A group of teenagers hanging out outdoor.

Specialized Addiction Treatment for Teens

In 2019, approximately 35% of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in the U.S. reported having used illicit drugs at some point. This may be due to peer pressure or experimentation—but many young people find themselves dealing with a drug addiction during this crucial period of development. For these teens and their families, it’s important to seek help from a teen rehab center that is specialized for youths aged 12-17.

How Do Substance Use Disorders Effect Teenagers?

As we continue to learn about the human brain, we’re discovering just how much time it takes for the brain to reach full development. As the brain of a teenager matures, neuroscientists have noted they may be more inclined to take risks and could be especially tempted to try drugs. Research suggests that when these drugs are introduced to a teen’s still-developing brain, the likelihood of forming a substance use disorder in the future increases.

While we’re still learning about the effects of drugs on adolescent brains, there are also concerns that teen drug use might impact brain development in ways that cause serious long-term cognitive and behavioral issues (such as poor decision-making ability). Additionally, research indicates a link between avoiding drugs and alcohol and greater academic achievement.

Is It Addiction or Just Experimentation?

Many parents remember their own high school years and wonder if their teen is developing an addiction or just experimenting. Not every single incident of drinking or drug use indicates a serious problem is developing.

Communicating with your child about the effects of drugs and alcohol on their health, asking questions, and offering guidance rather than anger if your teen admits to experimental use will help you know when it’s time to consider a substance abuse program for teens.

Does My Teen Need Specialized Treatment?

Identifying the warning signs of addiction in teenagers can be complex, and the problem is widespread. In a single year, approximately 184,000 young people between the ages 12 and 17 received teen treatment. Since addiction affects diverse age groups differently, the need for specialized treatment centers is clear.

If you are unsure about whether your child needs specialized treatment in a teen rehab center, talking to your child’s pediatrician, a drug abuse counselor, or your child’s therapist may help you with this important decision. Some of the warning signs of teen drug or alcohol use include:

  • Notable changes in behavior and mannerisms
  • Declining grades and/or skipping school
  • Problems with authorities
  • Physical symptoms like red eyes, tremors, or unusual marks on the body
  • Short-lived bouts of euphoria
  • Noticeable slurring of words
  • Extremely drowsy or slow behavior (may indicate depressant drugs)
  • Extremely hyperactive behavior (may indicate stimulant drugs)
  • Medications like painkillers or ADHD meds prescribed to a family member missing
  • Hanging out with new friends they won’t introduce to you
  • Skipping events, holidays, dinners, and other normal family activities
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and/or a lack of motivation for almost anything
  • Isolating themselves from family members
  • Spending most of their time in their room
  • Breaking curfew or disobeying household rules
  • Lying about where they were/who they were with
  • Violent, uninhibited, or otherwise uncharacteristic behavior
  • Low self-esteem and/or poor self-image
  • Declining physical appearance and/or hygiene (wearing dirty clothes, ungroomed hair, decrease in shower frequency)
  • New or worsening symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorder
  • Money or valuables going missing, especially if they start showing up in the teen’s room

What Specialized Rehab for Teens Is Available?

There are teen rehabilitation centers located around the country, so even if your local addiction center does not offer services for those under 18, there are many options available. Programs designed for adult substance abusers are not tailored for the unique needs of younger people, so it pays to find the rehab center that will offer what your child needs to recover fully.

There are many levels and types of treatment available for your family. Behavioral therapies that work well for teens include the following:

  • Motivational interviewing helps establish a non-judgmental relationship with the treatment team.
  • Cognitive behavior therapy helps eliminate negative thought patterns and builds coping skills for triggers and cravings.
  • Contingency management reinforces positive behaviors with tangible reward systems and peer recognition.
  • Family therapy helps repair support systems and teaches better communication and relationship skills. Parents’ willingness to participate fully in family therapy can be a huge benefit to the teen, as parental involvement in both treatment and recovery has been shown to improve a teen’s chances of success.
  • Simultaneous treatment of co-occurring physical or mental health issues that may contribute to addiction.

These specialized therapies can be delivered in a range of environments, which might include a combination of:

  • A residential treatment center. Residential treatment is the most immersive recovery experience, in which teens are required to live on-site. This type of program starts with a medically monitored detox process, followed by an intensive schedule of individual and group therapy to help them work through problems and develop new coping strategies. Teens have the comfort and stability of a home during treatment and learn crucial interpersonal skills.
  • Outpatient programs. After completing residential treatment, or if their addiction is not severe or life threatening, teens may choose to enter an outpatient program. During this time, they are allowed to live at home with family and can pursue schooling or employment. For young people, especially, outpatient treatment can be a great way to transition gradually from a teen rehab center back to normal life.
  • Intensive outpatient treatment. Teens who don’t require detox or immersive addiction treatment may be best suited to an intensive outpatient program. This program allows teens to get help for drug abuse while going to school and working, even if they haven’t been through residential treatment.
  • Other family-focused help. Maintaining sobriety after returning home can be a challenge if the same old pressures are present. Family therapy can help clients and their families work through their stumbling blocks and create a stronger, more supportive home environment for the future.

What to Look for in a Substance Abuse Program for Teens

For the best treatment results, make sure you choose the best teen rehabilitation center, and not limit your options to what may be close to home. When considering teen drug rehab centers, look for features like the following:

  • Compassionate, respectful staff
  • Strong expertise in addiction recovery
  • A history of success supported by positive client reviews
  • Flexible financing options
  • Ability to accept insurance
  • Services throughout recovery, from detox through aftercare
  • Safe, secure premises
  • Reliable access to medical care

How Yellowstone Recovery Can Help Your Teen Reach the Right Resources

A group of teenagers who were former rehab patients side hugging one another.

While we do not provide rehab for teens under the age of 18, our top-notch treatment center and amenities are well-maintained and staffed by a team of experienced, knowledgeable addiction recovery specialists. We will be happy to help you connect with the specialized treatment centers and resources you need to get started.

For those who have reached the age of 18, our Orange County, California drug rehab facility offers:

  • Safe, Comfortable Housing. Parents and teenagers can rest assured knowing that our residences are monitored by staff at all times and are appropriately secured for client safety. Although teens won’t be able to bring many personal items with them to rehab, they can be confident that the few belongings they keep there will be safe. The houses are also nicely maintained and provide a comfortable, relaxed space in which clients can focus on recovery.
  • Affordable Treatment and Flexible Payment Options. Before you dip into your teenager’s college fund to pay for rehab, we’ll determine whether you’re eligible for any insurance benefits. For anything that isn’t covered, we’ll work with you to find an appropriate payment plan and schedule that fits both your budget and your teen’s treatment needs.

For those under 18 years of age, we often recommend:

If your teen needs help with a drug or alcohol addiction, you can be their beacon and guide them into the care of a professional treatment program. Our certified counselors know how to tailor sobriety strategies to reach developing young people. To learn more or discuss how you can help your teen break free from addiction, contact us online or call us at (888) 418-4188.

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