Teen Addiction Program Gives Parents Hope
Unique new program at Rogers Behavioral Health gives teens, families more options.
Rogers Behavioral Health has created a new program helping teens and their families who are struggling with addiction: the Adolescent Recovery Program (ARP).
The unique residential program offers treatment for teenagers ranging from age 12 to 17. The ARP opened in July 2017, and will soon be expanding. Currently, the program can treat eight patients at a time. But following a facility expansion this spring, Rogers will be able to help up to 12 patients at a time with this life-saving service.
Staff treats all substance use disorders (SUD), regardless of substance of choice, including alcohol, THC, prescription medications and illicit opioids such as heroin and fentanyl.
As a dual disorders treatment program, the ARP staff works in collaboration with addiction specialists to address co-occurring mental health diagnoses.
Although it may be scary to recognize that your child is using alcohol or drugs, teenagers often use these substances to temporarily decrease symptoms of an underlying mental health issue such as depression, bipolar disorder or other mood and anxiety disorders. Some adolescents with addictions aren’t self-medicating emotional issues, as addiction can have its onset even before age 15.
“There is a real misconception that addiction is caused by drugs,” says Dr. Michael Miller, MD, director of addiction program development and training at Rogers. “It actually isn’t. Addiction is a brain disease and is caused by differences in the brains of persons with the condition, and how their brains respond to drugs.”
“When you expose someone with predispositions to addiction to strong rewards like alcohol, drugs, or even certain behaviors, a loss of control can happen and the addiction process can emerge,” says Miller. “The usual age of onset of addiction is in the young adult and adolescent years.”
Like all treatments available at Rogers, those offered by ARP are specialized to address each patient’s specific needs. Patients typically stay 30-60 days, in a comfortable, home-like setting nestled within Rogers Memorial Hospital─West Allis.
The program is led by a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist who is also board-certified in addiction medicine, making the ARP an effective treatment program designed to provide both mental health and addiction expertise.
In addition to individual, group and family therapy, patients also receive medication management, art and movement therapy, daily living skills, nutrition and personal wellness education, spiritual care services, community outings and therapeutic passes.
Each patient receives regular contact with a psychiatrist and psychologist in addition to ongoing work with dedicated therapists and counselors.
While the ultimate goal for each patient is abstinence, the ARP also focuses on ways to “simultaneously allow families to practice self-care and rebuild the family dynamic as a whole,” says addiction counselor Kacie Wolfgram.
“Keep in mind that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety but rather human connections; rebuilding the family support system is crucial to sustained recovery,” says Wolfgram.
Family participation has been shown to greatly help patients be successful not only at Rogers, but in their lives outside of the treatment program. Family sessions are held once a week to discuss treatment developments, communication patterns, value and belief systems, and roles and expectations.
Each patient’s schedule includes designated time throughout the week for school work, allowing the teen to keep up with academic assignments as much as possible during their stay. There is also allotted time for personal activity, family visits and phone calls. They will find a variety of activities within the day, all meant to support healthy change.
Rogers Behavioral Health is here to help teens and families struggling with addiction. To learn more about the Adolescent Recovery Program, visit rogersbh.org or call 800-767-4411 for more information.