adolescent patients to help them look outside themselves for answers to those who want what’s best for them: their parents, teachers, and counselors.
- Step Four and Five: The patient is able to talk about some of their past experiences and open up to someone (usually the counselor) without fear of judgment. This can be extremely beneficial in helping adolescent patients start to make a change.
Once the individual leaves their treatment program, a number of other aspects of AA can be adapted for them, either by broadening the meaning of the language, encouraging them to seek support from others, or urging them to attend meetings.
AA is a very flexible program that can be adapted for adolescents, especially during addiction rehab.
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