What are the Treatment Options for My Addicted Teenager
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What Are The Treatment Options for My Addicted Teen?

If your teenager is addicted to drugs and alcohol, finding the right adolescent treatment program can present its’ share of challenges.  Treating addiction in teenagers can be difficult because both their brains and bodies are still in crucial stages of development.  Alcoholism and drug abuse can not only cause significant damage to a teenager’s body, it can cause serious and permanent impairs in mental and emotional functioning that can have impacts well into adulthood.

Finding the right treatment program for your teenager can be difficult because there are different approaches to treatment and each of these approaches has their advantages and disadvantages.  Before you commit your teenage son or daughter to a treatment program, it is important to thoroughly research the different options that are available to determine that best fit.   The following are the major types of treatment options available for your teenager.

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Therapeutic Communities

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Originally developed in the 1950’s for adult substance abuse users, the therapeutic community philosophy has successfully been adopted to fit the special need of teen substance abusers.  With therapeutic communities, teenage substance abusers live in a specialized housing unit that is staffed with experienced counselors and medical staff.  The time in a therapeutic community is intensive and the patient is held accountable for their actions and recovery through constant peer interaction and interventions by staff.  The length of stay in these communities can last anywhere between 6-12 months can focuses not only on treatment but family therapy, education and work training.

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Short-Term Inpatient

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These inpatient programs can be very cost effective since the length of stay in the facility is short-term.  An average stay in a short-term impatient facility can range anywhere from 7 to thirty days. These facilities can provide the necessary detox and inpatient treatment, therapy and counseling that is needed and can provide those in treatment a lower cost alternative to more involved and intensive long-term programs.

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Long-Term Inpatient

These inpatient programs are more costly and usually patients have an average stay of greater than 90 days.  While these drug treatment programs have a greater cost and can present a barrier to treatment for those who may not be able to afford them, many long-term programs can have alternative funding sources in which those who don’t carry insurance or can’t afford it on their own can get much needed treatment.  These extended stay programs are ideal for those who may have failed at previous attempts of treatment.

Intensive Outpatient

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) provide in-depth treatment for those suffering from chronic substance abuse.  In comparison to intensive inpatient (in which patients reside in the facility), those who undergo treatment in IOPs can still live at home and fulfill school, work and family commitments.  Teens in these programs will meet a number of times weekly for a designated time each meeting and will follow a treatment program that will be specifically designed for their unique and individual needs.  Some of the topics touched upon in intensive outpatient may include emotional management, self-esteem, values, the process of addiction and recovery and legal issues surrounding dependency among others.

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Outpatient

This type of teenage substance abuse treatment has the same focus as IOPs but the frequency and duration of counselor/client meetings may be less frequent.  This, like short-term inpatient, can be seen as a more cost-effective alternative and may be used for those teens whose issues may be seen as less severe as others.  Outpatient treatment can involve a variety of programs which consist of individual counseling and/or group sessions.  Most often, cognitive behavioral therapy and multidimensional therapy is used.

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