Tessa Vining, LCSW, CASAC, and Jessica Knoll, LCSW, CASAC, visited our offices at the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids this week for a lunch and learn presentation on the assessment and treatment process for adolescents and their families.
Sponsored by Phoenix House, the nation’s leading provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment services, Vining and Knoll reinforced with us the steps parents and families need to take when they are helping a teen or young adult from substance abuse addiction to recovery. The presentation, which offered insight on finding the right treatment center, screening and assessment, also focused on mental health and the important topic of dual diagnosis, where a teen has both an alcohol or drug issue and an emotional/psychiatric problem. A lot of treatment programs are moving toward being able to support teens with psychiatric disorders, which is important to achieve a full recovery from substance abuse.
Vining shared with us the same counsel she gives to the many parents she speaks with: their positive involvement in the treatment process is extremely crucial and can significantly impact a teen’s success. It demonstrates to the child that the parents care, and it not only gives the teen the opportunity to learn about peer pressure, what led to their addiction and what they can do, but can educate parents as well. Recovery is possible, but it is best accomplished as a family process. Parents have to be clear about expectations in the home that apply to everyone and follow through on consequences when the rules are broken. No matter how difficult the situation and the consequent adjustment to a new life is, teens in treatment need support, rules and limits from their parents, along with love, understanding and affection.