Age-appropriate adolescent alcohol treatment programs serve a vital function when treating adolescent alcoholism (or drug addiction, for that matter).
According to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), “In 2008, there were 1.2 million youths (5 percent) aged 12-17 who needed treatment for an alcohol use problem. Of this group, only 77,000 received treatment at a specialty facility (0.3 percent of all youths and 6.2 percent of youths who needed treatment), leaving almost 1.2 million youths who needed but did not receive treatment.” [Source: "Childhood Drinking: How Can We Prevent and Reduce the Number of Children Drinking Alcohol?"2/2010 by the Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation]
But the key is that it’s not just treatment, it’s age-appropriate treatment, and it’s an aftercare treatment plan that incorporates the adolescent’s return to their home, neighborhood, school and peer group. Why is this so?
Argument for Age-Appropriate Adolescent Alcohol Treatment
Because the adolescent brain is not the brain of an adult, therefore effectively treating the adolescent’s brain disease of alcoholism requires a somewhat different treatment approach. To understand alcoholism and the adolescent brain, read this related post, “How Teens Become Alcoholics Before Age 21.”
Access to age-appropriate support groups, for example, is critical to a young person’s successful recovery, as evidenced by their typically requiring “three to four treatment episodes before achieving recovery,” according to the initiate Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems, a project of the George Washington Medical Center. [Source: "Childhood Drinking: How Can We Prevent and Reduce the Number of Children Drinking Alcohol?" by the Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation, 2/2010]
The Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation is a unique coalition of current and former Governors’ spouses, Federal agencies, and public and private organizations, working to prevent the use of alcohol by children ages 9 to 15. It is the only national effort that focuses on alcohol use in this age group.
To learn more about this and the very real issue of childhood drinking (ages 9-15), check out the Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation’s page, “Underage Drinking as a National Priority.”
Specific to the point of age-appropriate adolescent alcohol (or drug) treatment, check out this section of The Addiction Project, “Drug [Alcohol] Treatment for Adolescents.”