How To Get Counseling for Teen Alcohol & Teen Drug Abuse

By: Mike Shery

Perhaps you have discovered that one of your children or adolescents use alcohol and other drugs. It is important to know that some kids do develop serious problems in this area which require professional help. Such programs include inpatient treatment, office counseling, twelve step programs, and inpatient units for individuals who have both emotional and substance abuse problems.

There are a variety of substance abuse treatment programs available. The decision to get treatment for your child or adolescent can be difficult, and because of this, your first step should be to seek consultation from a psychologist when making these decisions.

Other psychiatric problems can often coexist with your teens substance abuse problem. Therefore, get a complete assessment before starting treatment.

When substance abuse treatment is recommended, you can obtain the information you need by asking the following questions:

1. Why do you believe this program will help my child? How do its features and services compare to other local programs or services?

2. What are the credentials of members of the treatment team? Will the team include a clinical psychologist who will due in depth counseling and testing or will it be oriented exclusively with the psychiatric model by emphasizing the use of medications?

3. What treatment approaches does this program use? For example, which of the following are included: detoxification; abstinence training; individual, family, and group therapy; use of medications; a twelve-step program; support groups; relapse prevention. Is there aftercare or a continuing recovery process available?

4. Does my child have other psychiatric problems in addition to substance abuse? If so, will these be addressed in the treatment process? How?

5. How will the family be involved in our child's substance abuse treatment -- including the decision for discharge and after-care?

6. What will treatment cost? Are the costs covered by my insurance or health plan?

7. How will my child continue his education while in treatment?

8. Is your facility approved by the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)? Is this substance abuse program a separate unit accredited for youngsters of our childs age?

9. How will the issue of confidentiality and privacy be handled during and after treatment?

10. How long will the treatment process continue? Will we reach our insurance limit before treatment is completed?

11. When my child is discharged, how will it be decided what types of aftercare will be necessary, how often, and for how long? Will my insurance cover it?

12. Does this program provide less intensive/step-down treatment services as my child improves? Do not forget that severe substance abuse and chemical dependency in adolescence is often a chronic relapsing disorder. Always ask what treatment services are available for continued or future treatment.

If questions or doubts persist about either admission to a substance abuse treatment program or about a denial of treatment, a second opinion may be helpful.

Addictions
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