Being an adolescent suffering from drug addiction is different than an adult. Adolescents biologically are not fully developed and their underdeveloped brain makes it difficult for them to understand the consequences of their action. In addition, their environment, including friends and family, can contribute to this mentality reinforcing that they can do anything. Thus, those that are abusing opiates typically do not feel they have a problem with drug abuse. This puts them at a higher risk of overdoes, IV/sexual diseases, and legal trouble.
But, if given the opportunity and are motivated to quit their addiction, they have a higher potential to stop using drugs, permanently. When an adolescent abuses pain killer or heroin, their brain development essentially stops. Thus, the sooner an adolescent overcomes their addiction, they can counter the damaging effects of opiates that cause permanent brain damage and reduce their need for life time medical treatment.
The BRIGHTSIDE Adolescent Addiction Recovery program works with both the family and adolescent to quickly eliminate drug use, identify the challenges of recovery, and develop an individualized program with tools and strategies to overcome addiction over the long term. We build a safe and nurturing environment for both the family and the adolescent, which allows everyone to be heard, understood, and accepted.
Our program is specialized for adolescents, their challenges, and the family and friends that surround them. Through the process below, we immediately evaluate the challenges facing the entire family, initiate a medically-assisted treatment program to stop the drug abuse (if appropriate), and start a recovery program designed to counsel and coach the teen and family for a life without opiate abuse:
We start by evaluating the current situation of the adolescent and family. If possible, both will meet together with our Clinical Director and collaboratively create a treatment plan. If the adolescent is reluctant to initially participate in treatment, we will first meet with the family first, discuss the situation at home, and coach them on how to bring the adolescent into treatment. Then, once the adolescent comes in, our Clinical Director will meet with the adolescent, discuss their drug habit, and attempt to get them in treatment. At the conclusion of this phase, both Brightside, the family, and the adolescent will have collaborated on a treatment plan going forward.
MEDICALLY-ASSISTED TREATMENT (AGES 16 AND OLDER)
We believe that in order for an adolescent to successfully overcome addiction, they need to move out of the “addictive” behavior of constantly seeking and acquiring the illicit drug. Thus, if appropriate, we utilize medically-assisted treatment (MAT) with buprenorphine to eliminate the cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with opiate use. Based on the established treatment plan, the adolescent will meet with a doctor and be induced on the prescribed medication. Over the subsequent week, the teen will be in constant communication with the doctor to find the correct dosage for the medication with a follow up visit a week later to confirm the treatment dosage.
Once stabilized on the medication, the recovery treatment program begins. At the core, we will work with the adolescent and family to build strength, create strategies and tools to let go of unhealthy behavior, and develop the skills needed to manage the stresses of life without drug use. The initial weeks/months are key to the treatment. Thus, we meet regularly with both the adolescent and family during the first months to start building a foundation and get patients away from the environments and activities that encourages them to use drugs. As the program continues, our relationship becomes one of coaching and maintenance with the patient and the medication is slowly tapered.