TYPES OF REHABS
There are a variety of options for drug and alcohol rehabilitation for your teen. An initial assessment by a certified professional is key in helping you determine the best plan for your child. An initial assessment will often begin with interview questions. It may be difficult for you as a parent to be excluded, but note that this may be done without a parent present. This sometimes helps open up an honest dialogue between the intake counselor and your teen. Honest answers will help the professional determine the best plan of care for your teen. Questions may include:
Unfortunately, not all teens will be honest during their interview and the counselor may want to interview a parent separately as well. This may help the counselor identify truth from fiction. Be honest, try not to speculate on things you are not certain of, but always listen to your gut. Share your gut instincts with the counselor. Do not expect the counselor to tell you everything your child has shared. This will be hard for many parents, but you have entrusted your child to this care provider for a reason.
The counselor will be supervised by a medical doctor who will do a general exam and likely a drug screen to see what specific drugs are presently in the teen's system. The medical doctor may decide that a prescription treatment plan is in order. Often teens misuse prescription drugs and may see this as another opportunity to "use". Careful supervision of your teen's prescription drug intake is important. From this point, rehab takes on many forms. A recommendation for a care plan will be made and shared with the parent.
Meetings: Your teen may be referred to attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Check out local chapters that specifically meet with teenagers so your teen will find some friends in common that will help him find a support group in his immediate area. Though structured, not all meetings are the same. It may take attending a few meetings in your area for your teen to find one that feels right to him. You may want to attend the first few meetings with your teen or attend a couple of meetings at a separate time from your teen to get the gist of what is happening. There are local support groups called Al-Anon that you may get support from as well. While all of these meetings are free they do accept a nominal donation.
Outpatient Therapy: Individual counseling or small group on a regular basis may be the best option for your teen. Individual counseling with an accredited and licensed provider takes on the form of one client and one therapist in sessions that may last 45 minutes to an hour. A consistent regimen of visits will help the teen and the therapist develop a rapport and build trust so that your teen can set goals to replace poor decision making with positive attitudes and actions. It is important for your teen to be placed with a counselor/therapist that he connects with. It may take two, three or even more tries with therapists to find the right one, but please do not settle. This is your teens life and though it may turn out to be a painstaking process, it will be well worth the effort. Listen to your teen when he gives you feedback about his counselor. Small group counseling is a given number of clients with one therapist in sessions that may last 45 minutes to more than an hour. Again, a consistent regimen of visits will help the teen develop a rapport and build trust with his group. Often groups can hold each other accountable for their actions which becomes extremely important and pivotal with teenagers as they gain a positive support group of their peers.
There are a variety of different types of counselors with a variety of credentials, so as a parent it is necessary for you to do some homework and ensure that the quality of care your teen is receiving coincides with the core of his addiction. You are your child's best advocate.
Detox: The process of detox treatment is only necessary if your teen was recommended for such treatment in the initial assessment. It is not always necessary. But if you are in agreement that it is, you should be aware that it is not a pleasant part of treatment. Detox is a cleansing process through which toxins in your teen's body are safely removed. Depending on drugs of choice and frequency of use, detox can last up to an average of two weeks. Now it may seem odd, but sometimes certain prescription drugs are used to help with the detoxification process. This is referred to as a medical model of treatment. In short, this means prescription drugs are used to get the person off drugs. This is not a model without controversy, since the person addicted and their loved ones actually sought to get the individual drug free only to discover the client leaving the program with a different kind of dependency. Anti-depressant drugs, methadone, Suboxone and other drugs are sold to these individuals as part of their “treatment”. They continue the habit of these drugs and rely on these for their “sobriety” upon exiting the program and hopefully wean off these drugs in time. A medical treatment program should be coupled with counseling therapy. Not all parents want their children treated with MORE drugs, so you need to have a clear understanding of what the detox plan of care will be for your child. Remember you are your child's best advocate. Things you will want to look for in detox care are: 24 hour medical supervision, an accredited facility and providers, individualized treatment plans, complete removal of drug residuals. Be careful, some providers have the same protocol for every patient that walks through their doors. This is not a best practice, nor is it recommended. Every teen presents differently and should have an individualized plan of care. After detoxification, a qualified professional counselor may be able to diagnosis your teen with other underlying disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, attention deficit which may require a totally different plan of care.
Intensive Outpatient Therapy: These programs are often seen as an alternative to Inpatient Care or may be a step down from Inpatient Care. These sessions meet with intense frequency, but allow your teen to possibly continue to attend school, work, and be part of his family. Intensive Outpatient Therapy can be individual, group, and/or family. Often a combination of these therapies are utilized. The intensity of therapy will last however long your teen's supervising counselor sees fit. Be watchful of your teen, the frequency of visits may become monotonous. Monotony of their life before may have led them to drugs and alcohol in the first place. So find a way to reward your teen for his efforts, so he does not become complacent, or worse, return to his previous lifestyle. Money may be tight for you, so be creative in supporting his endeavor to become clean.
Inpatient Therapy: There are a variety of types of inpatient care for your teen. A short stay care program may last as little as five days. This is often a critical care situation that leads to a prescribed care plan which may or may not lead to an Inpatient Care stay. Twenty eight day stay programs are a common plan of care which may or may not include a 12 step program. But some stays can be up to 6 or even 12 months or more in a residential treatment facility.
Aftercare: Best practice for all of these treatment programs is a transitory period of aftercare which may include meetings and/or outpatient therapy. This will be best planned by your primary qualified care provider and a team of therapists, social workers, nurses, etc. This phase will offer a period of support as your teen transitions back home. As a parent it is your job to closely monitor his activities, but try not to be overbearing. Present opportunities for your teen to interact in positive activities that are relatively well supervised. Your teen needs to find a group of peers that will help support him in his clean lifestyle. As a parent, any guidance you provide will have to be tactful and non-intrusive.
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