Maybe you’re a teenager, or perhaps you’re the parent of a teenager. Both are filled with challenges. And if your teenager is in recovery from addiction, it can be even more challenging. But one of the most important things you can do for your teenager in recovery is to make sure they have a strong aftercare plan.
In this article, we’ll walk through what aftercare is, why it’s important for teenagers in particular, and what can happen if they don’t receive proper aftercare.
What is an Aftercare Program?
Aftercare is any kind of support that someone in recovery receives once they leave initial treatment. This can include many different programs across multiple facets, but some common examples include:
For teenagers, aftercare in addiction treatment is especially important. That’s because the teenage years are a time of big changes and lots of stressors. Teens are trying to figure out who they are and what they want in life. They’re growing and developing physically, emotionally, and mentally. It’s a lot to navigate, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed at times. If they’re struggling with addiction; recovery can seem even more daunting.
But there is hope. Recovery from substance abuse is possible, and an aftercare program can help.
Why is Aftercare an Important Addiction Treatment for Teenagers?
There are a few reasons why aftercare is especially important for teenagers in recovery.
The first reason is that addiction recovery is a process, not a destination. Just because someone completes treatment does not mean they are “cured.” In fact, early recovery is when most people are most vulnerable to relapse. That’s because they’re no longer in a structured treatment setting but are still adjusting to life without drugs or alcohol.
That’s why aftercare is so important. It provides ongoing support and accountability as someone navigates early recovery. It can help them stay on track with their goals and avoid triggers that could lead to relapse.
Another reason why aftercare is important for teenagers is that the teenage years are already a time of change across a wide spectrum of aspects of life. Add addiction recovery to the mix, and it can be even more overwhelming. Aftercare can help teens manage their stress, cope with difficult emotions, and make healthy choices.
Last but certainly not least is the fact that addiction is a family disease. When one person struggles with addiction, it affects the whole family. If your teenager is in recovery, aftercare can help the entire family heal. Family therapy, for example, can help you learn how to best support your teenager in recovery while also taking care of yourself. Some programs, including sober living homes, also provide counseling for the whole family and will provide information and knowledge that may help the family better understand and assist their loved ones who are struggling with addiction.
What Happens if Teenagers Don’t Receive Aftercare for Drug Addiction?
If teenagers in recovery don’t receive aftercare, the consequences can be serious.
First, there is an increased risk of relapse. As we mentioned before, early recovery is when people are most vulnerable to relapse. Without aftercare, teens in recovery are more likely to relapse.
Second, without aftercare, teens in recovery are more likely to develop other mental health disorders. This is because addiction recovery is a process, and it’s normal to experience difficult emotions during this time. If teens don’t have an outlet to deal with these emotions, they may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like self-harm or disordered eating.
If you’re struggling to create an aftercare plan for your teenager, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are many resources available to families affected by addiction. And remember, you are not alone.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the options available during aftercare.
What is Therapy in Aftercare Programs?
One of the most important aspects of aftercare is therapy. Therapy can help teenagers in recovery work through the emotions they’re feeling. It can also teach them healthy coping skills and provide guidance on how to best navigate their recovery journey.
Many different types of therapy are available, so it’s important to find one that’s right for your teenager. Some common types of therapy used in aftercare include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that helps people learn to change their negative thought patterns. This can be helpful in addiction recovery, as it can help people identify and avoid triggers that could lead to relapse.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT is a type of therapy that focuses on helping people regulate their emotions. This can be helpful for teenagers in recovery, as they may be dealing with a lot of difficult emotions during this time.
Family Therapy: Family therapy is a type of therapy that involves the entire family. This can be beneficial in addiction recovery, as it can help families learn how to best support their loved one in recovery.
Group Therapy: Group therapy is a type of therapy that involves meeting with other people who are dealing with similar issues. Support group meetings can be helpful for teenagers in recovery, as it can provide support and guidance from others who understand what they’re going through.
Often, sober living homes provide access to all of these forms of therapy, while also providing a safe and sustainable environment for them to live in while they undergo such. Along with this, they provide access to psychiatric services, wherein they will also help to manage and maintain a medication regimen that may bolster someone’s recovery.
What is Medication Management in Aftercare?
Medication management is another important aspect of aftercare. Medication can be helpful in addiction recovery, as it can help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It’s important to work with a doctor or psychiatrist to find the right medication for your teenager.
Some common types of medication used in addiction recovery include:
Anti-craving Medications: Anti-craving medications can help to reduce the urge to use drugs or alcohol. This can be helpful in early recovery when cravings are often strongest.
Anti-anxiety Medications: Anti-anxiety medications can help to reduce anxiety and stress. This can be helpful in recovery, as anxiety and stress can often trigger a relapse.
Antidepressants: Antidepressants can help to treat depression and other mental health issues. This can be helpful in recovery, as depression is a common symptom of withdrawal.
What is Holistic Care in Aftercare?
Holistic care is another important aspect of aftercare. Holistic care focuses on treating the whole person, not just the addiction. This can be helpful in recovery, as it can help to reduce stress and promote overall well-being.
Some common types of holistic care used in aftercare include:
Yoga: Yoga is a type of exercise that involves stretching and deep breathing. This can be helpful in recovery, as it can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a type of alternative medicine that involves inserting needles into the skin. This can be helpful in recovery, as it can help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Massage: Massage is a type of therapy that involves touching and manipulating the muscles. This can be helpful in recovery, as it can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
As was mentioned before, it is best to find a program that offers all forms of care mentioned to some degree. Such is often the case with sober living programs, wherein a combination of therapy, medication, and holistic approaches are utilized to create an all-encompassing treatment plan.
What is a Sober Living Home Treatment Facility?
A sober living home treatment facility is a type of housing that is specifically for people in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction. Sober living homes provide a structured and supportive environment for recovery. They often have rules and regulations that residents must follow, such as no drinking or drug use, curfews, and regular drug testing.
Sober living homes can be helpful in recovery, as they can provide a safe and supportive environment. They can also help to transition people back into society after treatment. Not only this, but they provide a new community in which your loved one can build a healthy foundation in their new life. With this new-found community often comes peer accountability and inclusion, which can be critical in early recovery.
What is an Intensive Outpatient Program?
An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a type of treatment that is less intense than inpatient treatment but more intense than standard outpatient treatment. IOPs typically involve 3-5 hours of therapy per day, 3-5 days per week. IOPs can be helpful in recovery, as they can provide structure and support while allowing people to continue to live at home and work or go to school.
Synopsis of Aftercare Plans
An aftercare plan is a specific plan that is designed to help people in recovery maintain their sobriety. Aftercare plans typically involve regular meetings with a therapist or counselor, attending support groups, and participating in other activities that promote recovery. Aftercare programs can be helpful in recovery, as they can provide structure and support.
Aftercare programs during substance abuse treatment are an important part of the recovery process, especially for teenagers trying to maintain their physical and mental health after substance abuse. Aftercare can help to reduce relapse, provide support, and promote overall well-being. If you are a teenager in recovery, or if you know someone who is, make sure to ask about aftercare options.
Last Updated on May 24, 2023