Teens Helping Other Teens with Substance Abuse Decrease Their Own Cravings

Teens Helping Other Teens with Substance Abuse Decrease Their Own Cravings

A recent study funded by the John Templeton Foundation observed 195 adolescents who underwent substance abuse treatment to study the relationship between the 12-step adolescent program during treatments, clinical outcomes and their lifetime religious factors. The findings were replicated in prior collaborative studies by Dr. Maria Pagano, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine.

This study referenced in a recent Medical News Today article showed that teens undergoing treatment for substance abuse reduced their own craving for alcohol and drugs when helping other adolescents do the same. The results highlighted that juvenile offenders who helped others with the same substance abuse problems largely increased their treatment responses.

The study was conducted in Northeast Ohio at the largest adolescent residential facility for substance abuse treatment, where the majority of the participants were marijuana dependent. Sixty percent of participants were dependent on alcohol and were all interviewed in their first 10 days of treatment and then again two days after their discharge.

Pagano and colleagues discovered that the 12-step program improved more than half of the end results and included decreases in two types of cravings, reduced egotistical entitlement and improved their psychosocial functioning.

Teens also participated more in treatment if they had religious practices such as prayer and worship, which led to better health outcomes. Pagano explains that youth entering treatment with a religious background tend to have an easier time in the recovery program.

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