Tag Archive: professional

  1. Understanding Temptation

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    Understanding TemptationAdolescents who are in recovery for substance abuse face many challenges when they step down from inpatient treatment and return home. The structure they are used to during inpatient treatment helps them stay on track by providing a controlled environment. Once they return home, there will be a major adjustment phase. During this adjustment period, they must work on integrating a similar structure into their home life and adopting the new normal they became used to in treatment.

    It’s not uncommon for adolescents to struggle with the temptation to return to alcohol or drug use during this critical transition. As their treating professional, you can work closely with the adolescent to help them understand the temptations they may face and the consequences there will be for crossing the boundaries that have been set for them. The goal is to help them realize that there are other, healthier ways of coping than substance abuse.

    Preventing Relapse Is A Primary Goal

    For adolescents who enter treatment for substance use disorder, relapse prevention is one of the main goals in treatment. It’s important to remember, however, that no one is perfect. Relapses can and will happen, which is why it’s so important to address this issue with the adolescent.

    In a study published by the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, researchers call for relapse to be considered a “clinically significant change point in a course that can cue an individual to carefully consider one’s status in the recovery process.” In other words, instead of viewing potential relapse as an utter failure, it’s important to discuss with the adolescent so there is a plan of action if the situation were to occur. Furthermore, the researchers of the study emphasize the importance of identifying signs that an adolescent may be at risk for a relapse. These include high-risk situations, a lack of healthy and effective coping skills, low self-esteem, and previous relapses.

    The more understanding you have of what can lead to a relapse, the better equipped you are to spot a potential relapse. For adolescents in particular, social pressures are a huge factor in potential relapse. The urge to fit in with their peers, as well as ongoing peer pressure, can lead adolescents to resort back to substance use. Adolescents who have co-occurring mental disorders are also at a greater risk of relapse when they are amidst a negative emotional state. By helping your adolescent client understand the temptations they may face once they step down from a high level of care, they can better understand the situations they will be in, how to prepare for them, and how these situations can impact a potential relapse.

    Understanding Major Relapse Categories

    The study mentioned above outlines five major relapse categories that adolescents often face:

    1. Negative Intrapersonal

      o Coping with frustration or anger
      o Coping with fear
      o Coping with depression
      o Coping with boredom
      o Concern about responsibility
      o Anxiety
      o Feeling like a failure

    2. Negative Physiological States
      o Coping with pain
      o Coping with illness
      o Coping with injury
    3. Other Intrapersonal
      o Getting high
      o Testing personal control
      o Giving in to temptation in the presence of cues
      o Giving in to temptation in the absence of cues
    4. Interpersonal
      o Coping with frustration or anger
      o Feeling criticized
      o Feeling rejected
      o Disappointment in others
      o Tense around others
      o Nervous or uptight around the opposite sex
    5. Social Pressure
      o Coping with direct social pressure such as an offer of substances
      o Coping with indirect social pressure such as cues but no offer of substances

    Finding the Right Approach for Treatment

    The researchers concluded that the adolescents who were included in the study generally fit into two different classes: positive-social class or aversive-social situations class. While studying post-treatment relapses at the 6-month and 12-month mark, however, the researchers found that about half of the adolescents who relapsed did not relapse as a response to the same set of circumstances the second time around. This led the researchers to conclude that adolescent relapse prevention treatment should take a general approach before addressing client-specific situations.

    Because adolescents tend to gravitate toward social situations, it’s important to highlight how healthy cognitive and behavioral approaches to avoiding relapse in a social setting can help the adolescent manage the temptation they may face. This can be done by encouraging the adolescent to develop relationships with peers who do not engage in substance use and reminding the adolescent that they have the control to remove themselves from situations that are not healthy for their recovery. They also do not need substances to reach the emotional states that they are seeking. This is where you as a professional can help them strategize and find healthy alternatives to substance use.

    Sustain Recovery’s programs are so much more than just adolescent sober living. We offer quality care for adolescents who are struggling with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental disorders. Our care is personalized to each adolescent that we treat to ensure their individual needs are met. Working together, we identify the areas in need of support and provide treatment goals to address their recovery needs. At Sustain Recovery, our goal is to help adolescents stop the cycle of relapse, so they can live the happy, healthy, and sober lifestyle they deserve. If you have an adolescent client who might benefit from our programs, call us today at (949) 407-9052.

