Teen Drug Rehab – How to Make an Informed Decision

There are over 1 million teenagers who are dependent on illegal drugs. There is a nearly equal number that are alcohol-dependent. Not all of these teens need inpatient care or teen drug rehab. But to avoid that, two things need to be achieved: a total cessation of substance abuse and a demonstrated among the teen’s family of open and improving ability to talk about the problem and find solutions.But that’s easier said than done. And, if you are the parent of that teen, what should you do if your doctor recommends inpatient teen drug rehab?The good news is that there is an upside to this kind of recommendation. Most kids — nearly 75% — who need teen drug rehab never receive it. So look at the recommendation not as something to be dreaded. Look at it as an opportunity, a “wake-up call,” that you can address to help your child.So feel good that your son or daughter has an opportunity to get the teen drug rehab that they need. And by helping them sooner rather than later, their brain and their psyche (which is still forming and maturing) will improve greatly. This will improve their quality of life far into adulthood.So how can you make an informed decision about teen drug rehab that works and is affordable?First of all, get multiple referrals or recommendations for teen drug rehab from your doctor. Then scan the websites of these facilities. Even the most basic info is useful at this stage:

Where are they located?

Location is most critical because you are not going to simply drop off your child and go away. It is imperative that you play an important role in your teen’s drug rehab. You must plan to visit your child on a regular basis. Not only that: many teen drug rehab facilities will not accept your teen in the first place unless you commit to participating actively in their recovery. Later on, your child will be OK’d to spend weekends in your home — as recovery warrants it. So find a facility that is close to home.

How much do they charge?

Take an active role in finding out all the costs involved, whether or not you have insurance coverage for teen drug rehab or not. Knowing all the costs helps you make informed comparisons between one facility and another. Also, it will help you better understand what is likely to be covered by insurance and/or Medicaid. Also, be aware that some programs facilitate your getting aid that will cover the difference between what is covered by insurance and what is not. So ask about what is available in the way of financial assistance.

What kind of accreditation does the facility have?

Look for a facility to be accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) or equivalent body. You should not consider a teen drug rehab facility that is not accredited. Also inquire about licensing. Ask if the facility is licensed by the state, e.g., the Dept. of Health.

What is their treatment philosophy?

Does the facility treat people of all ages together? Or are teens kept separate? Research indicates that teen drug rehab has a higher rate of success if the adolescent patients are strictly separated from adult patients.What about the 12-step model: does the facility subscribe to that? If so, be aware that there is a spiritual component to this kind of treatment. Are you sure your child is receptive to that? If not, it could have a negative impact on their recovery. Find out if there is an alternative offered.Will there be allowances made for the educational needs your teen will have? Just because your child is in teen drug rehab doesn’t mean their education should be sacrificed.What about their emotional needs? Is there psychological therapy offered? How often would your child meet with a therapist? What kind of goals would this therapy have?What kind of parental participation is encouraged? Is there a regular “Family Day?” Does the teen drug rehab facility provide support and encouragement for the entire family?

How long will treatment last?

Find out how long the average residential treatment stay might last. Obviously this will depend on the facility — and your child. Is it measured in weeks or months? You’ll also want to find out how many teens are typically being treated at any one time. Regarding group therapy, how big are the groups? What sorts of rules does the teen drug rehab facility have — specifically, what rules (if broken) are grounds for being dismissed from the facility?You may also want to ask about the availability of aftercare, i.e., what kind of support does the facility offer after your child leaves the inpatient program? This is perhaps most crucial of all in determining your teen’s long-term success. It is customary for there to be at least 12 months of active involvement by your teen in the form of outpatient therapy, both one-on-one and in a group setting. Again, this is another reason to pick a teen drug rehab facility near your home.

What is involved in the admission process?

This is when your teen will be evaluated for the severity of their condition and for the most appropriate level of treatment necessary. Sometimes this involves your child undergoing psychological and/or medical testing. In addition, some basic decisions will be made about your child’s level of treatment, e.g., outpatient, partial hospitalization, etc. Stay involved — find out what steps are followed in this phase. This includes finding out what all the costs are (e.g., charges for urine screening, etc.) and determining what your insurance carrier will cover.

Who is on staff?

What qualifies the staff at the teen drug rehab facility to work there? What education level, background experience level, etc. Does the facility have medical personnel on hand in case of personal injury? How many staff are there in relation to the patients? Is the rate of turnover high or low?Do you feel comfortable with the demographic make-up of the staff on hand? Are they sensitive to cultural diversity?

Other important considerationsIf this hasn’t been made clear up to this point, you need to visit the teen drug rehab facilities that are on your short list before you make your decision.All the photographs in the world, all the websites, might help you narrow your choices down, but in the end you need to be on site to make a final decision. And look at the facility the way your child might look at it too.Some things to look for:
Is the facility well maintained?
Are there places for residents to go and remain active when the weather is bad?
How do the meals look?
How do the interactions between adults and teens seem? Observe the activities during an entire day, if you can.
Are classrooms well stocked?
Perhaps most important of all: Contact the parents of teens who have graduated from the facility. Invest some time in speaking with them about how it went. There are some difficult questions you need to ask, but it is worth it. For example: did their child suffer a relapse after leaving the teen drug rehab facility?SummaryIf you have to pick a teen drug rehab facility for your child, it will not be an easy choice for many reasons. You will need to spend some time doing it and educating yourself about drug abuse. But it is worth it because it will help your teen make a faster — and longer lasting — recovery.

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