Substance Abuse Treatment for Your Teen (a Guide for Parents)

Your teen has a substance abuse problem. It's time to get help. So let's learn about treatment.

Starting the process

The process may begin by having your teen talk to their doctor or a therapist. This can give them some strategies to help them stop using. But if your teen is addicted, they need specialized care. They need to work with a treatment center. We call it "rehab."


Sometimes, getting a teen into rehab involves an intervention. That's when loved ones gather to talk to the teen and tell them they need to get help. It's important to make prior arrangements with the treatment center. If your teen agrees to go, they need to go as soon as possible.

Different types of treatment centers

There are inpatient and outpatient treatment centers. Some are religious-based, and some aren't. Some specialize in treating addiction to a specific drug. So make sure you do your research. Pick the center that's the best fit for your teen.

Inpatient rehab

An inpatient rehab program usually lasts for several weeks. The first weeks can be very tough. But it gets better. You can usually visit regularly. So visit when you can. Show your love and support.

After treatment

After treatment, the work isn't done. Even though your child may not be using now, addiction can last a lifetime. They may have strong cravings. There may be setbacks. Many people need several trips to rehab before they break the habit. So you'll need to watch your teen closely, and get them help again if needed.