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Iceland: The effectiveness of adolescents’ alcohol and drug treatment

Adolescent alcohol and drug abuse is a major problem in the society but it is a very hidden and sensitive topic in general. The purpose of this thesis was to gain a better understanding of treatments for adolescents with alcohol and drug problems. This has not been studied a lot in Iceland to the best knowledge of the reasearchers and in the preparation of this thesis it was revealed that research on this issue is also lacking abroad. We conducted a qualitative study that involved open interviews with various experienced theraputic practitioners in Iceland. The results from the interviews were compered with each other and then with the theoretical summary.

It is difficult to measure the effectiveness of alcohol and drug abuse treatments for adolescents because it is difficult to define effectiveness in a way that it can be agreed on. Results are often measured in different ways throughout research, making it difficult to compare them. However, usually the difference lies in whether you evaluate the effectiveness of the treatments on harm reduction, improved wellbeing and success in life or sobriety.

The results of this study is that combination of motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and familybased therapy were found to be most effective. Comprehensive approach is very important and many factors need to be considered when it comes to adolescents. Adolescents in alcohol and drug abuse treatments often face complicated problems. These problems often have major impact on their alcohol and drug abuse and therefore it is very important to treat them. For example their improved wellbeing, social situations and success in life are major factors that need to be considered in treatments for adolesents. Aftercare is also very important in their treatment and recovery process.

Source: University of Iceland

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