Drug and alcohol use among teens continues to be of major concern to caregivers and healthcare professionals. Experimenting with drugs may seem harmless at first but can easily lead to lasting problems due to the fact early substance use is one of the greatest risk factors for adult addiction. Learn the critical factors for success in teen drug recovery.

Specialized Treatment Options

Adolescent substance abuse looks different than in adults and requires specialized treatment options. Some of the following modalities may be used in adolescent drug treatment:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • 12-step facilitation
  • Family therapy
  • Motivation-enhancement therapy

Co-Morbid Disorders

Drug abuse in teens can be challenging due to mental health disorders including bipolar, depression or anxiety. Effective treatment programs focus on integration of co-morbid disorders with substance abuse treatment options for best results. Even though drugs may be used as a way to self-medicate due to existing psychological, emotional or behavioral problems, it is possible to help the teen work through the issues with specialized treatment. Research shows adolescents are likely to relapse if co-morbid conditions are not identified and treated in addition to substance abuse concerns.

Length of Treatment

Another factor greatly impacting outcomes of treatment is the amount of time a teen spends in the program. Typically programs last for approximately three months or more and this has been found to be most effective. Each child is different in responding to treatment. Depending on the severity of addiction, treatment may be necessary on more than one occasion for lasting recovery.


A part of treatment that is easy to overlook but is equally critical to success is consideration of aftercare programs for teens following substance abuse treatment. Following initial inpatient or outpatient treatment, services can range from regular support groups to high school for teens specifically recovering from drug or alcohol abuse. Whichever program a family chooses, it is the accountability of providers and peers to make the ideas from treatment stick in aftercare and recovery situation which is in the real world, outside the confines of treatment. The ability to share one’s experiences with addiction and recovery can make all the difference in success for teens.

It may take some time to find the right recovery program for a teen. The most important thing to do is research what available resources exist at local treatment centers and find one that will be a good fit for one’s own child. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, the best treatment programs individualize the components of a program so a teen feels best supported in getting the help needed to move past addiction to a long lasting recovery.


Hired Power provides an empowering range of services with a focus on compassion and healing to support individuals in being successful in recovery. Call us to find out more information on how we can help you or a loved one get healthy.