Research Paper: Substance Abuse and Adolescents

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Substance Abuse and Adolescents

There are a number of strategies available when it comes to counseling adolescents who have problems vis-a-vis Substance Abuse. In this literature review several scholarly articles reflecting various approaches to working with adolescents will be presented, including the solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT).

"SFBT eschews a pathology-based model of mental health, focusing instead on the client's strengths and desire to change…SFBT emphasizes building solutions rather than solving problems…helping the client imagine how he or she would like things to be different and what is necessary to achieve that end…" (Gingerich, et al., 2001, pp. 33-34).

Janet Smith and colleagues explain (in the peer-reviewed journal Professional School Counseling) that counseling female adolescents that have abused substances can be effective when the "assumptions of the ASCA National Model" is put in place (Smith, 2007, p. 1). The ASCA Model can help female adolescents "…make positive decisions and effectively manage normal developmental tasks" regarding their substance abuse issues when solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) is incorporated into the therapy (Smith, p. 2). Smith explains that the ASCA Model involves "…small group counseling" (which includes SFBT) which in many instances has helped female students "…identify problems, causes, alternatives and possible consequences" so that appropriate steps can be taken by the females to remedy the abuses (Smith, p. 2).

Specifically, Smith and colleagues advocate "SAM" (solution, action, mentorship) as a program that works well in counseling sessions with females. In a study involving the intervention of 40 eighth-grade girls' (embracing SFBT), the results showed "…decreased drug use, less favorable attitudes toward drug use, increased socially competent behaviors" and more acceptance of the negative impacts of drug use (Smith, p. 7).

Meanwhile, when adolescent sexual orientation issues are present along with substance abuse issues, counselors should be informed and competent to effectively relate to both dynamics simultaneously. In the peer-reviewed American Journal of Public Health, the authors assert that new and valid evidence links "sexual orientation (SO) and substance abuse" among adolescents (Brewster, et al., 2012, p. 1168). In other words, "elevated rates of illicit drug use and problem drinking" can be expected among gay and lesbian youth (Brewster, 1168). This linkage can be explained, Brewster explains, through the "social stress theory."

That is, the "stigma and prejudice" that is part of daily life for gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents results in "psychosocial stressors" which are activated when these youth are discriminated against or simply in anticipation of prejudice (Brewster, 1168). Hence, gay and lesbian youth are apt to be involved in "…a higher prevalence of substance use"; moreover, because there is generally "a dearth of formal support systems" for gay and lesbian adolescents, a counseling session embracing substance abuse and addressing serious issues of bias against gay and lesbian youth would have great promised and potential in terms of solutions.

How effective are family interventions when adolescents are involved in counseling vis-a-vis the abuse of substances? Authors Eva Yuen and John Toumbourou argue that adolescents involved in the abuse of drugs and alcohol are… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Substance Abuse and Adolescents.  (2012, August 25).  Retrieved November 13, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/substance-abuse-adolescents/4596106

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"Substance Abuse and Adolescents."  Essaytown.com.  August 25, 2012.  Accessed November 13, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/substance-abuse-adolescents/4596106.