Tag Archive: young adults

  1. Fostering Independence in Teenagers and Young Adults

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    Licensed counselors who treat teenagers and young adults see a variety of conditions in their patients. One common issue that arises relates to fostering an independent attitude and nature in a young person.

    When a therapist has a young patient who has difficulty establishing independence, the issue may spring from several sources. Helping the patient get to the root cause can assist in motivating them to change. This act involves both conversations with the therapist and with the family of the patient.

    Does the Child Deal With Helicopter Parents?

    The term “helicopter parenting” became popular over the past decade. This term describes parents who act in overprotective ways with their children. They often step in to make decisions or take actions that their adolescent or young adult child should be able to handle on their own.

    The parent may fear their child will not know how to deal with situations. Their intent may be to “save” their child, but instead, they may end up fostering a lifelong sense of dependence on their parents.

    If you believe your patient may have a helicopter parent, open up a discussion about it with the child. Ask questions such as:

    • When your parent constantly steps in to make or override your decisions, how does it make you feel?
    • Do you feel confident in taking action, no matter how minuscule, without first consulting with a parent?
    • Does a lack of feeling independent contribute to increased amounts of anxiety or depression?
    • Do you sense that helicopter parenting reflects a parental belief that your instincts are not to be trusted?
    • What decisions do you wish you had more power making by yourself?

    When possible, invite the patient’s parents to attend a counseling session. Go over how the child feels when the helicopter buzzes near them. Parents often need help understanding they are hindering their child’s chances of dealing well with adult situations if they do not have practice making them.

    Create a List of Ways to Be Independent

    Many young patients demonstrate a lack of experience in experimenting with independence. Talk to them about what they feel holds them back. If fear of failure presents as the root cause, assure them that everyone learns by making mistakes.

    Help your patient create a list of ways they think people in their age group should establish their independence. Then go over the list to get their input on where they stand with each task. The list can include things like:

    • The ability to do schoolwork and prepare for tests
    • Being responsible for getting themselves up in the morning on time
    • Postponing something pleasurable to do now to enjoy a bigger payoff later
    • Shop for and prepare their own meals and snacks
    • Project into the future and make realistic plans for how to achieve what they want
    • Set goals and meet them within reasonable amounts of time
    • Spend time socializing away from the family
    • Participate in sports, hobbies, and community activities independent of ones their family enjoys

    Young patients often benefit from having a clear idea of their capabilities concerning how independently they act. The child can share their list with a parent to increase communication between the two. A therapist may need to remind the parent to strike a healthy balance between checking in to make sure their child continues to work on the list and giving them the breathing room to do so.

    When Drug and Alcohol Addiction Is Part of the Equation

    Independence can be a tricky thing for a patient who has a history of drug and alcohol addiction. Parents may have well-founded reasons to doubt their children sometimes when it comes to accountability.

    Talk to your patient about whether their prior substance use disorder may factor into difficulty establishing independence. The patient may feel their parents do not allow them a range of free time or the ability to make their own decisions. These restrictions may come from fearing their child will associate with toxic people or make other decisions that tempt them to drink or use drugs again.

    If the child has made progress in their recovery, ask them to initiate a conversation with their parents. The patient can cite examples of time spent in recovery and smart decisions they have made. This open dialogue may lead a parent to offer greater freedom to their child.

    Remind everyone involved that no progress can be made if the child isn’t allowed room to strike out on their own. Even if they make a poor decision, this decision will enable them to take responsibility for it and learn from it.

    Children who develop a substance use disorder during adolescence will inevitably age into adulthood. If they have been allowed room to grow and shown that they can exercise independence, they are less likely to relapse in their recovery.

    Licensed counselors who treat adolescents and young adults often find the topic of independence comes up. Many young clients struggle with insecurity about being independent, while others have helicopter parents who tend to run their child’s life for them. Opening up several dialogues about what independence means to a patient and specific ways to achieve it can help them make immense progress. Sustain Recovery has experience treating adolescents and young adults who need help striking a balance between developing their independence and keeping their sobriety in mind. We treat young people with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. We offer long-term residential programs that foster real independence in our clients, allowing them to learn to become responsible adults who put their recovery at the forefront. Call Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052 to discuss how we can help your young client.


  2. Wilderness Therapy is a Great Aftercare Program for Recovering Youth

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    Treatment for addiction is usually handled in one of two ways: inpatient treatment or outpatient. One alternative, however, is wilderness therapy. This unique form of therapy doesn’t run off a disciplinary model, as some might expect. It’s actually a popular clinical approach to addiction for adolescents and young adults. Nature has proven a great recovery tool.

