Teen Substance Abuse

Teen substance abuse can impact any family. Some teens will experiment with alcohol and drugs, with about 10% of 10th graders experimenting with illicit drugs other than marijuana. Some of these teens will become addicted and recognizing the signs of teen substance abuse is important for parents. Fortunately, when it comes to teen substance abuse, there are several treatment modalities to consider. Effective addiction treatment commonly involves a personalized treatment plan for each client, as each teen may require a unique approach to recovery.

Common teen substance abuse treatments include:

Behavioral Approaches

Such treatment approaches involve targeting thoughts and beliefs and modifying them to assist with sobriety and recovery. A counselor may help the teen to learn better life skills, communication skills, and combat triggers. Examples of behavioral approaches include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA)
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
  • 12 Step Support Groups

Family-Based Approaches

A family-based approach for treating teen alcohol or teen drug abuse involves the whole family and may focus on more than just the teen. A therapist may also target family dynamics, communication issues, and sibling relationships. Examples of such teen substance abuse treatments include:

  • Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT)
  • Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)
  • Family Behavior Therapy (FBT)
  • Multisystemic Therapy (MST)


12 Step Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are common substance abuse treatments for teens with substance abuse issues. There are many cities that offer meetings that are open to the teen population. The face-to-face support of peers and older men and women seem to help teens get the support network that can be helpful for long-term teen alcohol abuse recovery.

Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

Teens struggling with substance abuse also have the opportunity to attend either an inpatient or outpatient treatment facility. An inpatient treatment center accommodates teens for a short period (usually around 30 days). An outpatient treatment center facilitates recovery by offering a certain number of treatment sessions per week for those who cannot attend a facility full time.

Teen substance abuse treatment modalities can certainly help teens break free from addiction. Additionally, there are various paths to recovery, as each person is unique. Determining what type of treatment necessary for your family will depend on various factors. But, whatever the needs are, there is help for teen alcohol and drug abuse.

Contact us today to learn about our services for children and teens. We offer psycho-educational testingindividual therapy and counseling and behavioral interventions.We support families with therapy and counseling in the following San Diego