By Ken Marlborough
It is a fact that half of US teenagers try marijuana before finishing high school. It can affect school performance and sports adversely. Long term use can lead to addiction. In 2002 over a quarter million individuals entering a drug rehabilitation program reported marijuana as their primary drug of abuse.
There are a few treatment programs geared specifically for marijuana users. Rehab involves counseling and group therapy. The ultimate goal of teen drug rehab programs is to allow the teenager to be abstinent from drugs. They help the person become productive and overcome the health effects of the drug as well as the withdrawal symptoms. Teenagers are unique in that they are undergoing physical and mental changes constantly. Many teenagers may also have legal issues and may have a compulsory drug rehab program. Relationships with family, peers and the community are very important. As with other rehab programs a thorough medical and psychiatric evaluation is performed. Periodic monitoring of progress is made and as some programs state the goal of rehab right from the first day is planning for the return home.
Some teen rehab programs have the residents perform chores but it appears that this is not favored or supported by research. Family involvement in the rehabilitation process is crucial and programs have methods to ensure this occurs. Sports, yoga, acupuncture, religion and spiritual programs are components of these programs. Some programs have music therapy and even animal therapy. Academic assistance through on site tutors as well as coordination with the teenager’s school is a very important part of programs.
Often declining grades are a symptom of drug use and attention to this aspect sometimes ensures that once discharged some students perform even better than their peers. Parents often have mental health issues related to their teenager’s drug habit and attention to this will help the teenager in the long term.
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