Do 12-Step Programs Help Kids In Treatment For Addiction?

Do 12-Step Programs Help Kids In Treatment For Addiction?

Meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and associated twelve step program fellowships are primarily for adults. Attend a designated “young people’s” meeting and you’ll find middle to late aged teenagers, those in their early twenties, and still find a littering of grown up adults. Family members of adolescents and teens who are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction can feel lost when it comes to incorporating the 12 step lifestyle into their child’s life. They wonder if meetings are effective or, at their young age, if working the twelve steps could help them.

A beauty of the twelve steps is their universality. Anyone who has felt out of control of a behavior in their lives can intimately relate to the words and philosophies of the twelve step program. Called a “program for living” a “design for living” and a “spiritual program”, the tenets of the twelve steps promote, honest, action, and progress in life.  Anyone can benefit from the twelve steps. For adolescents and teens who are recovering from addiction to drugs and alcohol, the steps can be part of creating a foundation for recovery in their lives. When kids go to treatment, they get to learn about the twelve steps, attend onsite meetings, and participate in local twelve step communities. In addition to the clinical, evidence-based treatments that residential programs offer, the twelve steps enhance the recovery process.

Addiction published a study examining the relationship between 12-step philosophy and evidence based treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing are evidence-based therapy types that are proven to be effective in treating addiction. Incorporating the philosophies, information, and practices of the 12 steps can make these already effective therapies more impactful. Though the sample of just under 60 adolescents between the ages of 14 to 21 was small, the results were big. Having used heavily within the past 90 days, the participants were assigned to 10 weeks of either strictly evidence-based treatment or treatment that incorporated the 12 steps. Both groups had improvements in the amount of days they remained abstinent from drugs and alcohol. Participants in the 12 step group were more likely to attend 12 step meetings more often and had fewer instance us substance-use related problems. Psych Central cities unhappiness, guilt, shame, neglecting responsibility, risk taking, financial complications, and strained relationships, as well as accidents- all relating to a relapse of substance abuse. Researchers explain that the higher attendance of 12 step meetings had longer continuous amounts of abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers residential treatment to adolescent and teenage boys. Our clinically driven programs help our boys build a foundation of recovery while cleansing their life in mind, body, and spirit. Call us today for information on our campus and our programs in Mississippi: 662-598-4214

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