Drug Addiction Treatment Methods For Teens

Teenagers have a habit of experimenting and excessive partying, which is why many high schoolers currently use or have tried addictive substances at least once before. There is significant evidence showing that teenagers who have abused alcohol or drugs have a higher chance of developing a substance use disorder. Many adults suffering from addiction probably started doing drugs, drinking, or smoking before they were 18 years old. This is why it is important to keep addictive substances away from kids and teenagers and educate them about abuse and addiction so they don’t use them. However, you can only do so much to prevent abuse and addiction in teenagers. If your teenager develops a substance use disorder, you may have to look into the available drug addiction treatment options.

Drug Addiction TreatmentAddiction treatment for teenagers can be beneficial in helping them turn their lives around. In some situations, involving child rehabilitation, you can never fully guarantee a complete recovery. Even after the treatment, 40 to 60 percent of addicts will end up relapsing. However, for successful cases, the treatment ends up saving their lives. Even if they are not completely cured, the time these individuals spend in rehabilitation helps them acknowledge the dangers and the impact of their addiction.

If a teenager relapses after undergoing drug addiction treatment, this does not mean the rehabilitation was unsuccessful, which most parents often fear. It means the treatment should be modified and before being reapplied to the patient. Substance abuse has adverse effects on the teenage brain, but rehab helps to keep them from being tempted again or ending up on the streets.

 Treatment for Teenage Drug Addiction

Any teenager who is checked into rehab will be diagnosed first. After this, a medical professional develops a customized treatment plan for them. The program will probably include a form of these treatment approaches.


When a child goes to rehab, there’s a possibility that whatever substance they’ve been abusing is still in their system. They will need to go through detoxification, whereby the body naturally eliminates the addictive substance to begin the healing process. The detox process can take days or weeks, depending on the severity of the patient’s drug abuse or addiction. Usually, this process is supervised by medical professionals to make sure it is safe and the child does not go back to using harmful addictive substances. The teenager may also have withdrawal symptoms causing them mental and physical discomfort because they are not using their addictive substance. Medically-supervised detox allows them to get the necessary care and get through the pains of withdrawal, possibly using medication.


Teen Addiction TreatmentDrug rehabilitation for teenagers typically focuses on the therapy aspect of treatment. Biological factors play a significant role in teenagers who are struggling with drug addiction. Certain brain regions will indicate abnormalities or underdevelopment, such as the prefrontal cortex, which plays a role in judgment, reasoning, impulsivity, and goal setting. The teenager’s environmental, genetic, and biological factors will help physicians understand why they suffer from addiction or substance abuse. Therapy is the first course of action in drug addiction treatment for teenagers to understand and address the problem.

There are different types of therapy offered in both inpatient and outpatient rehab. Teen patients can do therapy in a group and individual setting. The doctor may recommend one or more of these types of therapy depending on the severity of the substance abuse issue.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This treatment option is also referred to as CBT, talk therapy, or psychotherapy. This approach focuses on determining the thoughts that cause the teenager’s addiction and modifying their thought patterns. CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts influence our behaviors, perceptions, and interpretations of our environment. CBT sessions for teenagers in rehab typically help them to:

  • Cultivate problem-solving and communication skills
  • Utilize different approaches to avoid potentially triggering places, people, or situations
  • Develop coping and self-regulation skills to help them determine triggers for their substance use

Family Therapy

Family-based therapy focuses on the role that family plays in a teenager’s substance use. These sessions address issues like problem-solving, cohesiveness, and poor communication with the teen’s family members and loved ones. This method focuses on the principle that the family has the biggest and most lasting effect on teenagers’ development and beliefs about good and bad behaviors.

Therapeutic Recreation

Addiction Treatment TeensThis form of therapy involves teen patients engaging in leisure activities to keep them active such as games, arts, crafts, and sports. Engaging in healthy leisure has several benefits on teens recovering from addiction by helping to treat the person as a whole. Most teens struggling with severe addiction can forget how to have fun without using addictive substances. Recreational therapy helps them re-learn how to become the best parts of themselves and loosen up during rehabilitation. It also enables them to learn how to have healthy interactions with others again and connect with other recovering patients. In the process, it enhances their self-worth, self-esteem, and physical health while helping them learn new skills.

Motivational Interviewing/Brief Intervention

This approach involves talking to the teen in a non-confrontational, person-centered manner to help them analyze their substance abuse aspects. During the sessions, the patient is encouraged to look at the advantages and disadvantages of their substance use. A therapist helps them develop goals to gain a healthy lifestyle and offers feedback to help them recognize the results of their actions.

Contingency Management

A teenager’s relationship with drugs can modify some brain functions, particularly those relating to the reward centers. For example, if the teen smokes marijuana whenever they feel they need a break or achieve something, their brain will expect the drug as a reward and nothing else. Motivational incentives or contingency management is a treatment model used in most addiction treatment approaches for adolescents. This type of therapy monitors the patient’s daily progress in rehabilitation and the days when they are successfully sober, then offers them a reward. These rewards may include cash, clothing, electronics, or gift certificates. Such incentives will increase the teen’s motivation to stay sober and help to rewire the brain to accept rewards that are not harmful or addictive.

Aftercare Support

After the rehabilitation period, it is also helpful to have the recovering teen engage in support groups and counseling to help them maintain sobriety and on the path to recovery. Another way to encourage sobriety after the treatment is to uphold positive changes to their lifestyle and home. Healthy eating, learning new skills, and positive habits like sports can give the teen a positive perspective on life after drug addiction treatment and help them avoid going back to old ways.

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