Treatments For Teen Addiction

Unresolved teenage addiction is one of the main culprits for substance abuse disorder during adulthood. With that, it’s highly recommended that you need to let your teen undergo rehab treatment and intervention as early as possible.

So far, evidence-based treatment programs are the best solutions for treating teenage addiction. Some of the popular approaches include family-oriented and behavioral therapies, that are paired with proper medication and detoxification.

Read further to gain sufficient ideas about how to recover from adolescent substance abuse and alcoholism.


  • Teen AddictionAround 70% of high school students are doing excessive or binge alcohol drinking
  • For smoking cigarettes and vaping products, around 40% of teens are engaged with it
  • In terms of misusing or abusing prescription medicines, 20% of teenagers are doing it.
  • 1% of the grade 8 and 12 students are using illicit drugs for recreation in 2018
  • 7% of the grade 8 and 12 students are drinking alcohol

These figures are alarming and parents must find a way to closely monitor their teens, so they can quickly stop any misuse or abuse of any substances. If all things fail, then leaning on medical assistance will be your last course of action.

Will There Be a Difference Between Adolescent and Adult Treatment Programs

There have been several cases where teens with addiction problems were treated with adult-based rehab programs, yet professionals noticed a difference in their manifestations.

For instance, teens showed a higher risk for binge drinking than adults. Also, there is a higher case of co-occurring behavioral problems with teenage addiction than with adults. Once a teenager is evaluated for his addiction condition, then he will be addressed with any of the five hierarchy treatments based on the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

  1. Early Intervention Approaches: This mainly delivers educational services as an intervention for the patient and the parent.
  2. Outpatient Treatment Plan: Typically starts at 6 hours per week and the duration depends on the evaluation of the teenager’s condition.
  3. Intensive Outpatient Plan: The patient needs to attend 20 hours per week of medication or counseling sessions, yet he is allowed to live in his home. The usual overall duration for this plan is between 2 months to 1 year.
  4. Residential Inpatient Treatment: A holistic intensive recovery program for addicts which can last for one month to a year. The faster the recovery rate, the shorter will be the duration program.
  5. Medically Managed Intensive Inpatient Program: With the sensitive emotional and physical aspects of adolescents, they will receive 24-hour medical attention until such time where they become stable.

Behavioral Treatment Plans

Besides addressing the physical aspect of recovery, treating the behavioral feature of teenage addiction is also important. Considering they are more challenging to handle, it is their behavior that needs to be modified for long-term sobriety.

  1. Contingency Management

This approach uses the reward system tactic, where the patient is given a reward for successfully avoiding relapse for a specific duration. Nevertheless, a corresponding consequence will also be imposed for not complying with the rules.

  1. Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)

It aims to enhance the self-motivation of the patient to join in rehab treatments to achieve sobriety. Meanwhile, it is used alongside other behavioral therapies for a better outcome.

  1. Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA)

This program aims to create a healthier environment and outside support for the patient. Also, it aims to improve your teen’s coping instincts, analytical, and communication skills.

  1. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

It aims to identify those negative thoughts which trigger addiction among teenagers. Once it is identified, the counselor will help the patient formulate a positive coping strategy to resolve triggers.

Family-Based Therapies

Besides the medication and detox process, your teen will also need your moral and emotional support to sustain their endurance and courage to finish the recovery program. Moreover, your teenager will continue to receive your emotional support and guidance throughout the treatment program.

Meanwhile, here are the three types of family-based therapies used for teenage addiction recovery plans.

  1. Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)

It is a comprehensive program that involves the family, the community, and the rehab center for reforming highly violent addicted teenagers. There will be mixed activities such as community service, intervention, and counseling for the patient.

  1. Teen Addiction TreatmentFamily Behavioral Therapy

This intervention aims to create friendly and supportive communication and support between the patient and his family. Both parties will receive a corresponding cash prize from the rehab center when they can both meet their goals for this program.

  1. Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT)

It usually consists of 12 to 16 sessions aiming to identify an addiction problem in the family. This can be applied before, during, and after the entire rehab recovery program.

Key Elements for the Effectiveness of Adolescent Addiction Treatment Programs

All therapies used to treat adolescent addiction are working, yet to enhance its effectiveness, we need to determine the key elements to consider. Meanwhile, here the essential elements you need to look into any addiction program.

  1. The detailed screening process to evaluate the condition of teenage addiction and the family of the patient.
  2. Systematic program for the holistic recovery of the patient which includes the brain, health, family, education, and behavioral aspect.
  3. Involving the family in the treatment plan.
  4. Specific treatments addressing the needs of the patient or adolescent.
  5. Enhancing the engagement and proactive attitude of the teenager for rehab treatment. He or she must understand the value of recovery and be sober.
  6. Highly trained and equipped staff who will take care of the patient.
  7. Incorporating the culture and gender identity of the patient.
  8. Aftercare treatment programs to monitor and keep the teen’s sobriety.
  9. Accurate data gathering of the patient’s progress.

All these elements are benchmarks or principles to ensure the effectiveness of any adolescent rehabilitation program.

Choosing Between Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment Program

Choosing which of these two works best for your teenager depends on the severity of the addiction. Nevertheless, an outpatient treatment program is a common choice among parents; because they can still directly communicate with their teen while keeping them comfortable.

However, if your teen’s addiction is severe, then going for an inpatient treatment plan is highly ideal. With that, there will be 24-hour supervision and monitoring of your adolescent.

Meanwhile, either program will need to conduct a comprehensive detox process to eliminate all harmful toxins brought by the substance abused.

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