Teen Xanax Rehab
In June of 2011, the Substance Abuse and Mental Heath Services Administration (SAMHSA) startled the addiction treatment community by announcing that admissions to substance abuse treatment programs for benzodiazepines like Xanax had tripled between the years of 1998 to 2008.
The report states that most of these people were between the ages of 18 and 34. This report demonstrates that Xanax abuse is on the rise, but it’s also a bit discouraging to note that many teens are still not getting the help they need to beat addiction. In fact, in a separate report, SAMHSA notes that 93 percent of people ages 18 to 25 don’t get the help they need to beat an addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Teens who do enter a Xanax addiction rehabilitation program might feel discouraged or even frightened, but there’s ample reason for these teens to take heart. Addiction therapies for Xanax can help the teen reduce his or her physical, emotional and behavioral addiction to the drug, allowing the teen to move forward in life. By entering a program, and getting the help so many people need, the teen can start a new chapter in life.
The Basics of Addiction Treatment
At its core, an addiction treatment program is deeply personal. A program that works for one teen may not work for another. An example might make this concept a bit clearer. Client A began using Xanax because she had a panic disorder. Soon, she began taking higher doses because the drug didn’t seem to work, and now she’s in the grips of a full-blown addiction, taking 10 times the therapeutic dose. Client B began using Xanax he found in the medicine cabinet. He had no idea what the proper dose was, and soon, he ran out of pills at home and had to buy from a dealer. He is taking five times the therapeutic dose. These two people share a diagnosis of Xanax addiction, but their personal stories are very different. Their treatment plans must be different as well.
Some teens benefit from inpatient treatment programs for Xanax addiction, where they step away from the responsibility of school and home and focus solely on their addictions. They live in a facility, attend counseling sessions and group sessions every day, and think deeply about their addictions and their healing 24/7. This is the sort of program we provide at Newport Academy, and we’ve had great success with this model. For some teens, however, being separated from home, pets and family is just too difficult and it makes recovery that much harder. These teens may benefit from outpatient programs that allow them to live at home and keep their connections strong while they’re working on their addiction programs on a regular basis.
There are literally thousands of addiction programs across the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that families ask these questions of the facilities they’re considering:
- Are your treatments supported by scientific research?
- How do you tailor treatments to meet the needs of specific addicts?
- Do the treatments change as the addiction changes?
- How long will the program last, and is that a time period supported by research?
- Do you use 12-step programs or support groups? And if so, how?
People who have at least some background in medicine may find these questions easy to understand, and they can use these queries to narrow down their choices and find just the right program to meet the addict’s needs. People without any medical background may struggle with this decision. The teen’s doctor, case manager or intervention specialist may be able to provide guidance.
Some aspects of teen drug rehabilitation remain the same, no matter what substance the teen is addicted to. Xanax addiction, however, has some specifics that must be addressed during the rehabilitation program. For example, according to an article published in American Family Physician, people who take benzodiazepines may experience emotional difficulties. They may sink deep into a depressive state, and find that their emotions seem muted or blunted. The authors suggest that some people even begin to contemplate suicide. Often, these symptoms will disappear when the addict is no longer taking the drug, but during rehabilitation, it’s definitely something that the addiction staff will watch closely for.
In some cases, the addict will continue to take Xanax at smaller and smaller doses, tapering down to nothing before the program is complete. In other cases, the addict will take a different form of benzodiazepine altogether. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, drugs such as Ambien and Sonata can help addicts sleep and feel comfortable, but they’re not ranked as high on a scale of addiction. These might be good alternate drugs to use during rehabilitation programs.
In most cases of teen addiction, therapy plays a pivotal role in recovery. While medications can soothe symptoms, therapy can help the teen understand:
- Why the addiction had taken hold
- What the teen can do to control the addiction
- How the teen can make good choices to prevent a relapse
- Why recovery is necessary and possible
These are all very important lessons for teens to learn and take to heart as they age, and therapists can use a wide variety of tools in order to teach those lessons.
For example, some therapists use a form of family therapy in which the entire group comes together to learn more about the addiction, the family’s dynamics, and the thoughts and feelings of the addict. As much as teens might not like to admit it, they still care deeply about their families and they’re profoundly influenced by the comments and actions of the people they live with. By helping the entire family to change, the addict can change as well.
A teen who claims, “I cannot relax without Xanax,” might be asked to breathe slowly and deeply, in and out, and feel their heartbeat slow and their mind clear. This small demonstration helps prove that the teen’s original thought isn’t really true.
CBT has been widely studied in teens, and it’s been found remarkably effective, particularly in teens who have substance abuse issues in addition to other mental health issues. For example, a study published in the American Journal on Addictions found that teens who were given CBT demonstrated “significant reduction in severity of substance abuse” compared to teens who received a different type of therapy. In short, this form of therapy can help a teen gain a clearer understanding of the workings of the mind, and this can result in a great leap forward in addiction treatment.
The Benefits of Group Therapy
In many, if not most, teen rehabilitation programs, the teen is asked to participate in some form of group therapy. In inpatient programs, the teen might meet daily with a large group of other addicts and they might all discuss their issues together. In outpatient programs, the teen might attend meetings such as Narcotics Anonymous. These community-based addiction meetings may have particular benefits for teen addicts.
Narcotics Anonymous and other 12-step addiction programs are known to almost everyone in the United States. Here, people who share a common addiction meet on a regular basis and discuss their stories of addiction and recovery.
- I am powerless over my addiction.
- A higher power helps me to stay strong.
- I turn my addiction over to that power.
- I look closely at myself and what I have done.
- I admit those wrongs to at least one other person.
- I am ready to be done with those wrongs.
- I ask a higher power to help.
- I make a list of those I have harmed.
- I make amends to those people.
- I continue to search myself and make amends.
- My connection to the higher power grows stronger.
- I try to encourage more addicts to join.
Researchers have tried to determine how effective these sorts of programs are in teens. Since teens are social creatures, easily swayed by the influence of others, it would make sense that they would enjoy 12-step groups. Some studies have borne this out. For example, a study published in the journal Addiction found that three years after completing a rehabilitation program for drugs or alcohol, 19 percent of teens were still attending meetings, and 14 percent were still working at least one of the 12 steps. In other words, teens who do benefit from 12-step programs may continue participating in the programs for years after the rehabilitation programs are complete, and this may help them avoid a relapse.
Here at Newport Academy, we specialize in teen addiction treatment, and we are here to help you and your teen begin the journey to recovery. Call us today.