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4 Addiction Treatment Options For Teens

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When it comes to substance abuse treatment, one size doesn’t fit all.

The struggle of teens dealing with a drug or alcohol problem are vastly different from that of adults. Many of them have diagnosable mental illnesses or family members with a drug problem.

Luckily, there are inpatient treatment programs specifically geared towards teenagers. These programs allow for young people to develop a support network by being around peers in similar situations, receiving drug treatment and mental health services and moving forward with their education.
Here are some of the most common addiction treatment options you’ll find at inpatient facilities:

Type #1 Individual Counseling

Most facilities offer daily one-on-one counseling sessions and on-site psychiatrists who can prescribe the necessary medications for co-occurring mental illnesses. These counseling sessions typically take place after teens complete the detox and withdrawal process.

Type #2 Group Therapy

A crucial part of the daily schedule involves group therapy. Teens take part in group therapy sessions alongside peers of similar ages and (ideally) with similar substance abuse histories. Each session is led by a well-trained and experienced clinician. Not only can group therapy provide positive social reinforcement, the sessions also reinforce incentives for living a drug-free life.

Type #3 Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies are designed to address the underlying causes of drug abuse. These sessions help your teen understand what their specific triggers are – a neighborhood location, group of friends, feelings of loneliness,etc. The goal is to help your teen develop strategies and coping mechanisms to handle triggers without turning to drugs or alcohol. Some specific behavioral therapies include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Teenagers learn how to monitor their thoughts and feelings, eventually recognizing distorted thinking patterns and triggers that lead to using.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy: This form of therapy benefits teens who are ambivalent towards the recovery process. The therapist sparks a desire to engage in treatment and create a plan for change.
  • Contingency Management: This field rewards teens for good behavior. For example, they might earn movie tickets in exchange for staying clean or participating in group activities. This type of therapy is typically done alongside regular counseling sessions.

Type #4 Family-Based Therapies

For teenagers, family involvement is crucial for a successful recovery. Knowing they have support provides comfort, particularly in the early stages of treatment. Two of the most common forms of family therapy are:

  • Family Behavior Therapy: The teenager and his family members work together to set behavioral goals, then create a plan to accomplish them.
  • Brief Strategic Family Therapy: Typically done over the course of 12-16 sessions, counselors observe family interaction; identify negative communication patterns and create a plan to help change those patterns.

Additional Reading: Study: Intensive Outpatient Treatment as Effective as Inpatient Treatment

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