Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Graduating High School After Treatment

A young man standing with his hands a red binderA battle with addiction can put a teenager’s entire life on hold — including his education. One of the first signs of substance abuse in adolescents is a decline in academic performance. Teens who use drugs often skip class, neglect their homework and lose interest in sober extracurricular activities. As a result, their grades often suffer, and even good students can end up dropping out of school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 7.4 percent of young Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 did not have a high school diploma and were not enrolled in any academic program. Drug and alcohol use is one of the biggest contributing factors in a teenager’s loss of interest in pursuing a quality education. If your son has suddenly abandoned his schoolwork and given up on his favorite hobbies, sports or school events, he may have difficulty graduating. In a residential recovery program for teens, your teen can regain his source of motivation and complete his high school education.

How Treatment Affects School

Addiction interferes with a teen’s education on a number of levels. Teenage boys are extremely sensitive to peer pressure, and many of them make destructive decisions based on the actions of their friends. Many teens start using drugs in junior high or high school, where they are introduced to substance abuse by their friends. After addiction treatment, one of the biggest challenges that teens face is confronting their peers at school.

But sending a teen to rehab can also pose problems. A lot of parents have the following worries about seeking addiction treatment for their teens:

  • That their teens will fall behind in their coursework because of the time and effort they devoted to rehab
  • That the rehab facility won’t be staffed by credentialed teachers or have a state-approved curriculum
  • That their son will miss out on academic testing, college preparation or vocational counseling if he goes to rehab
  • That their teen may never graduate or may be held back if he doesn’t finish school on schedule
  • That their son will be isolated from his friends and won’t have the opportunity to develop socially

In fact, the education your son gets in rehab may be more effective than the education he was receiving in traditional school. In a structured, drug-free atmosphere, he can concentrate on his courses without the pressures or distractions of his former life.

Continuing Education in Rehab

Gong to rehab doesn’t mean that your teen has to drop out of school for 90 days or more while he starts the process of recovery. The top residential treatment programs for teens utilize credentialed teachers, and teens are required to spend several hours of each day in class. By keeping up with their coursework in a supportive, sober environment, teens can stay focused on their graduation goals. High school students may also benefit from education in rehab in the following ways:

  • With smaller class sizes, they may get more individualized attention, a feature that may be especially beneficial to teens with behavioral disorders or learning disabilities.
  • In addition to going to class, teens will continue to receive support from counselors and therapists.
  • Peer group meetings with other sober teens can reinforce an adolescent’s desire to finish school.
  • The experiential therapies in drug rehab teach teens to value themselves and to respect others.

The Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery cites a study that indicates that teens who graduate from high school had an 8 percent lower rate of substance abuse than teens who dropped out. This statistic indicates that education may help teens maintain their abstinence after they graduate from rehab. Continuing on to college or to a rewarding vocation gives teenagers a sense of self-respect and accomplishment.

At Muir Wood, we are aware of the importance of that high school diploma or GED. A diploma is your son’s key to future success in secondary education or in a professional pursuit. Our residential rehab program requires that our young clients spend at least three hours a day in class, five days a week. We are staffed by teachers who are credentialed by the state of California, so your son can receive a quality education while he goes through rehab. Most importantly, we are uniquely equipped to help your son develop a strong character and fulfill his potential as he enters adulthood.

Call Muir Wood today to learn more about how we can help you and your son create a bright, rewarding future.