Key Ingredients of Successful Adolescent Recovery

Research on adolescent addiction shows that a range of genetic and environmental influences can be at work for this vulnerable demographic. From a developmental point of view, children in this age group have unique physiological qualities that make them more susceptible to substance use disorder (SUD). Relapse rates among these youngest treatment seekers are also very high. One key question we need to ask is: What makes some adolescents succeed in recovery from addiction?

A Stage-by-Stage Review of Success Ingredients

The first two months of treatment sets an adolescent into a preparation stage. Many adolescents who enter treatment still have a lot of resistance to the plan. If a treatment center has young adult staff who have walked the journey toward recovery themselves, they can be effective guides and mentors for these new program participants.

During this initial stage, it is important to build up an adolescent’s trust and realization that they can make “fun friends” even at a treatment center. Any activity that helps increase a sense of belonging can be a great motivator. As mentioned before, these young people need recovery role models who demonstrate what “enthusiastic sobriety” looks like for them.

The following four months (through Month 6) is the engagement stage. An adolescent will arrive at early sobriety and begin to enjoy the benefits of healthy relationships. A 12-Step support group helps integrate a young person into a healthy and sustainable community that is guided by important principles such as honesty and mutual dependence. An adolescent needs to grow into the routines of attending these 12-Step meetings and spending time making strong ties with recovery friends.

This second stage is when an active recovery lifestyle begins to take root in a young person’s life. Some treatment centers also offer life skills coaching and other therapies to help individuals make the transition from early sobriety to a sober lifestyle.

Maintaining Success in Recovery 

Once an adolescent is solidly grounded in a healthy lifestyle and has developed accountability for themself, he or she can enter into this recovery maintenance stage. This often happens after one exists in a residential treatment center and begins to re-integrate into one’s own family life and community.

During this time, it is important for the alumni to stay in touch with treatment program staff. The primary goal is to maintain abstinence and avoid relapse. Given how volatile the state of an adolescent’s brain development is at this point, both health professionals and parents need to monitor and support this integration attentively. 

No matter how well an adolescent has demonstrated themself to be abstinent, there always needs to be a relapse prevention and intervention plan. Parents and the recovering individual need to numbly acknowledge that the reality of relapse is imminent if one lets his or her guard down against stress and cravings in life.

The Importance of Ongoing Case Management

A trained interventionist can provide regular recovery checkups on the progress of an adolescent. They can also offer trusted referrals and connect you with peer support services. All these are included in what is known as a case management strategy. For recovering adolescents, the first two years after addiction treatment is a critical path. Interventionists who offer case management can become an ongoing mentorship structure.

Other forms of aftercare are also important. Before you or your loved one enters treatment, you can inquire about a prospective program that offers sustainable support through ongoing case management. Some treatment centers also offer outpatient treatment if a co-occurring mental health issue re-emerges. Long-term case management can offer your loved one a customized relapse-prevention and recovery care plan.

What Should Parents Do?

If you are choosing a treatment plan for your adolescent child, it is important to do more research. Recent research shows that the following factors determine the efficacy of adolescent treatment programs: 

  • Adolescent-specific treatment services
  • The variety of therapeutic modalities
  • Relapse and recovery rates
  • Evidence-based and quality assessments

Another critical responsibility as parents is to be good role models for your adolescent children. You need to have an honest self-assessment: Can your child look up to you as a role model? Does your lifestyle set up an example of sobriety for your child to imitate? 

You have to know that adolescents need role models in life. Often, parents do not live up to the standards. However, maybe this time of crisis can be a new beginning for you as a parent to practice being positive role models.

Do you wonder why some young people succeed in recovering from addiction to drugs or alcohol while others fail? Are there key ingredients to a successful intervention and recovery? There have certainly been proven methods to care for young people who struggle with substance addiction. The supportive role of their parents cannot be underestimated. However, even the most supportive parents also need to be educated about how to achieve success. You might need to work with a professional interventionist to make this journey smoother. At South Florida Intervention, our professionally trained interventionists have helped many teens and young adults in achieving sobriety and long-term recovery. We know the key ingredients to success, and we have experience working with young people and their families. Apart from recovering coaching and parent coaching, we also offer detailed case management and professional sober escort services. Early intervention is critical, and we are here to help. Call South Florida Intervention at (202) 390-2273 today.