Using 12-Step Program Improves Substance Use Disorder Treatment in Teens: Study

Using a 12-step strategy, similar to the one used by Alcoholics Anonymous, improves the effectiveness of substance use disorder treatment in teens, a new study finds.

The study at Massachusetts General Hospital found combining a 12-step approach with standard care produced more successful outcomes that current standard methods alone, HealthDay reports. The findings appear in the journal Addiction.

“While all adolescents can improve when they receive well-articulated substance-use disorder treatment, we showed that adding a 12-step component to standard cognitive-behavioral and motivational strategies produced significantly greater reductions in substance-related consequences during and in the months following treatment,” study author John Kelly, PhD, said in a news release. “It also produced higher rates of 12-step meeting participation, which was associated with longer periods of continuous abstinence.”

Suggesting Treatment to a Loved One

You may have heard that your son or daughter needs to “hit bottom” or “has to want help,” in order to get better. And therefore any attempts to otherwise convince him or her to enter treatment is wasted breath. The fact of the matter is our loved ones are often interested in getting help — but we may not always know what to listen for.

parents with their teen

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