Treating Young Adults
Young adults under the age of thirty are still experiencing a life stage of internal organ development and maturation; most notably the development of the brain, liver, and other vital organs. Addiction to alcohol or drugs at an early age can result in irreparable damage to an under-developed central nervous system. Due to the seismic differences in physiological development between young adults (e.g., ages 14-29) and older adults (e.g., ages 30-55+), treating younger adult addicts requires specialized care to effectively manage the unique types of long-term health and behavioral issues that arise.
Obstacles and Challenges
Treating young adults is often beset by obstacles and challenges such as complex family issues, unresolved psychological issues, and contemplated or attempted suicide. Late adolescence is a time of intense change for the majority of young people. Life changing events experienced by young adults such as parental divorce, ending a romantic relationship, or failing classes in school requires the help of counselors that are specifically trained to deal with these issues on top of addiction. Substance abuse consumes time and energy needed by young adults to pursue their dreams, career choices, and life partner. Unlike older adults, young adult treatment referral is usually the by-product of family or legal intervention. Adolescent substance abusers are known to act out behaviors that do not readily mix with adult recovery programs.
Types of Drugs Abused by Young Adults
With the emergence of a new class of boutique drugs known as “Bath Salts” and club drugs such as Ecstasy and Meth, many young adults are experimenting with these as well as prescription medications such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. Unfortunately, what many young adult drug users do not realize is that certain types of prescription drugs are as addicting and lethal as street drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin, and Marijuana. Prescription drugs are classified as opioids, depressants, or stimulants.
The most commonly abused opioids by young adults are OxyContin, Vicodin, Darvon, and Demerol. Commonly abused depressants include barbiturates and benzodiazepines (e.g., Valium and Xanax). Young adults also abuse stimulants such as Dexedrine and Ritalin (e.g., prescribed to treat ADHD). With long-term usage, opioids and depressants lead to drug addiction. Excessive usage of stimulants is associated with obsessive-compulsive behavioral disorders, cardiac irregularities, insomnia, and death.
Types of Treatment for Young Adult Addiction
Young adult addiction issues often remain firmly entrenched as long as the young person stays in the familiar environment of the home. The daily pressures, drama, and influences of the social environment at home can greatly impede the development of effective coping skills.
As an alternative to residential treatment programs and schools, Wilderness Therapy is gaining recognition as an effective treatment option for individuals with substance abuse issues. Current research demonstrates that nature exerts a powerful therapeutic impact on physical, psychological, and spiritual development. Among the many reported benefits include reduced stress, higher self-esteem, a deeper sense of connection to community, and being part of something greater than oneself.
Another type of therapeutic intervention program designed to help young adults struggling with addiction and substance abuse issues is residential boarding schools. Boarding school programs may last from six months to two years, depending upon the needs of the individual and availability within the program. Boarding schools emphasize equipping young adults with learning more effective study skills, gaining greater personal responsibility, and discovering healthy outlets for personal expression. The family plays an integral role in building and maintaining healthy relationships and personal boundaries. Instilling healthy patterns of growth and development are established goals and outcomes shared by most nationally recognized boarding school programs.
Long-term, inpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs provide young adult addicts with unlimited time and specialized care needed to begin the process of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Long-term treatment facilities are often staffed by former recovered addicts that are committed to helping others break the pattern of abuse. Long-term residential treatment centers support a changed environment that is separated from all former social influences and pressures.
Burning Tree Provides a Solution for Long-Term, Inpatient Treatment
Long-term, inpatient rehab centers such as Burning Tree specialize in preventing chronic relapse from severe cases of addiction to alcohol or drugs. At Burning Tree, our addiction specialists and therapists monitor residents with around the clock care to ensure maximum comfort and safety. With the help of professionals that are trained to treat addiction and co-occurring disorders, our clients learn to distinguish between healthy and addictive patterns of behavior.
Embarking upon a new life of sobriety requires faith and commitment to let go of the past and allow others that have successfully walked the road of recovery to serve as positive voices of health. Recovery in Burning Tree’s long-term, inpatient rehab program gives our clients time to relearn life skills, grow spiritually in a closer walk with God, address unresolved wounds or hurts from the past, and learn how to identify people, places, or things that trigger drug or alcohol usage. Re-integrating back into the family unit and community as a sober adult extends beyond the walls of rehab to serving the local community in a variety of functions. Engaging emotionally and mentally in Burning Tree’s long-term, inpatient treatment requires a personal investment in a process that progresses in relation to the level of commitment and internalization of values in support of a lifestyle of sobriety.