New responsibilities and expectations as well as a change in environment accompany adolescence and young adulthood. It’s no wonder that research indicates that this age group is often addicted to more than one substance or behavior. As adolescents and young adults, not only do you have a new-found freedom, you’re also subjected to peer pressure.

At Project Courage, we understand that there are significant differences between adolescent, young adult, and adult substance use and mental health issues as well as how these issues need to be addressed. At Project Courage, we use a developmental theory base.

This means that we believe that you optimally develop cognitively, morally, emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually, when your biological and genetic makeup is well-matched to your environment, such as your family of origin, peer group, and school.

Specific variables in life, such as stress, can derail your development and cause you and those around you distress.  In other words, we prioritize your story over a diagnosis.

Part of this development for adolescent and young adults as to do with how our brains grow during this period. There are clear differences between your brain and an adult’s. More specifically, adolescents and young adults typically aren’t able to accurately perceive risks, foresee consequences, and lacks impulse control. Additionally, the parts of the brain that are responsible for making decisions and reading social situations accurately are not yet developed in adolescents and young adults. The brains of adolescents and young adults are much more sensitive to dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in the reward system. Dopamine levels in the brain can lead adolescents and young adults to engage in more risk-taking behaviors. Many substances also stimulate the brain’s reward system making adolescents and young adults more susceptible to substance use disorders.

We also give special focus to topics and challenges that affect adolescents and young adults in a unique way, for example, an adolescent’s’ developmental needs often conflict with recovery principles. For example, gaining independence is particularly important for adolescents and young adults, which conflicts with the recovery principle of admitting that you are powerless over your addiction.

We understand that as an adolescent or young adult, you may not see the benefit in abstinence. We work with you, meeting you where you are, to determine healthy, rewarding goals you can work toward. These might include getting back to work or school, regaining the trust of your family, or being able to play sports again.

At Project Courage, we understand how important a therapeutic relationship is to your recovery. We focus a lot of attention on building rapport and a therapeutic alliance with you when you enter one of our programs. We want to help you attain the independence you desire and learn the skills you need to cope with life’s challenges.

All of our staff have spent most, if not all, of their careers working with adolescents and young adults struggling with substance use disorders. Our staff understand the unique challenges you face as a young adult and want to help you achieve a healthier and happier life.