The program you choose for your teen needs to view
substance abuse as a primary disease and not as a symptom. Your teen needs to
have a comprehensive evaluation to determine the level of substance use and the
presence of psychiatric or medical conditions.
If you need to
place your teen in a treatment program, look for one that has the following
Education: Treatment for
teen substance abuse needs to include a way for your teen to continue his or
her education. If remedial work is needed, providing techniques that allow
maximum achievement for the teen will help boost his or her
Parental involvement: Most
likely, family therapy will be part of the treatment. But you also need to
provide support and encouragement for your teen both during and after the
Promotion of interests: The program
needs to provide leisure or recreational time when your teen can pursue a hobby
or interest. A leisure activity that can be continued after treatment will help
him or her have something healthy to do rather than use alcohol or
Urine drug screens: The program needs to require that your
teen not use drugs during treatment. Random urine drug screens can be used to
monitor teens during treatment and even in an aftercare
Relapse prevention: Relapse
(returning to alcohol or drug use) is common after treatment for substance
abuse. Teen programs need to help the teen develop a plan for dealing with drug
cravings, high-risk situations, and relapse.
Aftercare: Most relapses occur within the first 3 months after
treatment. An aftercare program that keeps the teen involved and around people
who are staying drug-free (recovering) helps lower the chance that he or she
will relapse. If your teen commits to aftercare for 12 to 24 months, he or she
will be less likely to relapse.
program needs to include group and individual counseling along with support and
self-help groups. These groups need to be separate from adult groups.
Counseling may include
cognitive-behavioral therapy to help your teen learn
coping skills to prevent future drug use.