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Teen Heroin Rehabilitation & Recovery

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The treatment models for heroin recovery include paying special attention to the teen’s mindset, analyzing different maturity levels, and understanding the family dynamics of the specific teen involved.

Studies have shown that the brain is constantly developing from birth through young adulthood. The brain of a teen youth is not yet fully developed. Areas such as impulse control, decision-making, self-control, and cognitive planning are still evolving. These functions develop rapidly during adolescence. Drug abuse and addiction can impair the brain’s development in these areas.

This is physical and biological fact. Treatment providers cannot expect the same results from the same treatment models for teens and adults.

A treatment center that deals with teens routinely has the ability to address their needs. Tailored treatment addresses what is important to in a more effective manner.

Heroin Recovery Tailored for Teens

For instance, to an adult, a breakup might be disappointing, but it is not generally life-altering and tragic. For a teen, this same instance can prove incredibly traumatic based upon the developmental stage of their brain.

A teen struggling with heroin abuse may be rebellious against the idea that they need specialized heroin recovery options their addiction. Unlike adults who seek treatment on their own, many teens are ‘forced’ to stay in a residential treatment facility by their parents. The staff of a teen treatment center is trained to deal with this aspect of the treatment process.

Once the teen has made the decision to stop using heroin, the recovery period will begin with the first stage known as detoxification.

Heroin Recovery & Detoxification

Eliminating the remaining drugs from one’s body is called detoxification or detox. This process can take several days or up to a week. The teen heroin user may experience one or more of a wide variety of symptoms during this process:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shaking, trembling and chills
  • Fever
  • Aches and pain in the joints and bones
  • Intense cravings

All of these are normal effects of withholding opiates, like heroin, from the system. After detox, the teen may continue to suffer from general malaise for quite some time, and the cravings for heroin can continue for years.

Prescribed Medication to Aid Heroin Recovery

In recent years, scientists have developed medications that may be beneficial for heroin-addicted patients.

These drugs might include:

  • Buprenorphine: A drug that binds to the same opiate receptors as heroin but does not produce the same effects.
  • Methadone: A drug that counteracts the cravings for opiates such as heroin. The effects of methadone last longer than heroin. Therefore it needs to be administered once per day. However, the patient will experience withdrawal symptoms as they wean off methadone later.
  • Clonidine: This medication reduces the symptoms of withdrawal. It is used on a limited, short-term basis. The side effects include hypotension (low blood pressure) and sedation.
  • Naltrexone: This drug counteracts the opiate effect of heroin. It blocks the pleasure effects of the opiates in the brain. Therefore heroin is non-effective.
  • Other drugs: There are several other drugs, such as lofexidine and naloxone, that are used as antidotes to heroin overdose. These drugs are antagonists against the effects of heroin, much like Naltrexone.

From Detox to Treatment

Once the teen has completed the detox phase of the recovery, they enter the treatment phase. Detox is part of a larger process. Without bonafide treatment after detox, sadly, many will use again. It is dangerous, as the body’s tolerance diminishes while detoxifying. If a teen uses the same amount of heroin they’ve used previously, they could overdose.

There are several options for teen heroin abuse treatment.

  • Private outpatient therapy
  • Intensive outpatient therapy
  • Inpatient medical rehab facilities

The type of treatment for that is right for one teen may not be ideal for another. There are several other deciding factors, beyond personality. These may be financing, insurance coverage and benefits, and family obligations.

Choosing the Treatment for Your Teen

Private outpatient care consists of mental health sessions with a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist. Traditional therapy can help with many issues. However, it is often years before significant changes are noticed or achieved.

Intensive outpatient therapy is a specialized program conducted several nights or mornings per week. One receives private sessions, group sessions, and other activities designed to help them recover.

Different Therapies

Many programs use a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) model which is designed to last approximately 16 weeks. The treatment program can be extended. But, after a determination is made between the recovering addict and the medical providers.

Teen heroin addicts require one of two options for treatment—medical or residential treatment. Both services provide the same medical and therapeutic care, but there are many differences as well.

Medical vs. Residential Treatment

A medical facility is like a standard hospital. The rooms are plain and the staff may wear scrubs or other uniforms. The residents may have limited access to other patients in accordance with visiting hours or regulations. Therefore, the atmosphere is sterile and very unlike a home environment.

When a teen is enrolled in a residential facility, they feel more at ease and less like a patient. Generally, in a residential facility, the atmosphere is homier. There are living areas for relaxation, green spaces for socializing outdoors, and comfortable rooms. While the residents will still need to abide by the house rules, there is more encouragement for healthy relationships. In addition, residential treatment provides a level of comfort that some need to focus on wellness.

Both medical and residential inpatient programs are most effective when the inpatient stay is at least three to six months in length.

Alternative Therapies

Many residential treatment centers offer alternative therapies and use innovative ways to teach problem-solving skills. They provide alternatives to medication.

Some of these alternative therapies may include:

  • Reiki
  • Meditation
  • Exercise, including yoga or martial arts
  • Equine-Assisted Therapy (the use of horses in treatment)
  • Acupuncture or acupressure techniques

The Behavioral and Integrative Treatment Branch of the National Institute on Drug Abuse supports the use of alternative therapies for use in drug abuse intervention and treatment programs.

After Rehab

Once the bulk of the treatment is completed, the teen enters the recovery phase. This will remain in place for the rest of their lives.

In the first months of recovery, the teen may have cravings that can be controlled with medication. They apply what they have learned in treatment. This is an important phase of recovery. They should be monitored closely by parents, school administrators and teachers. Furthermore, they need love and encouragement.

It is in these first weeks that relapse is the most possible, so help your child make good decisions. Offer love and support.

Eventually, addicts find they have less temptation. In the case of a teen addict, the brain continues to grow and mature. In addition, this gives them insight into their decisions.

Insurance to Offset Rehab Costs

Cost of RehabA deciding factor of treatment is the structure and benefits of an insurance plan. Many insurance plans now include rehabilitation as part of the benefits. They understand the negative impact of drug use. Therefore, drug use can lead to many covered health conditions later in life. They would prefer, in many cases, to provide benefits to their members focused on health.

If you need specific answers about what coverage your plan may offer, contact your insurance provider and ask them the following questions:

  • What coverage is available for drug rehab?
  • Will my plan cover inpatient treatment at a residential facility?
  • Does my child need to participate in an outpatient program before enrolling in a residential facility?
  • Will my plan cover visits with a private therapist for drug-related issues?
  • What percentage of the overall costs of treatment is paid by my plan?
  • Is there an additional deductible for drug rehab or mental and nervous conditions?

While insurance coverage can help to mitigate the costs of teen rehab, the final decision must be based on the best path for your family.

Rehab for a teen is a family endeavor that can have lifelong positive effects on the parents as well as the teen. It is the most effective way to ensure that your child can overcome the obstacles they face and live a full, meaningful life. In conclusion, if you or someone you love is struggling, call us. We are here to help. Most relevant, if Newport Academy isn’t the right fit for you, we will help you find what is.