Five Signs Your Teen Needs Residential Treatment

Over the past few decades, there has perhaps been no more significant threat to our nation’s youth than drug addiction. Drug addiction, namely the opioid epidemic, has decimated teens for the last 20 years. While there are no current, complete studies on the matter, leading experts warn that drug abuse, addiction, and overdoses have most likely gotten worse among teenagers since the pandemic of 2020 - with some calling today's drug abuse among teens "an epidemic wrapped up in a pandemic."

According to the latest estimates, prescription pills (including opioids and stimulants), marijuana, and alcohol are at an all-time high among teens. 

Parents must recognize whether or not their child is experimenting, abusing drugs, or has a full-fledged substance abuse disorder - and ultimately, whether they need residential treatment. 

Worried Your Child Requires Residential Treatment? Consult a Qualified Mental Health Professional 

It should be noted that if you are a parent that is worried your child needs help for a substance abuse disorder, it’s crucial to consult a qualified mental health professional who can give your child a full psychological assessment. 

Also, parents need to understand that only a licensed and certified mental health professional is qualified to diagnose their teen with a substance use disorder. While parents may know details of their child’s life, it is still essential that they seek a second, professional opinion. 

The following article is to provide parents with a guide to help them in their decision-making process. 

Five Signs Your Teen Needs Residential Treatment for Drug Use Disorder

  1. Repeated Relapse/Failed Attempts to Become and Stay Sober

While relapse is common among addicts, trying and failing to stay sober more than once is a major red flag. If your teen has already received treatment for their addiction but has since suffered multiple relapses, it’s most likely time to seek out residential treatment centers. While parents might be tempted to resort to outpatient care for their child, it is highly recommended that they seek intensive residential treatment for a condition as severe as addiction. 

  1. Outpatient Treatment Didn’t Work

When it comes to drug treatment, less intensive therapies are often not enough to fully rehabilitate addicted teens. If your teen has undergone outpatient treatment but has yet to yield any rehabilitative results, it is probably because they require more intensive, inpatient care. 

  1. Parenting and Other Forms of Professional Help Have Failed

This sign has to do with well-intentioned, concerned parents doing everything they can to help their child stay drug-free, but whose attempts were to no avail. 

Unfortunately, even the best and most dedicated parenting is not always enough to stop, prevent, or stifle the substance use of troubled teenagers. For parents who have tried everything from outpatient to hospitalization therapies for their child, the next logical approach is residential, 24/7 treatment. 

  1. Dual Diagnosis

When it comes to teenage drug abuse and addiction, using drugs is a means of self-medicating. In other words, a large majority of teens who become addicted to drugs do so because they are using substances to mask or subdue pain that stems from underlying mental health-related issues. When a teen struggles with mental illness and substance use disorder, they have what experts refer to as a dual diagnosis. 

If your teen has a dual diagnosis, it is highly recommended that you seek residential treatment to cater to their therapeutic needs.

  1. When Your Child’s (and other's) Safety Becomes a Concern

Addicted teens - whose frontal lobe in charge of impulsivity and decision-making are not yet fully developed - are prone to acting on out-of-control behaviors that can put themselves and others at risk. Suppose your child’s behavior is putting them, yourselves, or others at risk. In that case, it is highly recommended that you immediately seek out residential treatment - even if you have yet to try less-intensive means of rehabilitation.  

Next Steps: Find A Treatment Center

Suppose you decide a residential treatment program for substance use disorder treatment is a necessary and appropriate step. In that case, it’s time to find a treatment center that matches your family’s needs.

Take this process seriously because the treatment center you choose can make all the difference.