SUWS of the Carolinas is a therapeutic wilderness treatment center that focuses on short-term, high-impact clinical intervention and therapy for adolescents, ages 10 to 17, who are struggling with prescription drug abuse.
The Phoenix Program at our wilderness treatment center is designed to help adolescents, ages 13-17, who are struggling with substance abuse issues. It is the goal of the Phoenix Program, with the use of the wilderness and multiple therapeutic approaches, to help encourage effective change in each adolescent that comes through our doors.
What is Teen Prescription Drug Abuse?
Prescription drug abuse by a child or adolescent can cause a number of negative consequences that can lead to lifelong problems. When abused, prescription drugs can place a young person at an increased risk for a number of harmful health effects, such as overdose, which can end in death.
At our wilderness treatment center, we recognize how destructive prescription drug abuse can be in a young person’s life, and how difficult it can be to overcome such a complex problem. We use a number of effective therapeutic methods to positively engage young people, helping them to recognize their inner strength and build a foundation for achieving long-lasting recovery.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member with the Treatment Process
Having a child who has a prescription drug abuse problem can be a complicated issue to deal with, but it is imperative that you address the problem as soon as possible before things get worse. If you are unsure how to go about helping your son or daughter, there are a number of resources available, including your family physician who can point you in the right direction.
Below are some tips that may help you get started:
- Learn everything you can you can about prescription drug abuse and addiction. There are many resources available that can provide you will helpful information.
- Talk to your child about your concerns and encourage his to open up to you about any specific concerns or issues he or she may be facing. You should also speak to your child about the recovery process before taking him or her to a treatment center.
- Once your child is receiving treatment be sure to remain involved in the recovery process.
Once your child returns home from our treatment center, you will have a strong aftercare plan that was put together by the SUWS treatment team. In order to ensure that your child follows this plan, it is a good idea to educate yourself about addiction and substance abuse so that you can learn to spot the signs that your child may be struggling or in danger of relapse.
Finally, remember that recovery is a long process. Be supportive and patient, and be sure to celebrate the small victories along the way!
Why Consider Treatment at SUWS of the Carolinas
Right now you may be asking yourself, “does my son or daughter struggle with a prescription drug addiction?”
Many young people who abuse prescription medications are under the false assumption that these drugs are not dangerous because they are prescribed by a doctor. However, when used improperly, prescription medication can affect a young person’s body and brain in ways that are very similar to illicit street drugs. In fact, prescription drugs can cause a number of dangerous short- and long-term effects when they are not used as directed.
The abuse of prescription medication can cause a young person to experience changes in his or her mood, perception, behavior, and judgment. Engaging in risky behavior can place a young person at an increased risk for accidents and sexually transmitted diseases. The health risks associated with prescription drug abuse can be severe (and even fatal), especially when these drugs are used with alcohol and other drugs.
The dedicated staff at our leading wilderness treatment center are ready to help your song or daughter, as well as your whole family, who may be affected by teen prescription drug abuse.
Types of Treatment Offered at SUWS of the Carolinas
The Phoenix Outdoor track puts wilderness in the forefront of treatment, and incorporates the 12-step recovery model into students’ daily lives. The 12-step model helps students build a strong foundation for long-term recovery, as do our many other activities, such as motivational enhancement, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, neuro- feedback and supplemental activities such as yoga, mindfulness, and meditation practices.
Recovery Support provides a guide for translating daily wilderness skills at SUWS into a 12-step recovery process so that when they leave our treatment center, students have already been forming the habits of a 12-step lifestyle. By addressing the concepts embedded in the 12-steps through didactic instruction, time for reflection, opportunities to translate the steps into physical activity, and coaching of daily habits, a culture of support, positivity, and vulnerability are fostered among students in the Phoenix program. Ultimately, students are given the opportunity to practice the 12-steps and how they will be implemented outside of SUWS so they can envision how they can take the steps and run with them!
Throughout this treatment process, our staff provides guidance and helps students see a solution to their internal and external struggles through the framework of the 12-step therapy approach. We have found that students in the Phoenix Outdoor track are easily able to attach meaning to the activities and structure they encounter, which enables them to use those metaphors as powerful tools of introspection and guidance. Some of the therapeutic activities offered through the Phoenix Outdoor track, for the treatment of prescription drug abuse, include:
Medication management: There is no medication available that is designed to treat prescription drug abuse; however, if your child is struggling with a co-occurring disorder he or she may be prescribed medication to control the presence of any distressing symptoms. All medication use during therapy will be a combined decision between you and your child’s psychiatrist, with whom your child will meet on an as-needed basis. Our psychiatrist is available to meet with students at base camp every other week in the fall, winter, and spring, and every week in the summer. Additionally, we have a registered nurse on staff and all of our field staff are trained in medication administration.
Individual therapy: Each student in our Phoenix Outdoor track receives individual counseling sessions with a licensed mental health professional on a regular basis. Through individual therapy your child can work through any emotional issues he or she may be struggling with and can continue to work on the skills needed to remain sober.
Group therapy: Group therapy in the Phoenix Outdoor track at our wilderness treatment center focuses on prescription drug abuse topics and the 12-step model for recovery. Possible group topics may include relapse prevention, anger management, and social skills development.
Family therapy: Throughout the duration of a student’s stay at our treatment center, parents will participate in weekly calls with a therapist who will update them on their child’s progress and treatment status. Because we firmly believe that family members should also be making positive changes in their lives, we also provide a two-day family workshop for parents, which is designed to foster awareness of their own behaviors. We also offer a 10-week series of webinar classes where parents can learn more about wilderness therapy, prescription drug abuse, and the recovery process.
Experiential therapy: In addition to traditional therapy methods, SUWS of the Carolinas offers a number of experiential therapies to provide our students with well-rounded recovery. Some of the therapies offered to our students include:
- 12-step meetings
- Therapeutic drumming
- Ropes courses
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
Upon completion of the Phoenix Outdoor track here at SUWS of the Carolinas, each student will participate in a three day graduation process, during which he or she will be reunited with family members for final closing sessions before returning home. During the graduation process parents will spend a night in the wilderness with their child, where they will begin to establish new behavior patterns. On the final day, a ceremony honoring the accomplishments of each graduate will be held prior to their departure.
As part of the therapy process at SUWS of the Carolinas, we provide each student and his or her family with transitional planning to help determine the most appropriate placement upon graduation from our program. SUWS therapists will coordinate aftercare planning with parents, referring professionals, and the family transition specialist as needed. Our therapists and other mental health professionals work diligently to make the transition to the next phase of treatment is as smooth as possible.
Phoenix Outdoor not only helps treat pressing psychological and behavioral issues, but also provides care for adolescents and teens who are struggling with substance abuse concerns, like prescription drug abuse. Each one of our staff members is determined to help each student who comes to us overcome his or her presenting issues and achieve a happier, healthy life.