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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

12-Step for Teenagers

More teenagers are abusing drugs to the point where they require substance abuse treatment. According to new study, teenagers in treatment for substance abuse can benefit from 12-step programs. In the past there was little research conducted on how effective these programs are for adolescents, HealthDay reports.

127 teens who were outpatients in substance abuse treatment programs participated in the study. They were evaluated when they began the study, and again three, six and 12 months later.

The researchers found about one-quarter to one-third of the teens attended Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings throughout the year-long study period, and that the more meetings the participants went to, the better they did with their problem throughout the year.

“Importantly, youth who also were in contact with an AA or NA sponsor or who participated verbally during AA/NA meetings had an even better outcome over and above the positive effects from merely attending,” researcher John F. Kelly of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital said in a news release. “These findings support the common clinical recommendation that individuals should ‘go to meetings, get a sponsor, and get active.’ This is the first evidence to support this common clinical recommendation among young people.”

“It is also a good idea to facilitate a good match between the patient’s primary substance, cannabis/other drugs or alcohol, and the mutual-help organization to which they are being referred, Marijuana Anonymous, NA or AA. Not doing this can lead to a poor initial match, which can be difficult to overcome,” Kelly said.

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