Once the family has decided to make an intervention in a teenager’s abuse, different programs include medical, mid-level behavioral, residential and correctional.
One of the hardest choices facing a family is the intervention and treatment of a teenager who has an alcohol or drug addiction issue. The adolescent’s level of addiction, attitude toward recovery and the family’s resources will help guide the family through the options of drug treatment programs available.
In making the selection, it is important parents keep in mind addiction to drugs and alcohol is first and foremost a medical condition. Other areas including social, educational and economic concerns may be critical in the treatment of the condition but they did little to contribute to the addiction. Therefore, parents need to make selections, free of guilt but guided by concern for the best interest of the teenager, within family resources.
The Centers for the Study of Addiction and Recovery in the College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech University suggests the following categories in its training curriculum of Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors.
Medical Condition and Treatment
Depending on how long the teen has been addicted to the substance, different levels of medical intervention will be necessary. This will need to be done at a hospital, generally a psychiatric ward or specific drug recovery program. The first step of treatment is known as detoxification. The goal of detox is to rid the body of the abused substance and allow the patient’s body to return to normal chemical levels. In addition, medication will be used to make withdrawal as comfortable as possible.
Short Term Behavioral Modification
These programs are designed to primarily detoxify abusers and introduce them to behavior modification recovery programs such as Alcoholic Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These programs are likely to be offered at any major hospital and stays typically last 3-7 days, depending upon the amount of medical intervention program. Expect costs to run between $500 to $1500 a day. Extremely motivated patients may succeed in recovery by immediately finding a sponsor in AA or NA and attending 90 meetings in 90 days. Long term efficacy is about 20% lifetime recovery.
Mid-Term Behavioral Modification Programs
In addition to short term medical program interventions, these programs include intensive patient education, behavioral modification, intense counseling and personal therapy and, again, introduction to AA/MA type programs. These are offered at specialty hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Programs of this type may last up to 90 days and costs vary widely. The National Institutes of Health maintain a list of accredited facilities.
When extensive addiction has been present or when other modalities have failed, parents may need to consider residential programs. These programs offer services beyond short term and most mid-term treatment programs. Essentially, residential care is like sending your teenager to boarding school. Here teenagers will receive medical treatment, ongoing counseling, ongoing behavior modification, extensive AA/NA opportunities as well as educational services. Prices for these programs are prohibitively expensive for most families without the family taking out loans or second mortgages. Efficacy of successful treatment of these programs may be as high as 80% life time recovery.
If your teenager has been convicted of a crime involving drugs or alcohol, it is likely the judge will be very interested in how the family intends to approach the treatment of the addiction. If the family has limited resources or if the adolescent has been in trouble before, the judge is likely to commit the adolescent to a correctional rehabilitation program with a sentence length in line with the level of crime. While it can be overwhelming of thinking about your teenager enduring correctional programs, they can be very effective. The teen will continue to receive medical, psychiatric, behavior modification and educational services.
Some schools and cities offer “scared straight ” classes for first time offenders where they are taken through the booking process of going to jail and are allowed to talk with inmates. This can be an effective deterrent for some teenagers.
If your teenager needs treatment, it is important to remember he or she has developed a medical condition. It is necessary to take time to select the right rehab center and approach. Universally, all programs offer medical intervention to detox the patient and then some type of behavioral modification. Rehab choices depend on the degree of the addiction, financial resources and whether or not the courts are involved in the process.