    In the wild, you’re free from many of the negative influences and triggers found in regular day-to-day life. Living in nature for long periods of time is a fresh new challenge for most people and a big opportunity to step out of their comfort zone. Adolescents in nature therapy are constantly monitored by qualified professionals—not camp counselors, but certified addiction counselors.

    In wilderness therapy, patients are assigned tasks—primitive stuff like fire-making, backpacking, and building shelter—all designed to teach leadership skills and self-reliance. It’s all about team effort. These programs can last from three to eight weeks, more than enough time to build meaningful relationships with fellow patients as well as staff.

    Wilderness therapy might just be a crucial step in a long recovery journey that continues with traditional outpatient treatment at home. Many specialists know how to deal specifically with teens fresh out of wilderness therapy and may be experiencing a bit of culture shock.

    Note: Distinguishing wilderness therapy from wilderness camp, the military-minded counterpart, can be tricky. The latter is often referred to as “therapy” as well. Do your research. Get online, read parent testimonials, and go see the place for yourself. Above all, make sure the staff clinically licensed; if it’s not, stay away, because it’s not what you’re looking for.

    A good rule of thumb is that anywhere which promises behavioral modification is a probably a boot camp. In the field of addiction management, there are no such promises.

    For answers to your any pressing questions you may have about addiction, recovery, or the use of the outdoors as a therapy tool, contact us at (949) 637-5499. The staff here will be happy to speak with you and to refer you for help.

  3. Young Adults With Mental Illness Are Less Likely To Receive Addiction Treatment

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    Young Adults With Mental Illness Are Less Likely To Receive Addiction TreatmentAccording to data from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, only a third of mentally-ill adults aged 18-25 receive any treatment whatsoever for their conditions. That’s roughly 20 percent less than the 26-49 age group (an unsurprising discrepancy, given the number of senior citizens who live in assisted-living environments in the US).


    Mental Illness Gone Unchecked

    Throughout the year of 2014, about 2.4 million young adults in need were able to access mental health services like inpatient rehab or prescription medication. That leaves close to 5 million young adults in the dark. Given the untreated suffering experienced by these young people, the commonality of dual diagnoses and co-occurring disorders makes sense: they’re choose drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication.

    Clearly, there are more people in need of treatment than are currently being served it. Why is this? A lack of services? A lack of interest in those services? Most likely, it’s a combination of both.


    The Shortage Of Services

    Of all the young adults who did receive help, only 1 in 4 received prescription medication (25.5%) and 1 in 5 received outpatient services (21.3%). Perhaps the most important treatment modality of all, inpatient rehabilitation, was only available for about 3.7% of the mentally ill patients. The CDC also reports that at any given time, 3.1% of adults are suffering severe psychological distress (such as a mental breakdown).


    What Can Be Done?

    With these statistics in mind, it is critical that the public becomes more informed of mental illness, its signs, and how to handle it. There is a desperate need for further referral and treatment services in the US, and filling the gap probably requires the participation of mentors, life coaches, and teachers.

    SAMHSA, the organization charged with improving the quality and availability of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitative services, believes that young adults may benefit from developmentally appropriate services to facilitate the transition to adulthood, sponsors several programs that provide crucial information on the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and psychological crises.

    These programs also offer referral and treatment services to young teens and adults needing help with mental illness.


    Mental illness and addiction go together like fire and smoke. If you or someone you know is suffering from the former, watch out closely for the latter. If that situation is already a reality, the first step is detox–then treatment. To get started, call Sustain today for a consultation: 949-637-5499.

Sustain Recovery changed my life in a way I never considered remotely possible. I arrived in a place where I knew nobody. Sustain Recovery gave me tools so that I never had to be alone again. I learned how to live like an adult and have genuine relationships with other human beings. I gained a sense of self respect, love, and pride from the challenges I was given by staff. I was able to work through the recent loss of my father and I achieved my goal of not taking any psychiatric medication.
I learned that life is an endless balancing act. I have to continually work on myself and my relationships with the people in my life. The staff at Sustain Recovery are all incredibly experienced and spiritual. They were available to me whether I wanted their help or not. Through their efforts and experience, I experienced the inner workings of having an intimate, loving relationship with a loving creator.
Sustain Recovery is “home” for me. I discovered a loving, caring family that helped launch me to a place I would have never dreamed and, if I would have dreamed it, I would never have believed I would be able to accomplish it.

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