Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

What to Expect at Teen Alcohol Rehab

For a lot of teens, the prospect of going to rehab is frightening or intimidating. They may think of an addiction treatment center as a place where they’ll be isolated from their families while they’re forced through detox and rehabilitation. They might visualize a rehab facility as a place where teenagers are held against their will. In fact, a teen alcohol rehab program can offer a much-needed change of scene for teenagers who are under a lot of pressure from families, teachers and peers.

While alcohol rehab is challenging and uncomfortable at times, it’s not a form of punishment.

Rehab offers the opportunity to heal from a potentially debilitating, life-threatening disease in surroundings that are both comfortable and inviting.

No one ever said that recovering from alcoholism was easy, but in a specialized treatment program for teens, getting through the recovery process can be safe, effective and rewarding.

The Stages of Alcohol Rehab

Like adults, teens who enter rehab for alcohol abuse must go through a detoxification period when they enter an addiction treatment facility. However, teen alcohol rehab is tailored to adolescents. When you go to a rehab center for teenagers, you can expect that all of the other clients will be your peers, and that the treatment you receive will focus on the needs of your age group.

Teenagers who have been drinking heavily can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms when they check into a rehab facility. The most important goal of detox is to keep you clinically stable while your system recovers from the effects of this drug.

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism lists some of the most common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Cold sweats
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Agitation

In severe cases, long-term drinkers who suddenly stop drinking will experience sudden fevers, dangerously high blood pressure and seizures.

At an alcohol rehab center, patients are monitored by medical staff to make sure that their withdrawal symptoms don’t become life-threatening.

Treatment strategies may include rehydration with fluids and nutrients, medication to manage the symptoms of withdrawal, and medication to help fight the craving for alcohol.

During the detox phase, your treatment team will start to prepare you for the next part of treatment. You may meet with counselors, therapists or peer support groups to talk about your experiences in detox and to discuss how you can continue the process of recovery.

Once you progress to the rehab stage, your schedule will include recovery services like these:

  • Individual, group and family counseling sessions
  • Educational programs for you and your parents
  • Class time to keep you on track with your school work
  • Experiential therapies that will help you build self-esteem

Alcoholism is a serious, chronic disease, and recovery won’t happen overnight. A residential treatment program for teens may last for 90 days or more.

During this time, you will live at the treatment center with other teenagers like yourself. You’ll have the opportunity to continue your education by attending classes through your rehab program, which should be taught by credentialed teachers.

As you go through rehab, your family should be involved every step of the way. Creating healthier, more stable families is one of the primary goals of any effective alcohol rehab program for teens. Your parents, siblings and other close relatives will have the opportunity to attend counseling sessions and group meetings with you and on their own. Education will be provided to help your family understand the nature and causes of your addiction to alcohol.

Rules and Expectations

Exclusive rehab centers for teens have high expectations of young clients who commit to sobriety. Teens who attend a rehab program are expected to work hard to find internal sources of motivation. Although they aren’t restrained or incarcerated in a rehab facility, they are expected to follow the center’s rules and respect the therapists, counselors, and social workers who are there to help them.

Each facility varies in its rules and guidelines, but some of the most common expectations include:

  • That teens will stay sober while they complete the program
  • That teenagers will attend counseling sessions and meetings as scheduled
  • That young students will keep up with their education by attending classes
  • That teens will complete assigned chores during their stay

Teens in alcohol rehab must follow a strict schedule, which starts early in the morning and ends in the evening. In addition to counseling and education, teens in rehab can develop in recovery through activities like adventure treks, martial arts, personal training, and team sports.

In a teenage rehab program, clients and their families are expected to participate in the center’s organized activities. Rules may seem severe to teenage boys who come from a lenient household, but most young clients find that they benefit from the structure and discipline. Muir Wood offers a comprehensive, individually tailored rehab program for teenage boys who are abusing drugs or alcohol. Through challenging outdoor activities in beautiful Sonoma and Marin Counties, our clients test their capabilities and learn how to reach their full potential.

Many parents and teens alike are afraid of what they’ll find behind the doors of an alcohol rehab facility. To find out more about what a teenage alcohol rehab program is really like, call our intake team to talk about what we have to offer.