Teen substance abuse and addiction continues to impact young people, families, and communities across the U.S. In fact, about 5% of the teen population, or 1.3 million adolescents ages 12-17, struggle with a substance use disorder (SUD), according to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Without the appropriate therapeutic intervention, the problem will surely escalate, putting teens on a trajectory that could have devastating consequences for their lives.
When drug or alcohol abuse threatens a teen’s health, academic performance, and career aspirations it is time to get professional help. The first step in recovery from an SUD is the medical detoxification process where the body rids itself of the harmful substance of abuse. A medical detox provides the teen with the safety measures and emotional support needed during the difficult withdrawal phase.
BNI Treatment Centers Medical Detox and Withdrawal Management
Behavioral Neuroscience Institute (BNI) provides a supervised, safe environment for the adolescent beginning the recovery process with a medical detox. Owned and operated by medical doctors of psychiatry, the treatment team at BNI has extensive training in both the physiological and psychological aspects of addiction and recovery. At the outset, a thorough evaluation of the teen’s drug history, physical health, and psychological history are assessed. From these results, an individualized long-term treatment plan is created.
During the 14-day withdrawal stabilization program, the teen’s vitals will be monitored throughout, and medications to assist with withdrawal symptoms will be administered throughout the process. Medical supervision is needed because withdrawal symptoms are often unpredictable and can suddenly become a serious risk to the teen’s health.
Medication for withdrawals is essential for the successful completion of detox. Without this medical intervention, the withdrawal symptoms may be so difficult to endure that the teen won’t complete the process. The teen will return to using the substance of abuse to put an end to the highly uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, and recovery is abandoned.
The Detoxification Timeline
When an individual has been abusing drugs or alcohol for an extended period of time, the brain and the body have made certain accommodations for the steady influx of the substance of abuse. When use of the substance is suspended, the body responds by rebelling, and withdrawal symptoms ensue. The symptoms and detox timeline will vary based on the substance of abuse.
In general, withdrawal symptoms begin within 6-12 hours of the last dose of the substance or alcoholic beverage. Symptoms will ramp up in intensity, usually peaking on days 2 and 3, and then begin to gradually subside over the next week to ten days. The exact length of the detox process will depend to a large extent on the history and extent of use of the drug or alcohol.
Detox Prepares the Teen for Addiction Treatment
Once the chemical substance has cleared the body, the teen and his or her parents will embark on the next phase of recovery, undergoing active treatment for the SUD. Detox alone is not adequate to achieving a sustained recovery. In most cases, underlying emotional pain, past traumas, risk-seeking behaviors, family dysfunction, or co-occurring mental health disorders are driving factors in the SUD and must be addressed and treated.
The expert team at BNI Treatment Centers will provide clear guidance for the next steps, formulating a long-term treatment plan. This will involve a referral to a residential or outpatient treatment program for the continuation of the recovery journey.