Young Adults and their Desire To Recover from Addiction

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According to a longitudinal study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, young adults undergoing treatment for addiction arrive ready and willing to start making the change in their habits and bring about recovery… however, these desires need to be sustained by the help and guidance that they receive throughout the treatment process. The research was carried out through a collaborative effort of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and the Butler Center for Research at Hazelden.

“This study suggests that strong motivation to change may exist from the get-go among young adults with severe addiction problems entering residential treatment, but the know-how and confidence to change come through the treatment experience,” explains John F. Kelly, Ph.D., of the Center for Addiction Medicine who authored the study with Center colleagues Karen Urbanoski, Ph.D., and Bettina Hoeppner, Ph.D., and Valerie Slaymaker, Ph.D., of the Butler Center for Research at Hazelden.

The study involved 303 young adults within the age range 18-24 who were attending a multi-disciplinary twelve step based residential treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. The study took note of the subjects’ level of change during the treatment period. The key areas considered were motivation, psychological distress, coping skills and commitment to participation in self help and mutual support groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and Narcotics Anonymous. The study also assessed the respondents’ self-efficacy or the person’s confidence and discipline to stay clean and sober. The assessments were measured in four important windows of interval—the treatment intake, mid-treatment period, discharge period and three months post discharge.

During the time they entered the treatment program, participants were recorded to have high levels of motivation and will to remain abstinent. However, they were found to have lower levels of coping skills, self-efficacy and commitment to mutual support groups. During the treatment process, the levels of the foregoing measures increased and this predicted the abstinence of the participants from alcohol and drugs at three months post-treatment. Self-efficacy remained to the most reliable measurement to predict abstinence levels.

Slaymaker from Hazelden said that, “The young people in our study were quite motivated to do well in treatment but lacked the confidence, coping skills, and commitment to AA that are critical to longer-term success. Treatment appears to work by increasing their confidence and ability to make and sustain healthy, recovery-related efforts.”

In conclusion, the finding suggests that residential treatment gives the young adults the necessary boost for them to achieve recovery. With the help of plummeting their psychological distress, increasing their recovery-focused coping skills, growing their commitment to AA and other groups, and by enhancing their overall confidence to remain clean and drug or alcohol free, the young people    creates a meaningful change during the treatment that allows them to be in a position for improved outcomes.

 

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  1. I think it is the desire of every addict to recover from whatever their addiction is. It is vital therefore to give them a good support system, a system that does not judge but an understanding society that help and cares.

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