According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of high school students have tried marijuana. More than 20 percent of students have used prescription drugs when they were not supposed to. In 2021, 32 percent of high school seniors used illicit drugs at least once.
Substance abuse is a problem for people of all ages, but teenagers are particularly at risk. Because their body and minds are still developing, drug and alcohol abuse can lead to lifelong problems. By going to drug rehab, teenagers can detox from drugs and take the first step in their recovery process.
Does My Teen Need Rehab?
If your teen is using drugs and alcohol, they may need to go to a substance abuse treatment center. First, you should talk to your teenager about what is going on in their life. An honest conversation can help you figure out the kind of substances and risks involved. Many teens use substance abuse to alleviate stress and negative emotions, so listening to them can provide them with a healthy outlet for their feelings.
Only a medical professional can diagnose a substance abuse problem. After you have listened to your teenager’s issues, you can take them to a medical professional for an assessment. Then, you can work together to determine the best course of treatment.
What Are the Early Signs of Addiction?
While many teenagers try to hide their addictions, substance abuse is impossible to hide forever. Over time, it can affect all aspects of the teen’s life. They may miss school, get into legal trouble and take unusual risks.
You may also notice the physical warning signs of addiction as well. For instance, the teen may undergo a change in their appetite, physical appearance, or sleep habits. They may have an unusual scent on their body or bloodshot eyes. Some drugs can make their pupils seem larger or smaller than normal.
Other than neglecting their responsibilities at school and work, the teen may also take unnecessary risks. When they realize that they cannot stop using drugs, they may feel helpless, ashamed or alone. Parents may notice mood swings, angry outbursts and unexplained changes in their personality.
What is the Right Program for Your Teen?
Each teenager is unique, so they may require different programs. Youth programs are available with inpatient and outpatient rehab options. In addition, you can find aftercare programs and support groups that are designed for the recovery process.
Outpatient Teen Rehab Programs
As the name suggests, teens can go home at night when they are in an outpatient rehab center. The amount of time they spend at the treatment center can vary. While some programs last for multiple days a week for the entire day, other outpatient programs only last for a few hours a day on several days of the week.
- Intensive outpatient: An intensive outpatient program allows teens to go home at night, but the teens will spend almost all of their waking hours at the treatment center. Many of these programs last for 90 days.
- Partial hospitalization: This kind of program involves being at the treatment center for five days a week. During the teen’s free hours, they can go to school to stay busy. In general, this kind of program is offered to teens who do not need 24-hour supervision to stay sober.
- Outpatient treatment: Basic outpatient programs can last for 28 to 90 days. Unlike partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient options, these basic programs are for a short duration of time each week.
Inpatient Teen Rehab Programs
Inpatient rehab is more intensive than outpatient rehab. Instead of going home at night, participants stay at the youth treatment center. Because of this, it is much harder for teens to use alcohol or drugs while they are detoxing.
- Medical detox: During a medical detox program, clients are supervised continuously. They may be prescribed medications to help them detox and remain sober.
- Residential treatment: After detox, many people go to a residential treatment program. These programs generally last for 30 to 90 days. During this time, people can take part in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), group counseling, individual counseling and support groups.
The best way to determine if your teenager needs drug rehab is by talking to an addiction specialist or bringing the teen to their doctor. There are professional assessments that can determine whether your teen’s substance abuse fits the definition of an addiction. Once your teen has been diagnosed with an addiction, you can work with your doctor to figure out the best treatment option.
How to Get a Teenager Into Rehab
If a teenager is under 18, their parents can legally require them to go to rehab in most states. They may not want to get help, but it is not their choice until they are legally adults. Teenagers can also be required to go to mental health clinics, dual diagnosis treatment and similar programs.
While it may be legal, forcing teenagers to get help can lead to problems later on. Teens will be more motivated to become sober if they genuinely want to get help. It will also make the entire process easier for their parents and loved ones. To support your teen’s transition to rehab, you can try using the following steps.
- To start with, try talking to your teen about their addiction. You should use a non-judgmental tone and ask open-ended questions. When they respond, listen with as much empathy as possible.
- There are many different treatment programs that can help. Instead of forcing them to use a pre-selected option, give them multiple treatment options.
- Staging an intervention can be incredibly intense. To make this process easier, you can ask an addiction treatment center for help. Then, you can gather your loved ones together for the intervention.
- After treatment, you should continue setting rules and boundaries for your teenager. They also need to take part in aftercare programs so that they can stay sober over the long run.
What Techniques Are Used to Treat Addiction?
There are many different types of techniques and treatments that can be used for an addiction. Whether your teen enrolls in an outpatient or inpatient program, they will be able to access CBT, group therapy and other kinds of psychotherapy options. At the start of treatment, an addiction specialist will consider which of the following treatments are right for your teen.
- CBT: CBT is a type of psychotherapy that allows clients to learn how their thoughts, behaviors and feelings connect to each other.
- 12-step meetings: This is a popular treatment option that involves using a support group. Once people leave the treatment center, they can continue going to 12-step meetings.
- Dual diagnosis care: Many people suffer from a co-occurring illness. Because depression, bipolar disorder and other illnesses can fuel an addiction, they need to get help for all of their co-occurring disorders at the same time.
- Yoga, art therapy and meditation: Over time, teens may use drugs and alcohol to cope with negative emotions. Once they decide to recover, they must find a healthy alternative for managing their feelings. Yoga, art therapy and meditation can help teens manage their negative emotions and fill up empty hours during the recovery process.
- Individual counseling: During individual counseling, teens can address their personal concerns and issues with a counselor.
- Group counseling: In a group session, teens can get support from their peers and share their experiences. They can also get advice from people who have gone through the same experiences.
How to Pay for Rehab Treatment
While youth rehabs can cost thousands of dollars, most families do not have to pay the entire treatment cost. If you have a health insurance plan for your teenager, you may be able to get coverage for up to 30 days of treatment. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurers to cover mental health and addiction services. This coverage varies from one state to another, so it is important to check with your family’s plan before you sign up for a treatment program.
Even if you do not have health insurance, you may still be able to lower the cost of drug rehab. Many treatment centers offer scholarships to low-income families. In addition, there are often financing plans available.
How Long Does It Take to Get Clean in Rehab?
The detox process varies from person to person. If someone has used drugs for a long time, they may need to spend more time detoxing. Additionally, different drugs leave the body according to different timelines.
Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol generally start about 24 hours after the individual had their last drink. These symptoms generally peak 72 hours later. Normally, the symptoms will improve after a week.
Meanwhile, withdrawal symptoms from sleeping pills tend to peak after several days. In some cases, they can peak up to a week later. Withdrawal symptoms from opioids also peak during the first week, but the symptoms generally start within a few hours after someone has had their final dose.
After someone has detoxed from drugs and alcohol, they may still suffer from cravings for several months or years. While someone can become physically sober in a few weeks, there is no such thing as a cure for addiction. Instead, it is important that teens continue to get supportive care after rehab so that they can maintain their recovery.
Recovery Is a Lifestyle
Recovery is about more than just detoxing from drug and alcohol abuse. In order to remain sober, teens need to completely change their lifestyle and personal habits. Through the support of their parents and loved ones, teens can take the first step toward achieving a sober lifestyle.