Inpatient Teen Rehab

Teen substance use and behavioral health concerns are serious and pervasive issues that have grown in severity over the last decade. As with many behavioral health conditions, substance use disorders (SUDs) can develop for a variety of reasons that often result in a feeling of helplessness for the parent or caregiver.

Fortunately, there are inpatient programs specifically designed to assess and treat teens struggling with substance use.

Signs My Teen Needs Inpatient Drug Treatment

It can be challenging to distinguish characteristic teenage behaviors from concerning behaviors, as mood swings, irritability, and isolation are more common during this life stage. However, when a parent or caregiver notices multiple concerning behaviors, there is a possibility that an underlying condition may be the cause.

Conditions can include depression, anxiety, anger issues, unusual stress, or symptoms from a recent traumatic event. These conditions are often a catalyst for an addiction to begin and grow into unhealthy behavior patterns. Some common behaviors to be aware of include:


  • Poor hygiene or change in appearance
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Shakes, tremors, or nosebleeds
  • Appetite fluctuations
  • New health issues


  • Changes in attitude or personality
  • Paranoia or increased anxiety
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Appearing depressed
  • Appearing emotionally numb


  • Excessive sleeping or insomnia
  • Acting despondent or aggressive
  • Losing interest in activities
  • Skipping school/work/responsibilities
  • Isolating from friends and family

If these signs are recognized, it could indicate a SUD and a need for intervention and treatment.

Explore These Featured Inpatient Teen Addiction Treatment Centers

What To Know Before Sending Your Teen To Treatment

If outpatient programs are not successful, or life-threatening events (like an accidental overdose) occur, treatment professionals will likely recommend the teen attend a residential program to reduce the risk of relapse and promote recovery.

Residential programs are designed to reduce distractions, reduce relapse opportunities, and promote an environment devoted to recovering. Inpatient rehab provides a substance-free environment that often includes 24-hour medical care, multiple therapy options, and varied amenities. They often incorporate a multidisciplinary team of professionals, including psychiatrists, physicians, licensed behavioral health therapists, family therapists, recreational therapists, registered nurses, dietitians, and teachers, to ensure that the teens have access to everything needed for their care.

Research has demonstrated that length of stay matters, with most experts suggesting at least 90 day stays in residential programs to have the most potential for a successful recovery. For teens, this will often include ensuring schoolwork is continued during their treatment stay, which may require the program to interact with the teen’s school to establish a working relationship. This process can differ based on the facility; however, most will include some system to ensure coursework can be maintained.

Most programs will also include family in the treatment process when possible and appropriate. Teenage behavioral health and substance use conditions rarely develop without some form of conflict or communication pattern concern in the home environment.

For the teen to have a successful opportunity for recovery when they return home, the home must be a safe recovery space for them. Therefore, the treatment process may include family therapy, family education on substance use and behavioral health conditions, and recommendations for family members to seek additional help when appropriate.

The professionals at the facility will be able to complete full assessments to better identify areas for growth with the teen as well as the family unit.

How To Choose An Inpatient Teen Rehab

Deciding which program to send your teen to can feel like a daunting task, as there are many variables involved. Do you want the program to be local? Can you visit frequently? What are the associated costs? How do they handle certain conditions? All these questions are valid, and many have different answers based on the facility you speak with.

Finding a program that will help treat your teen’s condition and provide the most support for their needs, including schoolwork, medical conditions, family therapy, location, and being financially reasonable, is an important aspect to review before deciding. The reality of residential treatment for adolescents is that there are fewer options than there are for adults, often resulting in a need to find compromise with certain aspects, such as the need for travel. Explore our rehab directory for a simple way to find rehabs that offer teen programs.

For adolescents, most treatment programs will only allow those in the 12-18 range to receive treatment in the same location. Most programs will also separate the programs by identified gender to reduce distractions and promote a safe space for open communication during therapy.

It is recommended that adolescents receive treatment with those of similar ages to improve peer support opportunities and reduce the risk of adult age-related concerns playing a part in the treatment element.

Adolescent treatment programs are similar to adult treatment in that they often include individual, family, and group therapy. However, adolescents are unable to leave the facility without parental/guardian consent. This can result in facilities using “restricted” or “lockdown” environments where the teen is unable to leave the treatment facility without some form of supervision.

One of the most important factors when choosing a rehab facility is to make sure the program aligns with the family’s and teen’s values. Program mismatches often occur when the program uses strategies or spiritual beliefs that do not match up with the teen and/or the family, resulting in unnecessary conflict. Some treatment programs will include spiritual elements while others do not; either option can have benefits as long as it represents the teen’s value system.

It can be a good idea to include your teen in the selection process of the treatment facility, allowing them to feel included in the process. Once you have decided on a program, the next step is preparing your teen to enter treatment.

Paying For Treatment

There are different strategies to cover the costs associated with residential treatment, which may include the cost of treatment, housing, and other amenities. Some programs may offer an all-in-one payment option, while others can have add-on options depending on the teen’s needs.

The costs for residential treatment can be high, especially when the suggested stay is 60-90 days. Thankfully, many programs accept health insurance to assist in managing the overall costs of treatment, either by covering a portion of the stay or the whole stay, depending on one’s benefits. It is the insurance policyholder’s responsibility to review their benefits to determine what the costs may be. It’s important to be aware of potential costs before going forward with the admission. Some programs will assist in this process to help take the burden off the caregivers and promote a working relationship.

Other payment options include self-pay, which can be more difficult to accommodate fully; however, some programs offer discounted service rates for those who can pay for treatment without insurance. Every individual has unique circumstances, with the overarching goal of ensuring the teen can get the help they need.

Preparing To Send Your Teen To Inpatient Treatment

One of the hallmark traits of adolescence is the need to find an identity that is outside of the traditional family view. This can lead to rebellious behaviors and unwanted consequences even without substance use involved; however, it can make this step even more cumbersome to accomplish.

It is recommended to involve a known healthcare professional in the sharing of the news that the teen is required to attend a residential program. This could be a therapist the teen was working with during outpatient treatment or a social worker in a hospital setting.

If one is not available, find a comfortable location and share your concerns about their behaviors/substance use with them. It is essential to stay calm and maintain a neutral tone of voice to minimize the risk of flared emotions during the talk. Sharing one’s concerns calmly and clearly can help make the process less conflictual; however, the teenager may still become upset. Caregivers should be patient and keep calm as you let them work through their emotions.

Once the teen acknowledges their need to enter treatment, the treatment program will provide a list of items and procedures required for admission.

Some example requests may include:

  • Sending past and current medical records to the facility.
  • Determining if the facility would like someone from the family to be present for the admission process or if they prefer the family to remain separate.
  • Providing school information about the planned absence and coursework.
  • Reviewing the facility’s packing list.
  • Reviewing the calendar for family visits.
  • Collecting electronic devices.
  • Having a plan of what will need to happen if the teen needs to leave early due to sickness or other reason.

After completing these items, the teen is ready to enter inpatient treatment and start their road to recovery.

Find Inpatient Rehab For Your Teen

If you believe that your teen or loved one is struggling with substance abuse, it is important to have the appropriate information to help them get treatment.

If you’re ready to find out more about inpatient rehab for your teen, contact a treatment provider today to explore rehab options, or use our rehab directory to find treatment centers that have special programs for teens.