Thursday, March 17, 2011

Multidimensional Family Therapy for Adolescent Drug Abuse

The pandemic of drug abuse amongst teens is ever growing. Families with drug abusing teens tend to seek therapy as effort to save their child, with little focus on the actual relationship. Multidimensional Family Therapy, or MDFT, is a therapy that engages substance abusing teens and their parents individually while building the relationship between them. According to two National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) randomized trials, this type of therapy has proven to have lasting benefits that extend beyond reduced drug use.

Teenage participants treated with MDFT were studied one year after treatment and were found to have fewer drug – related problems. Their behavior and mental health had also improved more compared to teens treated with CBT. Both teens and parents have separate sessions so the therapeutic process is effective for everyone. In sessions with students, the aim to establish meaningful therapeutic goals, foster motivation, and help the adolescents develop concrete strategies to solve problems and find alternatives to drug taking and delinquency. In their own sessions, parents learn about family management, parent – adolescent relationship, as well as parenting skills. "MDFT is a flexible and individualized treatment system rather than a one-size-fits-all approach," says Dr. Liddle. MDFT has been used for young (11 to 15 years old) and older adolescents and juvenile offenders. It has been applied in clients' homes, community-based clinics, residential treatment centers, and correctional facilities. In a statement to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Dr. Howard Liddle of the University of Miami, who led the two studies said, “We connect with parents in a way that recognizes their stress and the anger, hopelessness, and even despair they may feel about their child. Then we help parents reconnect emotionally to their child. This renewed caring is instrumental in changing parenting practices.”

MDFT and CBT are similar in results. They both aim to provide patients with skill not only to reduce the drug use. But unlike MDFT, CBT focuses on individuals rather than family development. Parents attend the first two sessions. The help their child assess the issues at hand and set goals for recovery. According to NIDA, the conclusion of these trials proved that CBT and MDFT have similar results. In the CBT group, youths dropped cannabis use to 7.5 days from 10 days and MDFT dropped to 7.5 days from 12 days. However in the months ahead, those in the MDFT group fared better. MDFT benefits younger teens as well. The results for MDFT in younger teens showed that participants were more likely to stay in treatment – 97 % in the NDFT group finished counseling as opposed to the 72 % of the CBT group. Dr. Lisa Onken, chief of the Behavioral and Integrative Branch of NIDA's Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Research says, "This is a very complex treatment, and the more we can figure out the essential ingredients—what is critically important and what is of lesser importance—the better we will be able to implement it in the community."

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction and is in need of help, Inspirations Teen Rehab offers a flexible and affordable teen addiction treatment program. Our aim is to treat the whole person, and not just an isolated symptom. During the addiction treatment process we will work with the teen to identify the factors that may have contributed to the prescription drug abuse and addiction – home, friends and medical history. We also believe that families have a vital role to play in the recovery process, and each addiction treatment program has a place for family participation, Multidimensional Family Therapy, or MDFT to educate them in the treatment process and to equip them for their role as parents and supporters.

Reach out to us. For more information on our treatment programs contact us:

Teen Treatment Programs: 1-888-757-6237

Young Adults and Adults Treatment Programs: 1-888-387-6237

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