Teenage Rehab

Teenage Rehab

Authored by Pin Ng PhD

Edited by Hugh Soames

Reviewed by Michael Por, MD

What is teenage rehab?

Teenagers are more susceptible to use drugs and alcohol due to being at a vulnerable age. Middle school and high school aged adolescents often begin using drugs and alcohol to fit in with others. Some begin using drugs and alcohol because their friends have already started. Drug and alcohol experimenting is common and soon, it can lead to full blown addiction1https://www.worldsbest.rehab/newport-academy/.

What seems like innocent partying as a teenager can lead to chemical dependency when an adolescent reaches their late teens and early 20s. Drug and alcohol usage by teens can have detrimental effects on their brain and physical development. For example, heavy psychoactive drug use alters the brain’s reward circuitry.

You may notice your teenage child’s interests change as they grow older. This is natural, but heavy drug and alcohol use can completely change an adolescent’s priorities. Teenagers have different rehab needs than adult substance misusers. Teenage rehab also provides young people with education, co-occurring mental health disorder treatment, family issues, and much more.

What are the signs of teen drug and/or alcohol addiction?

Specific signs will present themselves if your child is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Different substances will present different signs of misuse and abuse2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166985/. It is natural for parents to be suspicious of their child using drugs or alcohol. If you are one of these parents, then you should be on the lookout for these signs:

  • Changes in physical appearance not related to athletics or hobbies
  • Borrowing or stealing money
  • Spending time with different friends or new friends
  • A complete change in friend group
  • Excluded from School with ADHD
  • Appetite changes
  • Sleep habit changes
  • Excessive secrecy or lying
  • A sudden drop in grades or academic performance
  • Drug paraphernalia in their bedroom

Teenage Rehab or Therapeutic Boarding School?

The best teen rehab centers are facilities that use multiple approaches to treat drug and alcohol addiction. A comprehensive and holistic approach to substance misuse is oftentimes the most effective way to treat addiction. Teenagers are unique and so are the addiction treatment needs. A rehab that treats them individually and not as a number can provide healing for the long-term.

There are multiple options for teens when it comes to rehab. The most effective treatment for teens is available at residential rehab. Residential rehab, also known as inpatient rehab, provides a number of benefits to adolescents. Teenagers will receive full-time, around-the-clock care. An individual remains on campus day and night allowing them to detox, attend therapy, and be removed from the environment that bred substance abuse. Doctors and staff will be on hand 24 hours a day providing teenagers care with every need that arises.

Outpatient rehab is also available for teens. Teens do not remain on campus 24 hours a day. Adolescents attend time specific appointments during the day with their therapists and/or counselors.

Therapeutic boarding schools are another treatment option for teenagers. These schools provide diverse recovery programs and use proven techniques from a number of ideologies. Students live on campus at the boarding school working on sobriety, self-esteem, and academic development.

Teenagers will undergo a rehab curriculum that uses medical treatment combined with therapy focused on improving behavior. The ultimate goal of a therapeutic boarding school is to offer treatment based on discovering and dealing with potential conditions such as depression. Teenagers will learn to create a regimented program to correct emotional and anger-based problems. These issues may not all be related to substance abuse.

How does teenage rehab work?

Substance abuse is different in each individual. It is also different in teenagers than in adults. Adolescents are more likely to be binge substance abusers rather than being able to access drugs and alcohol regularly. In addition, teenagers often have co-occurring disorders.

In more recent time, rehabs have designed and implemented programs specifically for teenagers. Previously, programs for teens were simply the same once used for adults. Teen rehab programs will use a combination of multiple approaches to treat issues. Some of the ways a rehab will treat adolescents include:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Contingency management
  • Family therapy
  • 12-step programs
  • Medications to manage withdrawal or cravings


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most used methods by rehabs. CBT helps an individual see how their thoughts fuel behavior. They learn how to change negative, destructive thoughts. CBT enables a teenager to identify high-risk situations which lead to drug use. It helps them build coping skills to deal with cravings and triggering events. CBT is one of the most widely used therapy methods and most teens and adults in rehab will experience it.

Does my teenager need rehab?

You must determine whether your child is truly struggling with drug and alcohol addiction before seeking out a rehab. Experimenting with drugs or even simply a change in their personality free of drugs, does not warrant a trip to rehab. There is a big difference between addiction and experimenting.

Teens often find more independence in high school. They meet new friends and participate in new activities. Not all activities include drug and alcohol use. Rather, it is the teen growing up and their life changing.

Drugs and alcohol offer a forbidden allure. It is one of the main reasons teens turn to substances. Experimenting with these substances can turn into addiction. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that many kids who try drugs and/or alcohol do not continue using them.

How to choose the best teenage rehab?

You should research a teenage rehab before sending your child to it for treatment. Along with reading reviews of the rehab, you need to learn about the treatment methods used at the center. It is helpful to tour the facility to ensure it is safe, clean, and offers an atmosphere you would like your child to be a part of.

In addition, make a list of questions to ask the staff you encounter at the center. This will give you more insight into rehab’s processes and treatment. It is vital to do your research. A teen rehab that is not of high quality means your child may return to substance abuse and addiction upon returning home.

References: Teenage Rehab

  1. Rockholz PB. Management of youth with substance use disorders in the juvenile justice system. In: Kaminer Y, Winters KC, editors. Clinical manual of adolescent substance abuse treatments. Arlington: American Psychiatric; 2011. pp. 415–49. []
  2. Knudsen HK. Adolescent-only substance abuse treatment: availability and adoption of components of quality. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2009;36(2):195–204. []
  3. Brown SA, Anderson KG, Ramo DE, Tomlinson KL. Treatment of adolescent alcohol-related problems. A translational perspective. Recent Dev Alcohol. 2005;17:327–48.[]
  4. Weiss RD, Jaffee WB, de Menil VP, Cogley CB. Group therapy for substance use disorders: what do we know? Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2004;12(6):339–50. [PubMed] []
  5. Borkman T. The twelve-step recovery model of AA: a voluntary mutual help association. Recent Dev Alcohol. 2008;18:9–35. [PubMed] []
  6. Morral AR, McCafferey DF, Ridgeway G. Effectiveness of community-based treatment for substance-abusing adolescents: 12-month outcomes of youth entering Phoenix Academy or alternative probation dispositions. Psychol Addict Behav. 2004;18:257–68. [PubMed] []
  7. Winters KC, editor. Guidelines for treating adolescents with a substance use disorder. Rockville: Center for Substance Abuse Treatment; 1999. []
  8. Williams R, Chang S. A comprehensive and comparative review of adolescent substance abuse treatment outcome. Clin Psychol Sci Pract. 2000;7:138–66. []
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Alexander Bentley is the Chairman & CEO of Remedy Wellbeing™ as well as the creator & pioneer behind Tripnotherapy™, embracing ‘NextGen’ psychedelic bio-pharmaceuticals to treat burnout, addiction, depression, anxiety and psychological unease.

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