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November 21, 2013

Teens and Spirituality

The Study

A study funded by the John Templeton Foundation and carried-out at The University of Akron, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and Baylor University found that teens with substance abuse issues had significantly better outcomes to the extent they had a foundation of spiritual beliefs.

In fact...

Spiritual belief resulted in overall better outcomes in terms of increased rates of abstinence from substances, a decrease in narcissism, and an increase in pro-social behavior.

It was also found that a good portion of teens not uncommonly transitioned, over the course of their stay at the facility, from less to more spiritual, and those who did had the aforementioned better outcomes.

By the way...

Teen Challenge has been touting those types of outcomes for decades.

Other teens too?

Based on my own clinical and personal experience, spirituality has a highly beneficial grounding effect; it is far more compelling to ‘stay on the straight and narrow’ if one believes that there is bigger, better, and far more powerful entity who makes the rules, and to whom one will have to answer. Otherwise, we’re just dealing with rules made by men with no ultimate authority and, really, in that scenario, it's hard to be inspired. Of course, those who are spiritually-minded can also take comfort in believing that that this same omnipotent entity is on our side, more than willing to intervene when asked, and knows precisely how to resolve the problem to make things right.

Treatment approaches

In my humble view, it seems foolhardy to have any broad-based treatment approach not include sound and empirically-based therapeutic approaches, sound nutrition, exercise, and a heavy dose of spirituality. Try it for yourself, your children, and teens. I’ll bet you’ll like the results.

Dr. John Carosso

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