Teen Outpatient Treatment

Continued substance usage has dire effects to one’s physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being.  However, it is especially detrimental to teens because the harmful chemicals interfere with their physiological and intellectual growth that peaks during the adolescent years.  A teenager’s brain has not fully developed the centers accountable for decision-making and risk analysis.  Because of this, many teenagers are unafraid to experiment with alcohol and drugs to satisfy their curiosity, feel good about themselves, or fit into a group.


If left untreated, substance abuse can result in a lifetime of dependency.  Indeed, over 90% of individuals who have an addiction began to drink alcohol or use drugs before they turned 18 years old.  Therefore, teenagers suffering from substance and alcohol use disorders should undergo teen drug treatment or alcohol rehabilitation as early as possible.   However, the path to recovery could be a long and arduous process, from getting into an adolescent inpatient program to undergoing teen outpatient treatment.

Most Common Substance Abuse

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) identifies alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana as the most common substances that teenagers abuse.  Substance abuse often causes erratic behavior, sudden decline in academic performance, depression, suicidal thoughts, and intense mood swings. Additionally, it can lead to serious teenage trouble stemming from vehicular accidents, stealing money or valuables, unwanted pregnancy, and contraction of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).  The strained relationship between family members can heighten parents and teenage problems. 

According to the 2019 Los Angeles County Sentinel Community Drug Use Patterns and Trends Report, 1,344 adolescents sought teen drug treatment in Los Angeles County for marijuana usage in 2018.  The figure constitutes approximately 40% of all teenage rehab admissions in LA County.  The same year, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism records an estimated 414,000 teens ages 12 to 17 have alcohol use disorder (AUD). Females comprise 251,000 of the number, while males account for 163,000. 

Underage drinking does not only restrict adolescent brain development but also increases the possibility of developing alcoholism in adulthood.  Moreover, habitual teenage alcohol abuse can have disastrous consequences, such as injuries, sexual assaults, even deaths from car crashes.

Chronic Illnesses that Require Specialized Treatment

Alcohol and substance-use disorders are chronic illnesses that require specialized treatment.  First-time alcohol or drug users do so voluntarily, believing they can easily manage their use.  However, with time, they need to increase the amount of substance consumption to get the same level of satisfaction as when they started. The significant changes in the brain influence compulsive and uncontrollable urge to consume alcohol or drugs.  It is almost impossible to kick the habit without professional intervention, teen drug treatment, or alcohol rehabilitation.

Severe substance-use disorders, particularly those involving drugs such as meth, heroin, or oxycodone, typically require an inpatient residential program that covers detoxification and withdrawal management.  The same is true with acute alcohol users.  If you are looking for California drug rehab for teens, or teen alcohol rehab in CA or anywhere in the Los Angeles area, be sure to choose a facility that offers age-specific treatment programs.  Take note that not all teen treatment centers in Los Angeles cater to the needs of teenagers. A high-quality rehabilitation facility should have a customized and comprehensive recovery plan that addresses all aspects of the adolescent’s life. 

Holistic  Aftercare  Plan

Therapies should involve the family and respect the gender and cultural background of the child.  It should also have qualified doctors, therapists, and other staff, such as an alcohol or drug addiction treatment mentor, trained to handle youths struggling with substance abuse.  More importantly, the rehabilitation program should provide a holistic aftercare plan to help the teen sustain recovery and reassimilate successfully to the community.  


Even if the teen completes rehabilitation, the risk of relapse remains.  Studies suggest that the first six months after treatment is the most crucial as most relapses occur during this period.  Teenagers should be able to manage trigger cravings, high-risk situations, and temptations to consume drugs or alcohol.  However, maintaining a sober life is extremely challenging.  Some aftercare programs refer teens to adolescent sober living homes.  Such centers function as transitional housing for those struggling to adjust back to ordinary life. 


Sober facilities allow teens recovering from substance abuse to build their coping skills and reinforce the healthy habits they learned in the rehab before easing back into the real world.  Adolescent sober living homes are less restrictive than inpatient treatment centers.  The residents may come and go as they please as long as they attend group therapy sessions and adhere to rules including curfew schedules.  Residence at a sober home typically lasts 90 days but can be extended if necessary.

Continuing Support at Home

Once the teenagers in recovery leave the sober living home, they need continuing support to ensure long-lasting sobriety.   They can join support groups, learn new skills, or participate in drug- and alcohol-free activities that promote a healthy lifestyle.  The treatment, however, does not end here. Part of the continuing care plan is a teen's outpatient program.  The ongoing support strengthens the adolescents’ commitment to recovery.   A teen outpatient treatment employs various approaches and offers a range of services.  However, the program primarily focuses on counseling, providing education and awareness, and supplying a support network.

In some cases, teens outpatient program is sufficient to treat adolescents who have mild or moderate substance use problem, especially if it was detected at an early stage.  The program is best-suited to individuals who have the personal motivation, dedication, and discipline to stop using drugs or alcohol.  It is also ideal for those who have a solid support base comprised of family members and friends. Furthermore, the adolescents should be residing in a safe environment where no one else abuses drugs or alcohol.

Outpatient Drug Rehab for Teens

Outpatient drug rehab for teens features treatments that do not require the clients to stay in-house so they can return home to their families or back to a sober living home after the therapy sessions.  The services come in three types: day programs, intensive outpatient programs (IOP), and continuing care.   The outpatient program is more accessible, affordable, and flexible than inpatient rehabilitation.  Some services may even allow teenagers to continue attending school while treatment is ongoing.


Finding the right outpatient service is not as easy as searching for outpatient drug rehab for teens near me on the internet.  It needs thorough research and careful consideration. Choosing the ideal rehabilitation service that offers the most effective treatments and approaches is a daunting task.  However, it can make a big difference in your teen’s journey to recovery and sobriety.