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spirituality, teen substance abuse treatment, medical research studies

A new research study has shown that spirituality can be essential for teens who are receiving substance abuse treatment, and this factor can help the individual abstain from drugs or alcohol and reach a permanent recovery. The research study was conducted by The University of Akron, with Case Western Reserve University and Baylor University researchers involved as well. After studying the approaches used for teen substance abuse treatment at New Directions, an adolescent residential program for substance abuse treatment, the importance of spirituality in rehab can be shown. Two different adolescent studies which are ongoing were used in order to determine the daily spiritual experiences and substance abuse patterns of almost 200 adolescents, all between the ages of 14 and 18 years old.

What this research study showed was that when adolescents in substance abuse treatment programs have a spiritual experience this makes them more likely to abstain from substance abuse and it increased their positive social interactions and behaviors. Abstinence was determined by toxicology screens. The spiritual experiences that were used in the study were not related to any specific religion, and were based on the 12 step program used by New Directions. The results may be very helpful in tailoring substance abuse treatment programs for teens that have higher success rates and lower relapse risks. The most effective rehab programs are typically those which include a spiritual component and spiritual counseling, and this study shows that spirituality is important for all ages when the goal is a permanent recovery and an end to the substance abuse.