Teens Resist Substance Abuse by Helping Others

Posted by Drug Free in Alcohol Abuse, Drug Abuse Treatment, Drug Addiction on November 14th, 2011

It has been noted that teens are able to resist their alcohol and drug cravings while on treatment programs by helping others.

Case Western Reserve University has identified these cravings as the major causes of relapse after teens undergo treatment for substance abuse. A new study suggests that teens that help other teens who were in the same path as they were before increase their resistance to go into substance abuse again.

This new finding on teen substance abuse was gathered through a study that was participated by 93 males and 102 females aged 14 to 18 years old who were all graduates from drug courts or from substance abuse treatment facilities. About 92 % of the study population was addicted to marijuana and almost 60% of them were previously hooked on alcohol.

Maria Pagano, an associate professor of psychiatry, described the results of their study. “Our findings indicate that service participation in 12-step programs can reduce the craving symptoms experienced by adolescents in treatment for alcohol and or drug addiction.”

Among the participants in the research, who were all interviewed within the first 10 days of their 12-step program and were released after two months, helping others go through the same treatment process made four out of seven substance abuse cases successful, and two types of cravings symptoms were reduced as psychological dispositions improved.

It was also noted that teens who had stronger spiritual pursuits (those who prayed, meditated, and did worship more) were more readily available to help others too.

Pagano confirmed the role of religion in the success of an individual going through the 12-step program. She said that teens who identify with their religion found it easier to adapt to the program which paved the way for them to get better.

Those who entered the program without any religious affiliation had more difficulty surviving the program.  “In turn, youth entering treatment with low or no religious background may require greater 12-step facilitation or a different approach to derive equal benefit from treatment.”