Making An Informed Decision Before Sending Your Teen For Rehab

Addiction Articles

photo of teen drug addicts

There are over 1 million teenagers who are dependent on illegal drugs. There is a nearly equal number that is alcohol-dependent. Not all these teens need medical care or teen drug rehab.

But to prevent that, two things need to be achieved: a total cessation of substance abuse and a demonstrated among the teenager’s family of open and improving ability to talk about the problem and find solutions.

But that is easier said than done. And, if you’re the parent of that teen, what should you do if your physician recommends inpatient teen drug rehab?

The fantastic thing is that there’s an upside to this sort of recommendation. Most kids – nearly 75 percent – who desire teen drug rehab never get 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 find the teen drug rehab that they need. And by helping them earlier rather than later, their mind and their mind (which is still forming and aging) will improve considerably. This will enhance their quality of life far into adulthood.

So how do you make an educated choice about teen drug rehab that works and is affordable?

First of all, get some referrals or recommendations for teen drug rehab from your physician. Then scan the sites of these facilities. Even the most basic info is useful at this point:

Where are they located? Location is most critical because you’re not going to drop off your child and move away simply. It’s very important that you play a significant role in your teen’s drug rehab.

You have to plan to visit your child on a regular basis. In addition to that: many teen drug rehab facilities will not take 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 at your home — as recovery warrants it. To find a facility that is close to home.

Do your research and prepare questions to ask beforehand

How much do they charge? Take an active role in finding out all of the costs involved, whether 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 is going to help you better understand what’s very likely to be covered by insurance and Medicaid. Also, bear in mind that some applications facilitate your getting aid that will cover the difference between what is covered by insurance and what isn’t.

So ask about what is available in the way of financial assistance.

What kind of certification does the facility have? Start looking for a facility to be accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) or equivalent body.

You ought not to consider a teen drug rehab facility that is not accredited. Also, inquire about licensing. Ask if the facility is accredited by the state, e.g., the Dept. of Health.

What is their treatment philosophy? Does the facility treat individuals of all ages together? Or are adolescents kept separate? Research indicates that teen drug rehab has a greater 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, bear in mind that there’s spiritual component to this sort of treatment. Are you sure your child is receptive to that?

If not, it could have negative impact on their recovery. Find out whether there is an alternative offered. Will there be adjustments made to the instructional needs your teen is going to have?

Just because your child is in teen drug rehab does not mean their education should be sacrificed. What about their psychological needs? Is there psychological therapy provided?

How often would your child meet with a therapist? What kind of goals would this treatment 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. This will depend on the facility — and your little one. Is it measured in months or weeks?

You’ll also want to find out how many teenagers are typically being treated at any one time. Regarding group treatment, how big are the groups? What sorts of rules does the teen drug rehab facility have – specifically, what principles (if broken) are grounds for being dismisses from the facility?

You might also want to inquire about the availability of aftercare, i.e., what sort of support does the facility offer after your child leaves the inpatient program? This is perhaps most crucial of all in determining your teenager’s long-term achievement.

It’s customary for there to be at least 12 months of active participation by your teen in the kind of inpatient treatment, 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 is going to be assessed for the severity of their illness and the most appropriate level of treatment necessary. Sometimes this involves your child undergoing medical testing.

Also, some fundamental decisions will be made about your child’s level of therapy, e.g., outpatient, partial hospitalization, etc.. Stay involved — find out exactly what measures are followed in this phase.

This includes finding out what all of the prices are (e.g., charges for urine screening, etc.) and deciding what your insurance carrier will pay for.

Who are the staff? What qualifies the employees at the teen drug rehab facility to work there? What education level, background experience level, etc.. Does the facility have medical personnel available in case of personal injury?

How many employees are there about the patients? Is the speed of turnover high or low? Do you feel comfortable with the demographic make-up of the team on hand? Are they sensitive to cultural diversity?

Other important considerations

If this hasn’t been made clear up to this point, you want to visit the teen drug rehab centers that are on your short list before making your choice.

All the photographs in the world, all the sites, might help you narrow your choices down, but in the long run, you need to be on site to make a final choice. And look at the facility the way your child might look at it too.

Some things to Search for:

  • Is the facility well maintained?
  • Are there places for residents to go and stay active when the weather is bad?
  • How do the meals seem?
  • How do the interactions between adults and teens seem? Observe the actions during an entire day, if you’re able to.
  • Are podcasts well stocked?

Perhaps most significant of all: Contact the parents of adolescents 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: Why did their child suffer a relapse after leaving the teen drug rehab facility?


In case 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 misuse.

But it is worth it because it is going to help your teen make a faster – and longer lasting – recovery. Call our hotline to get started with recovery.

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