Adolescents occupy a noticeable place in history. Throughout the ages, teenagers have stimulated curiosity, even confusion. At one time or another, scholars, opinion leaders, politicians, policy makers, interventionists, the public at large, and surely parents themselves have taken wrong turns in attempts to make sense of adolescents. Therapists across professions and clinical orientations may squabble about many things, but generally they concur about the challenges of adolescent treatment. Working with youth is difficult and demanding in several ways. Typically youth drug use is secretive or at least hidden from family and other adults. Clinically referred adolescents are often involved in illegal and criminal activities, and can spend considerable time with drug-using peers. Other aspects, low motivation to change, compromises in functioning spanning several life domains, involvement in multiple systems of care, and treatment system factors that too often fail the youth as much as (per the literature’s characterization) the youth “fails” treatment can combine to make youth drug abuse treatment an indisputably and enormously tough job.
ASJC Scopus subject areas