Teen Substance Abuse
Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment
Ironwood Adolescent Residential Treatment Center
"Want your child back?. . . we know how."
Ironwood offers the most clinically advanced therapeutic program for teens who abuse drugs, are defiant and
disengaged. We have the expertise to help your teen succeed and reunite your family.
Center for Discovery Teen Substance Abuse Treatment Center
Center for Discovery is trusted by the leading doctors, clinicians, dietitians, and insurance organizations in the
country and many of our residents are referred to us through medical and therapeutic professionals. If your teen or
adolescent is dealing with substance abuse, we can help. Please call us today at 1-866-458-5441
I. What is substance abuse?
First you take a drink, then the drink takes
then the drink takes you. - F. Scott Fitzgerald
In a recent study by the University of Michigan,
8th, 10th, and 12th graders across the country are continuing to show a
gradual decline in the proportions reporting use of illicit drugs.
"The cumulative declines since recent peak levels of drug involvement in the mid-1990s are quite
substantial, especially among the youngest students," said U-M Distinguished Research Scientist Lloyd
Johnston, the principal investigator of the MTF study.
The proportion of 8th graders reporting use of an illicit drug at least once in the 12 months prior to the
survey (called annual prevalence) was 24 percent in 1996 but has fallen to 13 percent by 2007, a drop of
nearly half. The decline has been less among 10th graders, from 39 percent to 28 percent between 1997
and 2007, and least among 12th graders, a decline from the recent peak of 42 percent in 1997 to 36
percent this year.
Among the substances abused are: alcohol,
tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, opiates, "club drugs"
(ecstasy, etc.). stimulants, hallucinogens, inhalants, prescription
drugs, and steroids.
Drug and substance abuse among teenagers,
is substantial. Among youth age 12 to 17, about 1.1 million
meet the diagnostic criteria for dependence on drugs, and
about 1 million are treated for alcohol dependency.
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From the National Institute of Health:
From 2006 to 2007, the percentage of 8th graders reporting lifetime use of any illicit drug declined from 20.9% to 19.0%.
Reported past year use among 8th graders declined from 14.8% to 13.2%.
Past year prevalence has fallen by 44% among 8th graders since the peak year of 1996.
Past year prevalence has fallen 27% among 10th graders and 15% among 12th graders since the peak year of 1997.
In 2007, 15.4% of 12th graders reported using a prescription drug nonmedically within
the past year2. Vicodin continues to be abused at unacceptably high levels. Attitudes toward substance abuse, often seen as harbingers of change in abuse rates, were mostly stable. However, among 8th graders, perceived risk of harm
associated with MDMA decreased for the third year in a row. Attitudes towards using LSD also softened among 10th graders this year.
Between 2005 and 2007, past year abuse of MDMA increased among 12th
graders from 3.0% to 4.5%; and between 2004 and 2007, past year abuse of MDMA increased among 10th graders from 2.4% to 3.5%.
The remaining statistically significant increases
involved teen alcohol use. The percentage of 10th graders who had
been drunk in the past year rose from 38.3 in 1998 to 40.9
in 1999. Also, the percentage of 8th graders having 5+ drinks
during the 2 weeks prior to being surveyed increased from
13.7 in 1998 to 15.2 in 1999.
Teenagers at risk for substance abuse include
those with a family history of substance abuse, who have low
self-esteem, who feel hopelessly alienated, as if they don't
fit in, or who are depressed.
II. What are the Symptoms of Teen Substance
Symptoms of Teen Substance abuse include
- Sudden personality changes that include
in work or school attendance, quality of work, work output,
- Unusual flare-ups or outbreaks of
- Withdrawal from responsibility
- General changes in overall attitude
- Loss of interest in what were once
favorite hobbies and pursuits
- Changes in friends and reluctance
to have friends visit or talk about them
- Difficulty in concentration, paying
- Sudden jitteriness, nervousness,
- Increased secretiveness
- Deterioration of physical appearance
- Wearing of sunglasses at inappropriate
- Continual wearing of long-sleeved
garments particularly in hot weather or reluctance to wear
short-sleeved attire when appropriate
- Association with known substance
- Unusual borrowing of money from friends,
co-workers or parents
- Stealing small items from employer,
home or school
- Secretive behavior regarding actions
and possessions; poorly concealed attempts to avoid attention
and suspicion such as frequent trips to storage rooms, restroom,
Different substances lend themselves to different
groups of symptoms. The most glaring symptom in all cases
is a change, sometimes a radical one, in behavior.
Other physical signs of substance abuse are:
memory impairment, incoordination, and impairment of attention.
III. How is Substance Abuse
It is sometimes difficult for mental health
practitioners to arrive at a diagnosis of substance abuse
alone. There are a number of practical and empirical methods
to determine substance use, among them being urine or blood
testing. Another method to determine use is by interviewing
parents, teachers, and other caregivers regarding the history
of the patient, and the current behavioral aspects that the
patient has been presenting.
