Teen Medical Aspects of Addiction and Recovery

X-ray image of a human head brain

At Paradigm San Francisco, our Teen Addiction Treatment programs are designed to address all aspects of teens’ lives and well-being, including physical, emotional, mental, and relational areas.  While we work with teens to address these things, we also want to educate teens and families specifically regarding the medical nature of addiction, the process of treatment, and how recovery works.  To this end, we offer Ten Medical Aspects of Addiction and Recovery as one part of our Psycho-Educational Services program.

When examining instances of Teen Addiction, it’s important to approach it from a holistic perspective, acknowledging that many different factors are at play.  While many treatment centers hurry to diagnose and treat based simply off of a few outward symptoms and behaviors, this can unfortunately leave conditions insufficiently and/or incorrectly treated.  This is especially true of medical factors which may be aggravating and/or triggering emotional symptoms.  For instance, substance abuse can greatly affect teens’ hormonal and endocrine symptoms, which over time, can create or aggravate symptoms such as depression, anxiety, inability to concentrate, brain fog, and more.  In such instances, it’s important to recognize that by supporting the medical aspects of teens’ health, we can thereby support and further their overall recovery and well-being.

In working to educate teens and their families about the medical aspects of addiction, we often see that teens are actually much less familiar with the effects of drugs than they claim.  Usually what teens know about drugs is some combination of truth, lie, and rumor, gathered from peers, along the way.  Because of this, it’s not uncommon for teens to really not understand exactly what kind of long-term, sometimes permanent damage they might be risking, even by trying a drug a few times.  Along these lines, it’s of utmost importance for teens to understand how substances can affect their brains, which are still developing.  This development makes teen brains far more vulnerable to being either temporarily or permanently harmed by substances. While the goal isn’t just to instill fear as a way to manipulate teens, we do want teens to have a clear understanding of the risks and consequences to their actions.  For this reason, during our Teen Medical Aspects of Addiction sessions, we provide pertinent information to help teens and families understand the full medical picture of drug use and addiction.

The other aspect of our Teen Medical Aspects of Addiction sessions is we want to educate teens and families on the medical aspects of the recovery process, which can sometimes include particularly difficult stages of withdrawal.  To this end, we feel it’s important for teens and families to understand the different stages from a neurological perspective, especially in cases where teens will struggle with significant symptoms of withdrawal.  We find that generally speaking, when teens and families are familiar with this information, they’re better able to have perspective and patience throughout the process.  It also serves to help teens and family members feel more comfortable and better equipped overall to support their teens, throughout the time in treatment, as well as when they return home.