Young people are constantly being bombarded with stimulants, whether that's caffeine, cocaine or even diet pills. These can rapidly lead to a real problem within our society that means our young people are in crisis. There are a number of traditional treatments for addiction, but does this work for this demographic?
There are many issues with long term stimulant abuse, even caffeine can have these effects further down the line. Cans of energy drinks can have dangerously high levels of caffeine and sugar, especially considering the sheer overconsumption that we see in younger people. Have you ever quit drinking energy drinks only to find that you feel like you're going through withdrawals? That's exactly the problem.
We're big advocates of helping teens stay healthy and off drugs, but stimulants may seem less harmful than hard drugs like heroin. A party drug like cocaine may seem no worse than a spirit to some teens. It's a slippery slope and it doesn't take long for these habits to get out of control.
Generally, state funded treatment options are accustomed to dealing with adults, rather than teens. Their traditional methods just don't mesh with the kind of stimulant addiction treatment that private facilities can offer. They can more accurately deal with the mood swings and depression that come from a detox from stimulants, which typically make the user feel buoyant.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is important to really address the underlying cause of the addiction. Sometimes this can just be boredom, which can be rampant among the young population. Dealing with councillors that are younger and more relatable can work wonders for this demographic, which is something that many traditional treatment providers don't address. This creates a sort of 'us and them' atmosphere among the substance abusers, as they don't relate to the treatment provider.
Detox can be a hard process but it's nothing compared to the temptation that the outside world presents. In a session, it's easy to swear off a stimulant or dangerous behaviour but the reality of the matter is much harder. Teens respond better to long term programmes in which they stay in a facility with appropriate aftercare.
It's important to note that the chemistry of the brain changes through the teen years and stimulant addiction treatment that work for adults may not work for teens. We have different endorphins, hormones, chemistry, receptors and much, much more. Because of this, therapy is adapted to the age of the patient and this needs to be the case with addiction treatment too.
Teens don't want to be patronised, especially by adults that are trying to tap into the way they think. A lot of businesses and experts attempt to relate to teens in this way, the results of this can be frankly embarrassing. We don't want to be talked down to with hashtags or related to through memes, which is the path that seems most obvious.
Instead, the addiction treatment needs to be upfront, clear and relatable. Only then will we see the rates of young people being treated and steering clear of their substance start to rise.