  2. Making Recovery Tangible

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    Making Recovery TangibleAdolescents aren’t usually thrilled to be in treatment for substance abuse. Many adolescents don’t even believe they have a problem — it’s their parents who want them to get sober. If the adolescent isn’t keen on the idea of recovery, it can be difficult to keep them engaged in treatment. As a professional, you can make recovery a bit more tangible for your adolescent client. Getting them on board, interested, and engaged in their recovery isn’t always an easy task, but it’s crucial for a successful recovery.

    Treatment Should Be Personalized

    If your treatment isn’t tailored to the adolescent client that you’re working with, you aren’t going to reach the adolescent when it counts. Individualized treatment is so important for each adolescent that you work with. Everyone comes to treatment with their own story. Some adolescents will have a background rooted in trauma, while others deal with co-occurring mental disorders. Beyond their background, it’s also important to connect with the adolescent you are treating on a personal level. The more you understand what they are passionate about, the easier it will be to help tie those passions into treatment.

    Treatment Should Be Engaging

    Along with individualized treatment, you should also try to make the process as engaging as possible for the adolescent. If you’re only getting management and compliance from your adolescent client, that is the bare minimum. If this is the case, they aren’t engaged in their treatment at all. To help make their recovery more tangible, try to tie the recovery to their future. What does the adolescent want their future to look like? How can they achieve their goals? What things do they see as roadblocks to their goals? How can you help them bolster their healthy coping skills, so that they can reach — or even exceed — their goals?

    Some adolescents might not have any concrete future plans or goals. In your treatment, you can help them identify places where they want to be more successful. Encouraging them to create goals is a great way to keep them engaged in their treatment.

    Goals Must Be SMART

    Some adolescents dream of becoming a doctor or professional athlete, but they often don’t consider the small daily steps it takes to build up to the accomplishment of achieving those dreams. If your adolescent client is serious about these dreams, you can help them identify ways to start making meaningful changes that can help propel them toward their dreams. One way to help make their dream — and overall recovery — more tangible is to create goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely).

    If your adolescent client is interested in sports and considers that to be something important to them, you can help them work on skills that will help them reach their goal of playing a sport at a higher level. If they want to be a serious athlete, they must understand that there are certain expectations of athletes. One major expectation is that athletes must be able to pass random drug tests. They also must possess a strong work ethic, be able to collaborate with a team, and control their emotions. While your adolescent client may not be able to do all of these at the beginning of their treatment, you can help them make changes to their lifestyle so these skills become attainable.

    Putting Goals Into Practice

    For example, if your adolescent client is using drugs recreationally, they can work on decreasing their drug use over a set period of time until they are no longer using. You can help with the specifics of making sure that this goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. As for other goals, you can help your adolescent client work on making changes in their daily life that set them up for future success and keep them on the path they want to be on for the long term. If your adolescent client wants to increase their work ethic, teamwork skills, and emotional regulation, you can encourage them to create goals such as attending school and completing their work on time and to the best of their abilities, working on interpersonal relationship skills, and coping with their emotions in healthy and safe ways. The more you are able to keep the treatment personalized and engaged, the better success you will have with your adolescent client’s recovery.

    Lastly, it’s important that your adolescent client feels like they are setting these goals for themselves. Many adolescents don’t follow through with their treatment because they feel like their caregivers are pushing it onto them. It’s important to give your adolescent client the space they need to let their interests guide their goals. If the goals don’t have any meaning for them, there’s a good chance they won’t care about achieving them. Similarly, goals that are too broad can be difficult to accomplish because they don’t feel real to your adolescent client. By making sure that you hit all the important areas of successful goals, your adolescent client will feel more in control of their recovery.

    Sustain Recovery provides quality care to adolescents who are struggling with substance abuse and other co-occurring disorders. If you have any adolescent clients who could benefit from our programs, contact us for more information. We are here to help your adolescent clients achieve their goals and build a successful and sober future.

    To learn more, call Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052.

I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

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