Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Outpatient Services for Your Teen

Outpatient services play an important role in the continuum of care in rehab. While inpatient treatment is the best option for teenagers who need acute detox services or intensive supervision, outpatient care may be the right choice for low-risk teens. Comprehensive addiction treatment programs offer a full spectrum of recovery resources, from inpatient treatment and residential care to outpatient services. At different points in the recovery process, your teen may benefit from any one of these levels of care.

Outpatient recovery services are offered at clinics, community health centers, hospitals and addiction treatment facilities. Teens can attend counseling sessions, participate in self-help groups, or receive educational support and vocational counseling. Outpatient treatment is a versatile, flexible alternative to inpatient treatment for teens who are motivated to stay sober.

When Is Outpatient Care Appropriate?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism points out that there are a number of advantages to outpatient care. Outpatient services give patients greater flexibility, allowing them to keep up with school, life responsibilities, jobs and social activities while they’re in recovery. Outpatient services are often more affordable than inpatient treatment or residential care, which require patients to pay for the costs of housing, meals and 24-hour staffing.

How do you know which level of rehab is right for your teen? Outpatient services may be appropriate if your teen meets these criteria:

  • He is still in the early stages of addiction.
  • He has just completed an inpatient program and is ready to step down to a more loosely structured treatment plan.
  • His withdrawal symptoms are mild and he doesn’t have a high risk of relapse.
  • He has a strong support system at home and is internally motivated to stay sober.

The decision to choose outpatient services over inpatient care should never be made without a complete physical and psychological evaluation. An addiction counselor or mental health professional can help you decide which level of treatment is right for your son at his stage of recovery.

Intensive Outpatient Programs

Outpatient services address a wide range of needs for teens in recovery. Intensive outpatient rehab programs are designed to help teens and their families recover from the effects of addiction without disrupting their daily lives. These programs typically require daily attendance at classes or meetings, where teenagers and their parents learn valuable recovery skills. An outpatient rehab program may last from four weeks to 90 days or more, depending on your teen’s needs. Outpatient rehab programs focus on these important components:

  • Identifying and modifying destructive behaviors
  • Learning new strategies for coping with triggers
  • The family’s role in recovery
  • Re-entering the community after treatment

As participants in an intensive outpatient treatment program, parents attend counseling sessions and support groups along with their teens. Counseling sessions and classes are led by licensed therapists, marriage and family counselors, social workers or psychologists who have specialized training in adolescent addiction and behavioral management.

Outpatient Aftercare Programs

Outpatient aftercare is crucial to the success of a drug rehabilitation program. Once your teen has graduated from rehab, he’ll continue to need support as he navigates the world of everyday stresses and temptations. Continuing care programs are offered on an outpatient basis to give teens a source of strength and motivation as they return to “real” life. An outpatient aftercare program may include:

  • Therapy sessions for alumni and their parents
  • Support groups for teens and family members
  • 12-step meetings for teenagers
  • Outings, community service projects and social events for young people
  • Relapse prevention classes
  • Life skills training

Recovering from any form of addiction won’t happen overnight. Outpatient continuing care programs provide a transition from intensive inpatient care to life in the community. With the support of therapists, counselors and coaches, family members can continue to evolve along with their teens. Outpatient services are a convenient, versatile way to stay on track with your recovery program after you’ve left the more sheltered environment of a residential addiction treatment center.

Finding an Addiction Treatment Program for Teens

When it comes to finding a rehab program for your teenager, you have a lot of options to choose from. Residential facilities, inpatient treatment centers and outpatient programs are available throughout the country. But finding an innovative, gender-specific program that offers individualized attention for your child may require a little more work.

At Muir Wood, we offer an exclusive addiction treatment program for boys ages 12 through 17. Our program focuses on helping boys launch successfully into adulthood by building confidence, self-sufficiency and self-esteem. For a confidential discussion of your teen’s needs, call our central number at any time. When you’re ready to reach out, we’re here to help.