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 synthetic marijuana 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 Synthetic Marijuana Abuse?
Advertised as a safe, legal alternative to traditional marijuana, synthetic marijuana is a lab-made substance that has been proven to be unsafe for human consumption. Synthetic marijuana is designed to mimic the effects of traditional marijuana. It is made up of dried, shredded plant materials and chemical additives, which are responsible for the mind altering effects associated with this drug. The chemicals used to create synthetic marijuana have been known to cause devastating and even life-threatening consequences. At SUWS of the Carolinas we are aware of the dangerous effects associated with synthetic marijuana and have developed specialized treatment to help young people overcome synthetic marijuana abuse. We are dedicated to helping our students obtain a happier, healthier future.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member with the Treatment Process
If you believe that your child is abusing synthetic marijuana, it is completely understandable for you to be struggling with a host of emotions. You are most likely angry with your child for doing something that can cause them such harm and are most likely extremely worried or scared for your child’s overall wellbeing. While you know that some sort of intervention is warranted, you may be worried about sending your child to a treatment program. Furthermore, you may be unsure of what you can do to help your child. The following are somethings you can do that will provide your child with support during this difficult time:
- Even though synthetic marijuana is still a fairly new drug, you should learn as much as you can about this substance. The more you are able to learn the better you will be able to related to your child and be able to aid him or her in the recovery process.
- Talk to your child about his or her drug use, expressing your concerns in a calm and rational manner. Try to refrain from getting upset or yelling at your child because that will only make things work.
- Before you child begins treatment talk to him or her about the treatment program that he or she will be attending.
- Be an active part of your child’s treatment process. The more active you are in your child’s treatment process the more successful he or she is likely to be.
Why Consider Treatment at SUWS of the Carolinas
Currently, no scientific studies have been able to identify specific long-term effects that may result from using synthetic marijuana. However, reports of multiple hospitalizations, overdoses, and deaths associated with use of this substance indicate how dangerous even one use of synthetic marijuana can be. The use of synthetic marijuana can be extremely dangerous and may produce life-threatening effects including seizures, heart attack, psychotic episodes, and suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Furthermore, young people who abuse synthetic marijuana are likely to experience a number of other negative effects including decline in scholastic achievement, loss of interpersonal relationships, and disruption within the family unit. For these reasons, as well as many more we may not even be fully aware of yet, if you have a child who is abusing synthetic marijuana professional treatment should be sought immediately.
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 synthetic marijuana abuse.
Types of Treatment Offered at SUWS of the Carolinas
At our outdoor treatment center, the wilderness is the forefront of therapy and the 12-step structure is infused into the daily activities of its students. 12-step exposure puts many tools in a student’s toolbox along with 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 therapy 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 our wilderness treatment center so they can envision how they can take the steps and run with them!
Throughout treatment, 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 program 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 Program, for the treatment of synthetic marijuana, include:
Medication management: There is no medication available that is designed to treat synthetic marijuana 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 usage 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 SUWS student 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 at SUWS of the Carolinas focuses on the abuse of synthetic marijuana 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 SUWS, 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, synthetic marijuana abuse, and the treatment process.
Experiential therapy: In addition to traditional therapeutic 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
Once a student has completed therapy at our wilderness treatment center, he or she 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 treatment 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 therapy. 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.
SUWS not only helps treat pressing psychological and behavioral issues, but also provides care for teens and adolescents who are struggling with substance abuse concerns like synthetic marijuana abuse. Each one of the staff members at our wilderness treatment center is determined to helping each student who comes to us overcome his or her presenting issues and achieve a happier, healthy life.