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:
- What types of drugs are you using?
- What frequency are you taking drugs?
- Are you drinking, if yes, what and how much?
- Have you ever experienced blackouts, memory loss, or seizures?
- Describe your moods, levels of anxiety when taking and not taking drugs or drinking.
- Are you depressed?
- Do you have any known allergies?
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.