Recovery specifically targeting young people? Most definitely!We often think of addiction (whether to drugs or alcohol) as an older person’s disease. Yet, young people, ages 18-20, have the highest rate of alcoholism in the U.S. [U.S. Surgeon General, 2007 "Call to Action..."]. Of those who were diagnosed as having the brain disease of alcoholism, nearly half were addicted by 21 and two-thirds by 25 [NIAAA "Statistical Snapshot of Underage Drinking," 2009].
Why such an impact on young people? There are four key reasons:
- the nature of brain development from ages 12-early 20s
- the fact that addiction is a brain disease
- alcohol abuse during brain development causing chemical and structural changes in the brain
- presence of (therefore susceptibility to) key risk factors, which include: genetics, social environment, mental illness [such as anxiety, depression, ADHD], childhood trauma [such as verbal, physical, emotional abuse] and early use — several of these risk factors are brain changers, as well, which is why they are especially problematic for young people abusing alcohol or drugs during brain development changes, ages 12-early 20s.
THUS, this post is to share resources that explain adolescent addiction and support options for young people in recovery. This is not an exhaustive list, by the way, but will give readers a sense of what is out there.
- The Addiction Project: Adolescent Addiction (NIDA, NIAAA, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, HBO collaboration)
- Association of Recovery Schools advocates for the promotion, strengthening, and expansion of secondary and post-secondary programs designed for students and families committed to achieving success in both education and recovery.
- Young People in Recovery | Facebook a grassroots movement comprised of young people who are all in long-term recovery from alcohol and other drugs.
- SAMSHA’s Recovery At Any Age: Young People Can and Do Recover
- The Partnership at DrugFree.org’s Guide to the Teen Brain
- Adolescent Substance Abuse Intervention Workbook is intended for teenagers who use drugs and alcohol but for whom the amounts, frequency, and negative consequences are unrecognized. This workbook is an initial approach for helping teenagers become aware, both cognitively and emotionally, of the negative consequences of their drug and/or alcohol use. It is hoped that by seeing for themselves how not using can make their life better, teenagers will become motivated toward beginning treatment.
- Step Workbook for Adolescent Chemical Dependency provides a concrete structure that enables the chemically dependent adolescent to go through the first 5 of the 12 steps toward recovery. By encouraging the adolescent to answer the questions, write down his or her thoughts, and discuss his or her conflicts contained in this useful workbook, the cognitive-emotional process can begin.
- Faces and Voices of Recovery dedicated to organizing and mobilizing the over 20 million Americans in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, our families, friends and allies into recovery community organizations and networks, to promote the right and resources to recover through advocacy, education and demonstrating the power and proof of long-term recovery.