Upon entering Paradigm New York, all teens receive several different intake evaluations, including a thorough medical evaluation. These evaluations are to provide our team of professionals with measures of the teens’ physical health and functioning, in order to incorporate this information into teens’ treatment plans. As the research linking mental health and physical health continues to grow, we not only incorporate techniques and modalities that address these connections, but also to educate teens and families on how these systems are interconnected. To this end, we’ve designed our Teen Medical Aspects of Addiction and Recovery program, as part of our Psycho-Educational Services, here at Paradigm New York.
Very often what we see in adolescent treatment is that the treatment plans focus simply on a few present symptoms but doesn’t address the larger picture of what’s going on in the teen, on numerous levels. This kind of limited focus often produces many oversights, including physical ailments which may very well be the cause of those symptoms. An example of this kind of relationship is the significant hormonal fluctuations teens experience at this time of life, which can disrupt numerous different systems in the body, including neurotransmitters, which in turn, are huge culprits of depression. When you consider these sorts of relationships in the body, it seems foolish, if not irresponsible, not to address and treat the physical factors, while teens are in treatment for mental health and/or substance abuse conditions.
Another important topic we discuss in these classes is the long-term, irreversible physical effects that addiction and substance abuse can have on the body, and especially, teens’ brains. Though it’s common for teens to claim that they have an understanding of how alcohol and drugs affect their bodies, the reality is that this is most often not true. The information teens tend to have on the risks and effects of these substances is usually some sort of combination of rumor, media, and peers, and may or may not have anything to do with facts. This ignorance and/or misinformation creates a serious vulnerability for teens abusing substances, as they are often really unaware of what is actually at risk. In this respect, one of the primary reasons we created our Educational services program is to educate teens and families with complete, accurate information about the issues they’re currently experiencing.
Another aspect of the Medical Aspects of Addiction and Recovery series at Paradigm New York is to educate teens and families about the different stages of addiction and recovery, from a more clinical standpoint, including the neurological effects of addiction. We find that it’s incredible helpful especially for parents and family members to be knowledgeable from a scientific standpoint about what the teens are going through, especially for instance, as they suffer through symptoms of withdrawal. We find that often it helps lessen family members’ anxiety as they navigate this time, when they’re equipped with information and familiarity about what’s happening.
Paradigm New York is an adolescent treatment center, located in Westchester New York. As a way of educating and informing the teens and families we work with, we offer a Teen Medical Aspects of Addiction and Recovery program, open to all families interested.