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“Ned’s” Story: Very Young, Very Addicted

“Ned” was 13 when he came to Ryther’s Cottage B Inpatient Chemical Dependency program for teen boys facing addiction and, often, a co-occurring mental health issue. He had been introduced to meth at a very young age and admitted to resorting to drinking gasoline to get high. Ned had stopped attending school and was frequently violent at home. Consequently, he was facing multiple criminal charges – much of it stemming from his explosive anger brought on by using spice.

Ned came to Ryther through the juvenile court system and was diagnosed and treated for depression by one of Ryther’s psychiatrists, Dr. Linda Ford. He was also evaluated by Dr. Rochelle Coffey, Ryther’s psychologist. Test results from Dr. Coffey showed he had high intelligence and that he was able to grasp complex concepts despite his age. Knowing this led to effectively employing evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Ned responded well to the critical thinking challenges of CBT with daily treatment homework that included writing down feelings and tracing them back to thoughts, which oftentimes were maladaptive. Other goals were to increase distress tolerance so he could learn to control his anger. Ned participated in group sessions, our educational program as well as experiential activities, including those on our Challenge Course, where new skills get tested in safe but tangible ways.

Family therapy made a difference in his progress and was incorporated whenever possible. Ned owned up to his past actions and started to communicate in a healthier way. When he left Ryther after 30 days, he transitioned to a recovery house. He calls frequently to let us know that he is doing well. He expressed that Ryther was where he felt safe and cared for by staff all the time. At graduation, he knew it was time to leave the cottage. Although his addiction was at the same level as someone struggling for many years, he now has some real skills and the structure to stay on a positive trajectory in his life.


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