A major problem in the diagnosis is the consideration
of dual diagnoses. A dual diagnosis is given to any person
who has both a substance abuse problem and an emotional or
psychiatric disorder. In order for the patient to fully recover,
they must be treated for both problems. According to statistics,
at least thirty-seven percent of substance abusers also have
a serious mental illness, and conversely, of all those diagnosed
with a mental illness, twenty-nine percent also abuse either
drugs or alcohol.
The most common co-occurrences are depressive
disorder, anxiety disorder, and psychiatric disorders such
as schizophrenia and personality disorders. But any of the
emotional disorders: ADHD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders,
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome can lead its sufferers down
the path of self-medication and substance abuse.
There are three categories
of substance abuse:
A. Use: The occasional use of alcohol or other drugs
without developing tolerance or withdrawal symptoms when not
B. Abuse: The continued use of alcohol or other drugs
even while knowing that the continued use is creating problems
socially, physically, or psychologically.
C. Dependence: At least three of the following factors
must be present:
a. Substance is taken in larger amounts or over longer periods
of time than the person intended.
b. A persistent desire with unsuccessful efforts to
control the use.
c. Large periods of time spent obtaining, taking, or recovering
from, the substance.
d. Frequent periods of intoxication or detoxification especially
when social and major role obligations are expected (school,
social situations, etc.)
e. Continued use even while knowing that the continued use
is creating problems socially, physically, and/or psychologically.
f. Increased tolerance
g. Withdrawal symptoms
h. Substance taken to relieve withdrawal symptoms.
IV. How is Teen Substance Abuse
In cases of dual diagnosis, the recommended
method is to primarily treat the symptomatic substance abuse
and co-treat the disorder. Once stabilization is established,
the full-fledged treatment for the mental disorder begins.
There are various factors that must be taken
into account when considering treatment for substance abuse.
Among these factors are:
- Age, developmental stage, and maturity
- Values and culture
- Co-existing mental disorders. Without the
correct treatment for the co-existing disorders, treatment
for addition may not be effective because these disorders
could interfere with the patient's ability to successfully
participate in an addiction treatment program
- Family Factors: Family factors that could
increase the patient's risks should be considered: it is
considered important that parents and other family members
play a large role in their family member's treatment.
Organic syndromes may be a result of substance
abuse, or independent of substance abuse.
Medication varies with the manner of addiction. If a dual
co-occurring diagnosis is made, medication is administered
according to the co-existing disorder. Medications are given
along with other interventions. Medications that specifically
treat substance abuse are:
- Naltrexone: alcohol dependency and opiate
- Methadone: heroine addiction
- Wellbutrin: smoking and marijuana abuse
In order to begin treatment, the first
thing the patient must do is detoxify. Detoxification can
be done on an outpatient or inpatient basis, depending on
the severity of the addiction.
Additional Methods of Substance Abuse Treatment After Detoxification:
- Identify underlying co-occurring disorders
and treat disorders
- 12-Step type programs like Alcoholics Anonymous
- Group Therapy
- Behavior Modification
- Cognitive Therapy
- Residential Treatment
V. I suspect that my child
is abusing substances.
What do I do now?
Professionals to Seek Out
- See your physician or pediatrician
- Consult with your clergy to assist in spiritual
and practical guidance
- Consult with an educational consultant
you find the right program for your child.
- Consult with a therapist or counselor.
- Consult with an Educational Advocate to
you with your current school situation
- Consult with an Educational Consultant
the right program for your child.
Find out more about
- Inpatient: hospitalization
Patients must be seen regularly so drug or alcohol abuse
can be monitored. Some patients combine outpatient treatment
with a 12-step type program. Frequent drug testing is done.
In addition, outpatient treatment may include outpatient
detoxification, and alcohol or drug rehabilitation.
Treatment Center or Program
a. Therapeutic Boarding School
These schools are usually fully accredited schools with emotional
growth programs. They stress holistic education: growth of
the person through holding children responsible for their
actions. There is no rehabilitation or physicians on staff.
out more about Residential Boarding Schools
b. Wilderness Therapy Program
A Therapeutic Wilderness program does not necessarily have
academics; their goal can be to introduce the children to
a different role. These programs use Outdoor Therapy to help
build low self-esteem. They make obtainable goals for them
to reach. The programs vary but they are about 6 to 8 weeks
long. It is a very structured program with a goal of teaching
the children coping skills and raising their self esteem.
Children go from this program to mainstream back into their
public school or attend a small structured boarding school.
more about Therapeutic Wilderness Programs
c. Residential Treatment School
A Residential Treatment Program or School provides a full
professional staff that includes therapists, psychologists,
and psychiatrists. They also have a small academic program.
Many of the children in the program have been recommended
there by mental health agencies that make the placements.
It is a highly structured environment whose emphasis is on
treatment and learning coping skills and independent living.
Chemical dependence education and rehabilitation is also provided.
Outdoor therapy is sometimes used to facilitate building social
skills and self-esteem. Recovery programs are also available.
Residential Treatment schools are secure schools.
more about Residential Treatment Schools
Teen Drug Abuse Treatment
program is right for my child?