Young Adults Want to Recover from Addiction but Need Help

Young Adults Want to Recover from Addiction but Need Help

The good news is that young people entering residential addiction treatment centers are truly interested in changing and bring a “can-do” attitude into drug rehab. The cautionary news is that they need the guidance and inspired confidence that treatment provides in order to realize their high expectations of success.

Results from a collaborative, longitudinal study supported by Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General and the Butler Center for Research have been published in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal. The study followed 303 18- to 24-year-olds through and beyond their experience in a 12-step residential addiction treatment center. Researchers made assessments during initial treatment intake, mid-way through the treatment program, as the participants were discharged from treatment and three months following discharge.

Those assessments measured participants for quantifiable changes in a range of key areas which included:

  • Self-efficacy (the person’s self-confidence regarding their ability to remain clean and sober);
  • Coping skills;
  • Motivation;
  • Psychological distress; and
  • Willingness to commit to group support such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

During initial assessments, participants exhibited elevated levels of motivation but low levels of coping skills, willingness to commit to support groups and self-efficacy.

As their treatment progressed, the assessments proved to be reliable predictors of post-discharge abstinence. Looking at the study’s findings it is evident that addiction recovery treatment is effective in relation to its success in equipping residents with confidence and the skills necessary to make recovery-related strides. The leading predictor of post-discharge success was self-efficacy.

The study also found that residential treatment lowers psychological distress, is helpful in development of recovery coping skills and enhances residents’ overall confidence levels including their willingness to commit to support groups like A.A. Since self-efficacy scores were the prime indicator of future abstinence, measuring departing residents on this key metric could prove highly beneficial in gauging treatment success.

This study shows that youthful ardor can be positively instructed and directed to help young people make lasting changes in their lives. By removing them from outside stressors and giving them the tools they need to believe lasting change is possible, addiction specialists are making the greatest contribution toward helping a willing heart realize its hope of an addiction-free life.

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