In It For Health

Where health and psychology intersect

Teens benefit from 12-step programs

Posted by Dr. Susan on June 13, 2008

A fascinating and I think important study finds that teenagers will benefit from attending Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, much like their adult counterparts. There has not been a great deal of research on the importance of these programs for teenagers, but as the study suggests, peer groups are important for teens, and so these programs offer new peer groups. My own experience working with many, many teens with substance abuse difficulites over many years is that I have always referred them to AA or NA and found these to be of critical value in my treatment with kids. Aside from the support that a teen gains and the feeling that they are not alone in their struggle, they very often have to give up their entire social circle in order to give up the substance. This is extremely difficult. By going to meetings, they can instantly form a new social circle and don’t have to be alone without friends. This can be pivotal in a teen’s recovery.

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