The Benefits of Residential Treatment for Youth

youth residential drug treatment

In the United States, about 75 to 80 percent of youth in need of mental health services do not receive them. About 90 percent of teens battling a substance use disorder do not get the treatment they need. And yet, these numbers are in the millions.

Too often, children battling mental, behavioral, conduct, mood, and substance use disorders do not get the treatment they deserve, because they do not know where to go. They do not know who to see or whose advice to trust. Some may not know which services they need, or whether they need help at all.

Near one million adolescents between 12 and 17 have an illicit drug or alcohol use disorder. About 1 in 5 children between the ages 13 and 18 have, or will have, a serious mental illness. If your child is battling a mental, behavioral, or substance use disorder, know that you are not alone.

There are many treatment options available to youth today, depending on their disorder and the severity of it. But as a parent or guardian, you may be wondering which option is best for your young one. Which is the best treatment structure for troubled youth? Which treatment centers for youth have the most successful treatment outcomes? How will you know you are making the right choice?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has written a set of guiding principles to look for in an adolescent treatment center. Within this, they note how youth often require longer-durations of treatment. This is because adolescents have different treatment needs and different experiences in treatment. They require very individualized care, behavioral therapies to manage cravings and relapse triggers, as well as emotional and mental support. The NIDA recommends at least three months of treatment, though outcomes are better when a person stays in treatment even longer.

In addition to long-term treatment, residential treatment for youth is also recommended – especially when it comes to co-occurring mental and substance use disorders (or, dual diagnosis). The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) suggests that inpatient or residential rehabilitation, with supportive housing, is especially beneficial for those battling dual diagnosis. They explain:

“A person experiencing a mental illness and dangerous/dependent patterns of substance use may benefit from an inpatient rehabilitation center where they can receive medical and mental health care 24/7. These treatment centers provide therapy, support, medication and health services to treat the substance use disorder and its underlying causes.”

Below, Turnbridge outlines the benefits of a long-term, residential treatment center for youth:

  1. 24/7 Watchful Care

As noted by the NAMI, residential treatment centers promise watchful care twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The NIDA supports this, stating that residential treatment is generally recommended for youth with severe levels of addiction, “whose mental and medical needs and addictive behaviors require a 24-hour structured environment to make recovery possible.” Residential treatment centers are equipped with support staff, counselors, and clinicians who are accessible and available at every stage. Should a client have a difficult craving, or need to talk, someone is always there. This is especially essential in early recovery, when withdrawal symptoms are hard and the risk of relapse is greatest.

  1. Long-term, Tailored Care Plans

In a residential treatment center, youth can generally expect long-term care, with many treatment programs lasting 6 to 12 months. They can also expect very individualized treatment at every phase of the recovery process, as clinicians take into consideration the age, background, feelings, and circumstances of each client in recovery – helping create the care plan that work best for them.

  1. A Safe Space to Heal

In residential treatment, youth are separated from everyday temptations, pressures, and difficult relationships. They do not need to worry about difficult situations at school or at home, and are given the space they need to heal without access to drugs or alcohol. They are safe in the residences, and surrounded by a sober network, without relapse triggers getting in the way. Unlike many treatment facilities, residential treatment centers are generally offered in a non-hospital setting, as well. At Turnbridge, for example, the facilities are designed with serenity, healing, and good health in mind. Youth live in beautiful residences that promote positive thinking, inspiration, and peace.

  1. A Sober Social Surrounding

One of the most common types of residential treatment centers for youth are Therapeutic Communities (TCs). These focus largely on building a community within treatment, and re-socializing adolescents with a sober, supportive network of peers. This is one of the greatest advantages of a youth treatment center. Adolescents are surrounded by other youth of the same age groups, gender, and similar experiences. This can make the transition into treatment – and the experience of treatment overall – more positive for a young person looking to establish healthy friendships.

  1. Structured Daily Routines

The NIDA explains that residential treatment centers are highly structured, with activities designed to help youth get to the root of, and further overcome, their drug problems, damaging outlooks, low self-esteem, and destructive patterns of behavior. These activities are all carefully designed to help youth adopt new, healthy habits and harmonious, constructive ways to interact with others. This is a crucial part of the healing process. By having structure, youth are able to focus on their goals, so that every activity they complete lends way to healing. There is less room for distractions, less room for “down time,” and less room to dwell on negative feelings or miss drugs and alcohol.

At Turnbridge, adolescents and young adults follow very specific treatment regimes, with scheduled meals, exercise plans, and therapies throughout the day. Residents are required to attend regular 12-step meetings, along with group therapy sessions to help build positive relationships with other peers in treatment. They also are offered an array of healthy, sober and holistic activities in treatment, including yoga, art and music sessions, nature hikes, group outings, sober sports, and more. We believe it is these very activities that build community, and that also fill each day with purpose and meaning. All the while, it reduces drug cravings and negative feelings in clients, as they focus more on the positive aspects of treatment. As residents move through the phases of treatment, they are granted more independence, having the ability to work, volunteer, and go to 12-step meetings on their own.

Turnbridge is a recognized, residential treatment center for youth battling co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. If your child, teen, or young adult is in need of inpatient rehab, please do not hesitate to reach out. Early intervention and professional treatment are the key to your loved one’s health, and to your loved one’s success. Call 877-581-1793 to learn more.