Any parent having concerns for an adolescent’s use of alcohol and drugs may call one of our outpatient offices to arrange an assessment. During the assessment, parents are asked what their concerns are and whether they notice any unwelcome changes (i.e., declining grades, different group of friends, moodiness) in their child. The assessor interviews the child and meets with both parent and adolescent to present a diagnosis and recommend a course of action. The assessment usually takes one and a half hours to complete.
Depending on the findings of the assessment the clinician may recommend one of the following:
1. No Recommendation – The assessment finds that the adolescent executed poor judgement rather than any symptoms of dependency.
2. Outpatient Education – A program designed for adolescents who have had problems with their use of alcohol/drugs but who are not, at the time of assessment, diagnosed as chemically dependent. Classes meet weekly for two hours and participants are also exposed to 12 - step programs and monitored for drug use. The class lasts for up to twelve weeks.
3. Intensive Outpatient (IOP) Treatment – Designed for adolescents who are diagnosed as chemically dependent. This program meets three times a week for two hour sessions. Counselor and adolescent create a recovery plan that focuses on the issues the adolescent must resolve to gain recovery while still going to school/work and being around others who use/drink. Adolescents are asked to complete key assignments that remind them of the power of the disease of addiction and the path to recovery.
NOTE: When the diagnosis of an adolescent confirms that he/she is too ill to be able to recover in an outpatient program, an inpatient regimen is recommended.
4. Continuing Care -To effectively treat the chronic disease of addiction, it is essential that adolescents engage in ongoing care. The treatment team, family, and positive peers can all support the individual as they begin to apply the tools of recovery in their daily life. In continuing care, the treatment plan evolves from a focus of achieving a drug free life and education to addressing the life challenges. Lasting approximately 5 months, the final length of treatment is determined by the patient and counselor as they evaluate patient progress in their recovery.
Family Education/Support Group
The disease of addiction wreaks a special havoc on the relationship between parents and addicted teens. Parents can be confused, saddened and often angered by the changes the disease brings about in behaviors, thinking and emotions. The family group teaches parents about the nature of addiction and recovery as well as behavior changes that will re-balance the family in crisis.