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Substance Use Treatment for Teens

Teen Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Use this resource page to explore different opioid use treatment options that are right for your teen.

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Opioid Addiction Treatment Explained

What are opioids and how addictive are they?

Opioids refer to a class of drugs that includes substances such as heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, codeine, morphine, and others.

Although doctors sometimes prescribe prescription opioid medications for severe pain, opioid misuse can quickly lead to dependence and addiction. SAMHSA explains that opioid misuse can lead to dependence in as little as five days.

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Additionally, teens and young adults are the biggest misusers of prescription pain medication, and prescription drugs are the most commonly abused substances among Americans ages 14 and older, following alcohol and marijuana.

Why Teens begin misusing opioids

Some may succumb to peer pressure, want to fit in, or experiment. Others may misuse opioids to self-medicate and find them easier to obtain than other drugs.

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What opioid misuse can lead to

Opioid misuse can not only lead to dependence and addiction but can also result in overdose, incidents, coma, permanent brain damage, and fatality.

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The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis

Teens and young people are significantly impacted by the negative effects of opioids.

Sandstone Care is here to support teens and young adults with substance use and mental health disorders.

How do teenagers get addicted to opioids?

Opioids may sometimes be prescribed for dental work, sports-related injuries, or surgeries. While they may work to help with pain, they can become highly addictive.

Opioids work by releasing dopamine into the body, which can cause someone to feel more relaxed or relieved from pain.

However, they also involve other effects, including sleepiness, nausea, and vomiting. Over time, they can also cause insomnia, muscle pain, infections, and pneumonia.

When a person becomes addicted, they lose control over the urge to seek the drug again and again, and the brain feels a need for opioids to feel “normal” again.

How do teenagers get opioids?

Teenagers most commonly obtain opioids from family or friends that were prescribed to them. Teenagers may also be prescribed opioids after dental work or surgery.

How many teens have used opioids?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2020, 9.5 million people 12 years of age and older misused opioids in the past year.

What are the symptoms of opioid addiction in teens?

When opioids are misused, they can slow down your breathing too much, cause a person to stop breathing entirely, and lead to overdose.

Paramedics will likely give a medication called naloxone, which is used to block the effects of opioids quickly.

If you believe a loved one has overdosed on opioids, call 911 immediately.

Other Symptoms of opioid addiction in teens can include:

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Changes in sleep
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Weight loss
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Uncontrollable cravings
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Cramping
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Frequently experiencing flu-like symptoms
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Drowsiness
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Lack of hygiene
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Muscle pain
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Nausea or vomiting
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Depression or anxiety
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Sandstone Care provides age specific care for those who struggle with substance use, mental health, and co-occurring disorders. We have treatment centers throughout the United States.

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How do you know if a teen needs to go to treatment for an addiction to opioids?

A teen may need treatment for opioid addiction if their opioid use has begun to have a negative effect on their everyday life and they cannot stop using despite the consequences.

7 Signs You May Need Addiction Treatment

Withdrawal symptoms of opioid addiction

A teen may also need treatment for opioid addiction if they experience withdrawal symptoms, which can include:

  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cravings
  • Irritability or Agitation
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal thoughts

If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, or if you are in imminent danger, call 911.

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Developed by Chief Clinical Officer Sarah Fletcher LPC

The Continuum of Care

Care for wherever you are in your journey.

Access a full range of treatments for mental health and substance use disorders. Whether you need a safe sober living community, inpatient care, or outpatient therapy, we have a program to help.

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What is the most effective way to treat opioid addiction?

A combination of medication and behavioral therapy has shown to be effective in treating opioid addictions.

 

What is the first line of treatment for opioid use disorder?

The first line of treatment for opioid use disorder is medication. Medication can also be most effective when coupled with behavioral therapy.

Which medications are most commonly used in the treatment of addictive disorders?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, three medicines are approved by the FDA to treat opioid addiction.

The medicines buprenorphine and methadone can help to reduce cravings. Naltrexone is another medication used to treat opioid addiction by preventing its effects on the brain.

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Therapy Treatments

Explore opioid use therapy options for teens.

We deliver evidence-based therapy treatment for teens in a number of areas. We’re available 24/7 to answer any questions.

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Contingency Management

Contingency Management involves giving tangible rewards to individuals to reinforce positive behaviors such as abstinence from substances.

For example, Voucher-based reinforcements (VBR) are sometimes used for people who primarily abuse opioids.

In VBR, a person receives a voucher for every drug-free urine sample they provide. Vouchers have monetary value and can be used for things that encourage a drug-free lifestyle, like groceries or movie passes.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is an evidence-based practice used to treat substance abuse and mental health issues.

CBT focuses on how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors connect and how unhealthy thought patterns can contribute to destructive behaviors.

A variety of different therapies fall under CBT, which can be used individually and in groups.

CBT is centered around identifying negative or false beliefs and restructuring them, so they reflect reality. It can also help teens build new techniques and life skills that they can use long after therapy.

