In many ways, those who suffer from teen addiction are similar to teenagers who have a chronic medical condition like asthma or diabetes; they don’t want to admit that there is something about them that is out of their control. They also don’t want to be different from their peers, which can be devastating as a teenager. Further, they don’t want to listen to their parents or their doctors about what is needed to get better.
The good news is that there are treatment options for teenagers addicted to drugs or alcohol. In fact, there are a variety of treatment and teen rehab program choices, allowing the addicted teen’s parents and medical professionals to select the program that is most likely to succeed for each individual.
The Growing Need for Rehab Programs
One thing that has been recognized in recent years is that programs that work for adults will not necessarily work for teenagers. As a result, new types of teen rehab programs had to be created to support the growing population of teen addicts. By one estimate from the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse, as many as 8% of American teenagers are in need of treatment for addiction.
One thing that researchers discovered when studying teenage substance abuse and treatment was the power of peer pressure. Just as peer pressure can get a teen involved in using drugs or alcohol, it can also be an effective tool in treating addiction. Studies indicate that teenagers respond best to treatment when in a peer group.
Types of Treatment Programs for Teenagers
Knowing that teenagers respond to peer pressure, whether positive or negative, it should be no surprise that the least effective teen addiction treatment program is one where the teen lives at home and attends outpatient classes and counseling sessions. According to some statistics this type of program has only a 30% success rate.
At the other end of the spectrum of teen rehab is the residential rehab treatment program. With this type of rehabilitation, the teen lives at a treatment center or therapeutic boarding school for the duration of their treatment, which can last up to 18 months. These programs are very structured, where virtually every hour of the day is programmed with schooling, study sessions, counseling, group therapy sessions, physical activity, and even sometimes on campus jobs.
A newer type of program developed specifically for teenagers is known as the wilderness therapy program. It could be described as hard-core summer camp for teens. There is a strong emphasis on physical activity during the often three month long program. The teens live in tents in the wilderness and must learn to fend for themselves and their fellow campers. This involves cooking, gathering necessities like firewood and water, and participating in hikes and other physically exhausting activities. There are also group therapy sessions, as well as individual counseling and other personal acceptance and growth activities to help overcome the addiction.
Many believe that wilderness therapy is a great way to get a fast start on the road to teen recovery. Once the excursion into the wilderness is completed, the teens are ready for ongoing therapy and counseling, which might be on an outpatient basis or at a residential treatment facility.
The Good News
Now that programs have been developed specifically for teenagers, the success rate of rehabilitation from addiction is increasing. If you have a teen that is abusing drugs or alcohol, it is important that you find a treatment and teen recovery program that is designed to work with this age group. Fortunately, as the number of these types of programs increases, it will become easier for parents to find one that is right for their teen.