Teen Alcohol and Drug Abuse - Finding the Right Treatment for Your Teen
You can help find the right treatment for your teen and help him or her succeed during and after treatment.
Get the right treatment. Talk with a health professional about treatment options in
your area. Adult programs don't meet the needs of teens. They usually
stress long-term health and relationship effects of substance abuse, which is
not a concern for teens. If your teen needs to be placed in an
inpatient or outpatient program, look for a program with the
features he or she needs. These may include a school program
or opportunities for parental involvement.
Be involved in the treatment and aftercare program. Let your teen know that
you support him or her. It may take a long time for your teen to reestablish trust,
to be forgiven by you, and to forgive himself or herself.
Get help for your family. Talk with a health professional
about help for you and your family. Your family members need to know that they did not cause the disease,
but that their behavior can affect the disease. Support groups such as Al-Anon and
Alateen may be very helpful for family members.
Help establish a direction. Having a sense of direction
in life is important for your teen to remain drug-free. Treatment usually includes help to identify talents and strengths. These
can be used to find healthy interests, hobbies, and jobs.
Treatment for level of use
The type of treatment your teen gets will depend on how bad his or her substance problem is.
Experimenting. If your teen has started experimenting with
substances, education through a school or community program may be all he or she needs.
Some schools have programs for students with alcohol and drug use problems that
provide support and drug education.
Weekly use. If your teen is abusing a substance at least weekly, some form of treatment is usually needed. It's important to pay close attention to your teen's
concerns, which may be related to emotional or self-esteem problems. Find
activities that your teen can substitute for substance use. Treatment helps motivate the teen to stop using substances and to learn skills to refuse drugs in
the future. Family
counseling should also be a part of treatment.
Dependence on alcohol or drugs. Your teen will need treatment in a structured
program and may need medical help for withdrawal symptoms. If
your teen is addicted to heroin or another opiate, he or she may be referred
to a methadone treatment program. These programs use the medicines
buprenorphine, or antidepressants such as bupropion
(Wellbutrin) to help people cope with the withdrawal symptoms caused by opiate
Dependence on tobacco. Your teen can get help to quit and prevent serious health problems. For more
information, see the topic