Being the parent of a teenager is a tough enough job, but the task of guiding a teen through the challenges of maturing into a responsible and ethical adult can be made exponentially tougher if your teen has fallen into the drug trap. Even the most thoughtful, responsible parents can discover that their teen is using, or realize there may be other problems that are psychological in nature that exist along with the drug use.
As a parent you may be tempted to try to create an at-home version of rehab. Be aware that this attempt is almost certainly doomed to fail because there is far more to treating a teen than changing their curfews and rummaging through their belongings when they’re out of the house. Residential treatment for teenagers is often the last resort for concerned parents when, in fact, it should be considered a viable alternative from the start.
When a teen enters a residential treatment facility, he or she will be completely surrounded by unfamiliar people, places and demands. If this sounds extreme, consider the kinds of behaviors and habits your teen has developed in “non-extreme” (AKA normal life) circumstances.
Residential treatment immerses teens in a world of new options and time-constraints that may seem confining at first, but eventually become ingrained and habitual. The old friends who participated and/or supplied your teen with the substances? Gone, not in reach: no in-person contact and no cell phones. Non-parental authorities like drug counselors and therapists are resistant to the lies, manipulation, guilt and anger that are the habitual fall-back positions for teens.
By removing everything familiar and replacing it with a whole new world, you are forcing your troubled teen to see and eventually acknowledge that there are not only options for them, but there are ways to overcome the crippling effects of these problems.
If your teen’s substance abuse problem has becomes full-blown addiction, a residential facility will take the teen (there or in a hospital) through withdrawal as comfortably and safely as possible.
Residential treatment exists not only for single conditions, but co-morbidity such as drug and alcohol abuse along with depression, an eating disorder along with a bi-polar diagnosis, etc., and a correct diagnosis can only be made after the patient is no longer physically dependent on the substance they were abusing. The physicians, licensed therapists and nurses specializing in addiction treatment are there to provide the needed help.
Residential treatment centers offer group therapy, classes in healthy lifestyles, anger management counseling, individual therapy and classes in meditation, yoga, mindfulness and other methods used to create new, healthy behaviors. There are residential house mothers and fathers who are available 24 hours a day for help or just talking. This round-the-clock availability to professional help is a major benefit of residential treatment.
Formation of Positive Peer Relationships
A teen who is using is either isolating or hanging around with teens involved in the same destructive behavior. In residential treatment, your teen will have the chance to change that – to become involved with positive peer relationships. Patients bond strongly with one another during the course of treatment as they are introduced to community and cooperation – and, of course, honesty.
Daily group reinforcement and sharing issues and challenges with peers creates a strong bond that is meant to last past the residential experience. Replacing old, negative peer influence with new friends who understand exactly what the patient has gone through is an extremely powerful component of residential treatment, which aims to have teens leave the program with strong, positive interpersonal skills.