CBT as a treatment for substance abuse helps teach individuals how to understand and avoid triggers, learn problem-solving skills, and build healthy coping mechanisms.

Motivation Enhancement Therapy

Motivation Enhancement Therapy (MET) is an approach that can help individuals engage in treatment and stop substance use.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the goal of MET is to evoke rapid and internally motivated change and build a plan for change.

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Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of psychotherapy used to treat mental health disorders, addiction, and dual diagnoses.

DBT focuses on four main skills: interpersonal effectiveness, mindfulness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance.

Each of these skills helps a person learn to balance acceptance and change and understand the three states of mind.

DBT can help teens understand their choices and what state of mind contributed to their actions.

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Sandstone Care offers age-specific, individualized, and evidence-based treatment programs that help you regain control of your life and achieve lasting recovery.

How do opioids affect relationships?

Opioids can lead to problems in relationships between family members, friends, and anyone close to you.

Opioid addiction can cause a person to isolate themselves. They may cut ties with the people close to them or change friend groups to be around people who also engage in substance use.

When one person struggles with opioid addiction, it affects the whole family. Because of this, families need to be involved throughout the treatment and recovery process for teen opioid addiction.

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How to talk to your kid about drug abuse
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What does opioid use do to the teenage brain?

Opioids work by attaching to receptors on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, and other organs.

By doing so, they can block pain messages sent from the body to the brain, which is why opioids are prescribed for severe pain.

Opioids also release large amounts of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that helps us feel rewarded, motivates our actions, and causes feelings of pleasure and well-being.

Teenagers are also especially vulnerable to addiction, dependence, and long-term or permanent damage from opioid misuse because they are experiencing many developmental changes.

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Mural in Sandstone Care Buffalo Grove Rehab Center

Buffalo Grove Rehab Center

195 N Arlington Heights Rd #101a, Buffalo Grove, Illinois, 60089

847-908-5461
Age Groups: TeensYoung Adults
Levels of Care: Partial Hospitalization (PHP)Intensive Outpatient (IOP)Assessments
Treatment Programs: Substance UseDual-Diagnosis
Towson Rehab Center

Towson Rehab Center

521 East Joppa Road, Suite 105, Towson, Maryland, 21286

410-847-7574
Age Groups: TeensYoung Adults
Levels of Care: Partial Hospitalization (PHP)Intensive Outpatient (IOP)Assessments
Treatment Programs: Substance UseDual-Diagnosis
Colorado Springs Rehab Center

Colorado Springs Rehab Center

5731 N. Academy Blvd., Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80918

719-445-3260
Age Groups: TeensYoung Adults
Levels of Care: Partial Hospitalization (PHP)Intensive Outpatient (IOP)Assessments
Treatment Programs: Substance UseDual-Diagnosis

FAQ

You have questions. We have answers.

Our goal is to provide the most helpful information. Please reach out to us if you have any additional questions. We are here to help in any way we can.

The increase in opioid overdose deaths has led the government to declare a public health emergency, affecting people in every community.

Opioids can affect every aspect of a teen’s life, including performance in school, mental and physical health, and relationships with family and friends.

It can also cause teens to engage in risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence.

Teens are especially vulnerable to the negative consequences of opioid use because of their rapidly developing brains. They are more susceptible to developing an addiction, long-term impacts on their health, or overdose.

According to the CDC, in 2019, current prescription opioid misuse was reported among 7.2% of high schoolers.

The opioid epidemic is a growing problem and has been declared a public health emergency.

Many parents may worry about how they can stop or prevent their children from abusing substances like opioids.

One of the first steps to preventing opioid use is by talking about it and educating yourself and your loved ones about the dangers that come with it. Open conversations can also help your child feel more comfortable coming to you and being open with you.

If a loved one is struggling with opioid use, reach out for professional help. Voice your concerns and give them your care and support. Getting help for substance use and addiction can be extremely difficult and is a process that takes time,

By getting professional help, you or your loved ones are given the resources and support needed to promote effective treatment and recovery.

Teen drug use and opioid misuse are extremely dangerous.

Not only does the opioid epidemic impact people of all communities, but teens are especially vulnerable to developing an addiction and facing long-term consequences related to opioid abuse.

Opioid use can negatively affect all aspects of a young person’s life and well-being.

According to the NIDA, behavioral therapies are the most commonly used form of drug abuse treatment.

Medications in combination with behavioral therapy can also be effective in treating addiction.

The effectiveness of different treatment approaches varies from person to person.

What works for one person may not work for another. That is why it is important to develop an individualized treatment plan to meet a specific individual’s needs rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

According to the Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, in regards to opioid addiction usually follows a pattern that includes:

  • Intoxication
  • Tolerance
  • Escalation in use
  • Withdrawal

Yes, CBT is used as an evidence-based practice for treating a wide range of substance use disorders, drug addiction, and mental health disorders.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research shows that the skills learned through CBT remain even after treatment is completed.

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Let’s take the next steps together

We understand taking the first step is difficult. There is no shame or guilt in asking for help or more information. We are here to support you in any way we can.