Struggling with substance abuse is a serious matter for teenagers and their families. It’s a struggle that sometimes extends to several years of your teen’s life, as well as hours upon hours of therapy. Teens who do not successfully walk away from chemical dependency risk their futures not just because of the bad situations one gets into when under the influence of substances. It’s also because the adolescent brain and psyche are still in the process of maturing; starting the damage this early will result to serious physical and psychological consequences. One of the options that concerned parents could consider is to have their child sign up for a residential chemical dependency treatment program for teenagers.
Not all situations where substance abuse is involved immediately necessitates such a residential program. However, severe chemical dependency is a different story. Teens who drink and experiment with drugs at a young age are more likely to struggle with it even during their adult years. Signing up your child to a residential chemical dependency treatment program for teenagers will make sure that your child is in an environment where they will not have access to the chemicals they are dependent on. Oftentimes when teens go to therapy but are not removed from the environment where they are pressured into making bad choices, it becomes a lot harder to deal with the addiction.
What should parents look for before they enroll their child in a residential chemical dependency treatment program? Here are a few ideas:
1. Ask about the program’s philosophy about treatment – It’s important to find out how the program actually goes about the tretment of residents. Do they only accept adolescents struggling with chemical dependency or do they also accept adults? Most researches will show that a separate program for teens and adults are more beneficial and effective. Is it a 12-step program? What’s the average length of stay and what is the resident to staff ratio? Is there an academic program in place? If so, how frequent will the therapy sessions be within the week and will the teaching style and pace be individualized to fit your child’s progress and needs?
2. Ask about parental involvement – You may want to ask how often you will be allowed to visit your child while in the treatment program. If you’re not comfortable with not being able to communicate with your teen, find a program that will not limit your interaction with your teen too much. However, you should understand what level of interaction would be most helpful with your teen.
3. Ask about the admission process – There are programs that admit only teens that have dependency issues but aren’t necessarily violent or dangerous. There are programs that specialize in cases where several interventions have failed. Asking about the admissions process would determine if your teen would be a fit in the program or not.
4. Look around the facilities – Are the rooms clean and the grounds well-kept? Taking a quick tour of the facilities will usually give you a feel of how happy the residents are and what the general atmosphere is in the program.
Even if it’s quite difficult for some parents to be away from their teens during such a challenging period, there are some instances where this is the better decision to make. Putting your child in a residential chemical dependency treatment program for teenagers may just save his/her life.