Myth: All adolescents & young adults (young people) “experiment” with drugs. Statistics show that the rate of drug use remains at a very high level for young people (1). Part of the myth of “experimentation” is that drug use is a naturally occurring “rite of passage” from adolescence in to adulthood. However, not every young person has tried or will try drugs. In addition, not all will pass through their drug use without experiencing negative consequences from their use. Drug use is risky and unhealthy behavior. In today’s society even “experimentation” can lead to car accidents, driving while under the influence, unplanned sexual activity, date rape, and sometimes death. Moreover, the word “experimentation” can be misleading. When we get calls from parents seeking counseling for their adolescent or young adult child, we often hear the words, “I think my son is experimenting with drugs.” When asked how long the parent has been aware of the drug use, the reply can be anywhere from weeks to years. The parent’s response implies that “experimentation” is a phase, when “experimentation” is not a phase at all. In fact, it is a “one-time event. ” (2) Once intoxication has been experienced, the experiment is over. The user has achieved the results of the experiment, “I like this feeling,” or ” I don’t like this feeling.” Subsequent intoxication indicates misuse, abuse or addiction.
When helping young people with substance use disorders, at the end of the day what we are assess and treating is a “pathological relationship to intoxication.” The name of the drug they are using is an illusion . They need to know they are not hooked on weed, they are hooked on intoxication and therefore must see all intoxicating substances as the same. Take away weed from the pot smoker and they drink and/or take pills. Take away Oxycontin for the opiate user and they use benzodiazepines and marijuana. This is because they were not hooked on the particular drug, they were hooked on “intoxication.” The focus of treatment for young people is to severe their pathological relationship to intoxication so as to open up their capacity to have regulating relationships with their counselor, support groups, rebuilt family relationships and healthy peer groups. Such social supports promote dopamine(3), and endogenous opiates (4) which the user has been chasing on the streets, but can be created in health relationships as they were intended to. Helping them and the family to understand this and supporting their growth in this way is the core of treatment after we have helped them to become drug-free.
(1) Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2011). Monitoring the Future national results on adolescent drug use: Overview of key findings, 2010. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan, 77 pp.
(2) Gust, Walker, Daily, How to Help Your Child Become Drug Free: A Guide for Parents of Adolescents & Young Adults with Substance Abuse or Addiction. (2006). Available at www.recoveryhappens.com
(3) Siegel, D. J. The Developing Mind: Toward a Neurobiology of Interpersonal Experience. (New York: The Guilford Press, 1999).
(4) Schore, A.N. Affect Dysregulation and Disorders of the Self. (New York:
W.W. Norton, 2003).
All of the clinicians at RHCS share the same knowledge base and operate in the same structured treatment model. We are proud to be a resource for the Dr. Phil Show and a community resource serving families of teens, adolescents and young adults with substance abuse and drug addiction in Sacramento, Fair Oaks, Carmichael, Folsom, Granite Bay, Roseville, Rocklin, Elk Grove, Davis, El Dorado Hills, Citrus Heights, Solano, Yolo county and other surrounding areas.
Drug, alcohol and mental health issues are very serious matters
Each session has a specific purpose in the structured process of guiding a substance abuser or addict toward recovery. It is recognized that almost all substance abusers begin treatment without the motivation to change. The first task of treatment is to help the drug user develop a greater recognition of the problem, and to support the growing motivation to change.
The family education program
Experience shows that recovery will be long lasting only if changes continue to be made in several key areas in an persons life.
Such changes will necessitate a review of attitudes, feelings and behaviors. This is where the parents come in.
Building the family’s ability to support recovery
The Family Education Program is structured to help parents and guardians understand their crucial role in the recovery process. Participation in this part of the program is so essential that it is mandatory.
We also support and encourage parental awareness and growth through recommended readings and referrals to support groups in the community.
Referrals and community collaboration
Our counselors have an extensive network with other care providers and are happy to work with families to find appropriate resources should there be a need for specialized services or a more intensive treatment program.
The Recovery Happens Treatment Program
Any chemical use is potentially harmful. A person under the influence of mood altering substances has an impaired ability to make healthy decisions and their brain chemistry is being altered.
Substance abuse is an emotional illness. After a relationship with drugs or alcohol has developed, the ability to identify, express, and cope with emotions is damaged and their emotions become numbed and distorted.
Addiction is a biochemical disease. Addiction is a primary, chronic, progressive disease that has its roots in genetics, brain chemistry and attachment.
Substance abuse occurs in all kinds of families. Substance abuse crosses the lines of gender, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, and spiritual and religious beliefs.
Everyone in the family is effected by chemical abuse. Family members and others close to a person who is abusing chemicals are affected by the use and the consequences of that use.
Recovery requires support. Essential elements of recovery are lifestyle change and support.
RHCS clinicians work together and share these beliefs
All of the clinicians at RHCS share the same knowledge base and operate in the same structured treatment model.
We are proud to be a resource for the Dr. Phil Show and a community resource serving families of teens, adolescents & young adults with substance abuse and drug addiction in Sacramento, Fair Oaks, Carmichael, Folsom, Granite Bay, Roseville, Rocklin, Elk Grove, Davis, El Dorado Hills, Citrus Heights, Solano, Yolo county and other surrounding areas.