10 Minutes

Edited & clinically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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No parent expects to send their child for treatment to addiction rehab. It stirs up a lot of emotions, such as guilt, embarrassment, fear, anger, loneliness, and sadness. Starting therapy can be a huge step for both the parents and the teen, but it’s so much better than the alternative: burdening your child with the weight of addiction and watching them destroy their lives.

When you sign your child up for a teen drug treatment program, a lot of questions may bombard your mind about what’s about to come. This article will provide a brief overview of what the treatment looks like for both parents and teens. Additionally, it will also highlight how to help a teen process the strong emotions that accompany this change.

A teenager who is about to join an addiction rehab can expect to undergo one or more of the following treatment modalities:

Psychotherapy

Psychosocial and behavioural therapy forms the core of all teen substance abuse treatment programs. This therapy is conducted in a one-on-one or a group setting under the supervision of trained specialists that may include a counsellor, a social worker, or a therapist. The most commonly used type of psychotherapy is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which aims to recognise the triggers of addiction and help clients work on addressing their impact on life.

Medication Management

Approximately half of the adolescents and teens who receive treatment for addiction meet the diagnostic criteria for a mental health disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. Hence, most rehabs offer a detailed assessment by a trained specialist at the beginning of the treatment to rule out any co-occurring conditions in all teens. If a disorder is diagnosed, medications might be commenced to manage it.

Life Skills Support

A teen addiction treatment centre commonly offers educational sessions that help clients learn everyday skills, such as cooking, cleaning, making financial decisions, applying for jobs, and so on. For those who attend school, assistance will be provided to build healthy study habits, apply for college, and grow independence.

Accommodations For School

Many rehab programs are offered depending on the extent of a teen’s needs. An in-depth level of care assessment is carried out to determine the services that best suit them. This assessment is usually carried out over the phone or on their first visit to the treatment facility. Despite these measures, it is likely that the type of program and the intensity of the treatment it provides may interfere with their school hours.

For some teens, it is in their best interest to let go of academics for a certain period of time so that they can focus on recovery without any distractions. Some schools are able to accommodate their students undergoing mental health crises but may require written confirmation from a facility supporting their absences.

As a parent, it can be particularly worrying to send a teenage child to rehab on their own. However, it is important to remember that it is in their best interest. Knowing what to expect from this treatment can help them settle their emotions.

A Learning Curve

When a teenager enters treatment, the process may feel like a whole different world. The repeated assessment, clinical jargon, insurance billing, the intricate framework of treatment, and the medical aspects of their recovery may seem like a whirlwind. However, as your teen embarks on a recovery journey, anticipate a learning curve to handle the situation with patience.

Rules

Each teen addiction treatment centre operates under different and relatively stricter rules. Some of these rules are mandated by the state, local, or federal laws, while others are written by the rehab to ensure patient safety and maximise treatment outcomes. Some of these rules may seem strange or overbearing as a parent but remind yourself that they’ve been implemented to keep your teen safe.

For example, if your teen is undergoing residential treatment, there might be a protocol in place regarding phone usage, visiting hours, or internet access. For outpatient programs, there might be rules like mandatory attendance, complete avoidance of substances, and implementation of strict limits within the home as well.

Relief

While it may sound bizarre and selfish to some extent, a lot of patients feel relieved when they sign up their teenagers for drug rehabs. Each rehab may have its ups and downs, but knowing that your child is on track to recovery and getting the help and support they need can bring you peace of mind.

Once a teen is out of adolescent addiction rehab, they are thrust back into the world where temptations are lying around in every corner. For millions of teens who struggle with addiction, the problem stays with them for years, even after getting treatment. So even if a parent has helped their child kick the habit through a rehabilitation program, they are required to help them prepare a plan to prevent relapses.

Commonly known as aftercare, this plan may include encouraging the teens to join a recovery programme, such as the 12-step programme. Other than this, support groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous are also working to help teen addicts practice long-term sobriety. When a teen becomes a member of these support groups, they are introduced to other people fighting the same issues. This much-needed exposure helps them understand that they are in a judgment-free zone and can freely discuss their problems and find solutions with other members of the group.

Outside of these support groups, families can also encourage their teenage children to attend one-on-one counselling sessions with a qualified therapist. These sessions help them stay proactive in their recovery and instil positive lifestyle changes that promote sobriety. Health-forward habits, such as after-school clubs, sports, and healthy eating, can provide a teen with a new lease on life after treatment and support them from detaching from their older addictive behaviours.

It can be understandably daunting to realise that your teen requires treatment for addiction. However, there is no need to go through this challenging time alone. Multiple rehabs are willing to help you curate the best treatment for your child so they can achieve long-term recovery. With years of experience helping families successfully get through the darkness of teen addiction into the light, teen rehab can be a great place for your child to start working on a new addiction-free life. Take the first step today and give us a call.

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LASTING APPROACH

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Send Admission Request

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Define Treatment Goals

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Comprehensive Assessments & Detox

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Ongoing Physical & Mental Therapy

4 week

Family Therapy

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Aftercare

12+ week

Refresher Visit

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