Have you discovered that your teen may have developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol? Does your teen have low self-esteem? Could your teen be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? There are many youth rehab centers that offer treatment for addiction, alcoholism, depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder. Deciding which youth rehab center to trust with your teen can be an overwhelming experience.
There are many different programs and youth treatment centers from which to choose, each proclaiming to be the best. A decision of this magnitude should not be made without first educating ones self a bit. There are a few core features that a youth rehab center must offer to be considered a viable option. These primary considerations extend well beyond peripheral amenities such as décor and an extensive sushi menu.
What to Look For in a Youth Rehab Center
We’ve listed a few of the more common considerations below. However, this is by no means a complete list of treatment program criteria:
1. Staff to Client Ratio
The center’s staff-to-client ratio should weigh heavily on your decision when attempting to identify the best youth treatment center. Your teen should have the opportunity to take advantage of individualized therapy and care. A high staff-to-client ratio can also prevent your teen from hiding out in the shadows and avoiding challenges necessary for recovery and growth.
2. Licensed Professionals
Treatment staff should be qualified, licensed and credentialed in their specific areas of expertise. Staff should be able to demonstrate a history of having worked together for many years. Staff members who have spent time together “in the trenches” tend to develop a mutual level of trust, adoration, and respect toward each other. This will typically lead to a stable and safe treatment environment.
3. Variety of Treatments
It is important that the youth rehab center offers a wide variety of treatment modalities. Because no two teens are alike, teen treatment centers should offer a broad range of therapy options. An evidence-based treatment approach is ideal and involves evaluating those specific therapy modalities that seem to work best for your teen, then focusing specifically on them. A vast array of treatment options, ranging from traditional to alternative, offers the best chances to meet the complex and diverse needs of teens.
4. Family Involvement
Family involvement should be an essential part of a treatment center’s therapy plan. Drug addiction affects the entire family and the importance of family therapy and parental support services should not be overlooked. Look for a youth rehab center that encourages family involvement during treatment and offers on-going family support services for program alumni.
5. Avoid the either/or debate
Under the heading of drug treatment there exist two primary treatment models. The “Disease Model” is based on 12-step programs and recognizes addiction as a disease. The disease model suggests that addicts are never cured of addiction. They are “recovering” never “recovered.” The “Medical Model” is based on traditional western medicine and suggests that people can recover from drug addiction or alcoholism completely.
Choose What’s Best
Each model has helped thousands of people. Look for a treatment center that will provide your teen access to both of these treatment models and more. Treatment centers that focus on one model exclusively tend to be extremely dogmatic – it’s their way or the highway. Exposing teens to a multitude of treatment models offers the best chance that they may find a model that resonates with them. In fact, oftentimes professional therapists may find that no one model is a perfect fit for your teen. Rather, it’s a combination of different approaches that seems to work best for them.
Do your research, visit the youth rehab center, and meet with the staff. Whichever program you decide to choose for your teen, the first step is always the most difficult. Know that you are not alone and that your loved one is about to begin his or her journey toward a healthier happier life for your entire family.
Paradigm Malibu is an adolescent mental health and drug treatment center dedicated to identifying, understanding and properly treating the core issues that impact teens and their families.