How Teen Addiction Treatment Works

Teens addicted to drugs or alcohol struggle with an adult issue, but their psychological and emotional needs differ from an adult’s. Rehabs that recognize the nuances of teen addiction can help your teen get the most effective treatment.

Teens are separated by gender and age during inpatient treatment. Many outpatient programs allow teens to stay in school during treatment.

Teen Addiction: Treatment Options

There are numerous treatment programs tailored to help teens and their parents beat teenage drug addiction. These programs can address teen addiction rehab, ongoing recovery, and building a healthier home environment for the whole family.

Featured Centers Offering Treatment for Teens

Teen Addiction: Behavioral Treatments

Many teens struggling with drug abuse also face underlying disorders such as depression or anxiety. Behavioral therapy can help teens address psychological issues that lead to drinking or drug use.

Behavioral therapy is hands-on for both teens and families. Teens learn skills to resist drug use and cope with triggers (stressful situations and emotions that lead to cravings).

During behavioral therapy, parents learn communication skills to bring their family closer together. The ability to hold open, honest discussions between family members helps keep the home environment healthy.

Individual and group treatment are effective for helping teens overcome drug abuse.

Behavioral Treatment Programs In Outpatient Rehab

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) Therapy sessions inspiring teens to take part in drug addiction treatment. MET is paired with other therapy methods to motivate teens to plan for recovery.
Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) An intervention method that helps replace negative environmental factors with healthy ones. A-CRA focuses on improving teens’ support systems. Their communication, coping, and problem-solving skills are also built.
Contingency Management A treatment system using instant rewards to encourage positive and healthy behavior. Teens can earn prizes for participating in addiction recovery. This method is often combined with other teen rehab methods.

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Family-Based Therapies

Many treatment exercises include the teen’s support group of family and friends. These family-based therapies target many potential problems, including:

  • Co-Occurring disorders
  • Peer pressure
  • Problems with work or school attendance
  • Family communication and conflict

Family-based therapies are often conducted in outpatient settings. The teen remains under parental supervision and receives emotional support while undergoing treatment.

Family-Based Therapies In Outpatient Rehab

Family Behavioral Therapy Therapy sessions improving communication skills between teens and parents. The goal is to create a healthier, drug-free home environment. Parents and teens receive prizes like cash vouchers after meeting each treatment goal.
Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) Therapy sessions targeting drug abuse in the family. It can be practiced in outpatient treatment, during inpatient treatment, or as post-rehab care.
Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) Blended family and community-based treatment for troubled or violent teens. MDFT sessions connect families with a school or the juvenile justice system so that all parties can work together to help addicted teens recover.

Recovery Support Services

Support groups and resources can help teens stay sober once treatment ends. These programs resemble adult support groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. Their community settings give teens a place to share their experiences.

Other programs focus on continued care and treatment for psychological withdrawal symptoms like depression. Recovery support services aren’t stand-ins for addiction treatment or rehab.

Online Addiction Counseling

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Alternative Options For Recovery Support

Assertive Continuing Care (ACC) A doctor-assisted recovery program hosted at addicted teens’ homes. ACC helps build problem-solving and communication skills to help recovering teens stay healthy.
Peer Recovery Support Services Community centers for recovering teens. Support services connect teens with peer leaders who have experience overcoming addiction.
Recovery High Schools High schools created to educate recovering teens. Students are surrounded by peers continuing drug addiction recovery in a controlled environment. Recovery high schools are often included as a supplement to formal teen addiction treatment like behavioral or family-based therapies.

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Inpatient And Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Many teen addiction treatment options are outpatient programs. This means addicted teens stay home with their families during treatment and recovery.

Family support is often crucial for a teen’s long-term recovery. Outpatient programs typically include parents and siblings in addiction treatment exercises. This helps the whole family heal and prevents the recovering teen from relapsing.

Supervised, medical detox might be necessary for severe addictions. Quitting some drugs, like prescription Painkillers, can be lethal without medical supervision.

Inpatient treatment programs offer 24-hour care to families battling teen drug addiction. Doctors treat life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, and therapists teach teens how to quit using. Many treatment centers offer programs specifically for teens.

Determining whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is right for your family depends on many factors, including which drug is being used and the severity of the addiction. Whatever your teen’s needs, help is available to overcome addiction.

Contact a treatment provider today for more information about addiction treatment.

Last Edited:


Jeffrey Juergens

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  • Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffrey’s desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffrey’s mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.

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Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional

David Hampton

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  • A survivor of addiction himself, David Hampton is a Certified Professional Recovery Coach (CPRC) and a member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC).

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