What Are the Determining Factors of Success for Teens in Treatment?

It is widely accepted that the majority of addiction starts when an individual is in their teens or early twenties. It can start with experimentation and lead to a lasting habit in adulthood.

Statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that at least 70% of teens have consumed alcohol by high school and 50% have abused an illegal drug. 40% of teens have smoked cigarettes. 20% have recreationally used prescription drugs.

It is definitely a contributing factor that teens are likely not to have experienced any of the negative consequences of substance use, such as financial insecurity or loss of employment. Thus they rarely see their substance use as a problem.

Specialized Treatment

The manifestation of substance abuse in teens is markedly different than that in adults. For this reason age specific and specialized treatment is recommended. There is a variety to choose from, including:

  • 12 Step Facilitation
  • Family Therapy
  • Motivation Enhancement Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

To ensure a greater chance of success, a parent who is concerned about their teen’s recovery must consider the following three factors when choosing a treatment program.

Treating Co-Morbid Disorders

Teens with an addiction are also susceptible to suffer from mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, or depression. They may also require help with education or family life. An effective program must also incorporate treatment for the co-morbid disorder and provide the other support that may be needed, to achieve the best results. Research shows that relapse in teens is much more likely if the co-morbid condition is not treated.

What Should be the Length of Treatment?

The length of treatment which would be the most effective depends on the severity of the teen’s addiction. However, a program that lasts three months or longer is the most effective. Some teens may require multiple programs, or a more intensive program, for lasting recovery.

Programs for Aftercare

A continuing care program after the initial treatment is complete is an important step of recovery. It could be something as simple as regularly attending a support group or sending the teen to a school specifically for teens in recovery.

A Supportive Environment

The teen in recovery needs the support of friends, family and community around them. A non-supportive environment is a high risk environment for relapse. The right recovery program is one that will ensure that all aspects of recovery will be taken care of. Comprehensive and managed care means that teens and young adults can achieve lifelong recovery.


Recovery is hard work but you don’t have to do it alone. Call The Villa to find out how we can support your goals for sober living.