Deciding to send your teen to a treatment center can be one of a parent’s most challenging choices. But there are situations when parents have no other options if they want to help their children and ultimately save their lives. Getting anyone, especially teenagers, to a rehab center can be challenging if they don’t believe they have a problem that warrants treatment. Many parents turn to the legal system to get their children admitted to a teen treatment center. But specific criteria need to be met for the court to do this. We will dive deeper into this issue and the process that needs to take place and let you know how the treatment programs at Ember Recovery can help.
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How to Get Your Teen into a Treatment Program
Legally, those 17 and younger can be put into a residential drug rehab without consent. Many states, including Iowa, allow parents to involuntarily force their children into a treatment program.1 Forcing a child into rehab is often the last resort for parents. Many try to encourage their children to decide for themselves to start a drug addiction treatment program.
Consider these steps if you are trying to get your teen help for addiction without getting the courts involved:
- Look for treatment options for them that they may find appealing. Outpatient Treatment may be a starting point.
- Having a plan to present detailed options may help persuade them to go.
- You can ask their doctor or a trusted medical professional to talk about addiction to them and how their drug or alcohol use is affecting everyone around them.
If you try these methods and others and still can’t get through to your teen, you may consider sending them to rehab involuntarily. If you go this route, you must get the courts involved.
How a Court Order is Determined to Send a Teen to Rehab
You can’t simply petition the court and ask the judge to send your child to rehab. Specific steps must be taken, and various criteria must be met in the process. 2 While some steps in the process may vary from state to state, most require similar measures to be completed. These include:
- The individual is posing a danger to themselves or others.
- Their addiction leaves them physically or mentally disabled.
- The person is incapacitated and cannot make decisions on their own.
- There are signs of neglect, and the individual can’t fulfill their basic needs.
- There is a total loss of control.
A licensed professional must assess your teen and certify in writing the recommendation that your teen needs residential treatment for their substance abuse disorder.
How Long Can You Involuntarily Commit Someone to Treatment?
The length of time your child will spend in a teen treatment center will vary. It can range anywhere from a few weeks to several months. 2 Their timeframe will depend on the severity of their addiction and the specific treatment program.
Family members can visit teens during their time in a teen treatment center. They are encouraged to give their child the support and love they need during this difficult time. Parents may also be asked to participate in family therapy programs to help their child resolve their issues. They will also receive guidance on how to help their child once their treatment program ends.
Can Involuntary Substance Abuse Treatment be Effective?
Many parents wonder if forcing their teen into treatment is the correct answer and if it’s effective. While it is ultimately a personal decision, the first few weeks your teen is in a treatment center will be difficult.
If your teen is experiencing withdrawal symptoms, they may have unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms as their body detoxes from the substances they were using. If there is concern over this, we will recommend medical care before beginning treatment in one of Ember Recovery’s inpatient teen treatment programs in Iowa.
How Effective is Involuntary Addiction Treatment for Teens?
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, involuntary treatment can be effective. 3 Research shows that at least three months of treatment is needed for people to stop using drugs or alcohol and have better long-term outcomes.
Once a teen finishes their program at an inpatient teen treatment center, recovery continues. There may be cravings and temptations that are always present. This is why teens need to learn coping mechanisms in their programs to help deal with these issues.
A child may feel like they were deceived if they are forced into rehab. The trust between the parent and child will need to be rebuilt. Family therapy can typically be an excellent resource for dealing with these issues.
How a Teen Treatment Center Can Help with Addiction
If you are looking for a teen treatment center, Ember Recovery is here to help. We offer a variety of programs to give teens the help they need to overcome their addictions. Our programs include a boys’ and girls’ residential program, detox referrals, and dual diagnosis treatments.
Our treatment programs focus entirely on addiction treatment for teens between 12 and 18. We help teens by teaching them coping, relationship-building skills, and relapse prevention strategies. We also know that care does not stop once teens complete their inpatient programs. After-care is necessary to maintain our teens’ progress in our programs. It may include a combination of outpatient therapy and individual and group counseling. We offer continuous support and resources so that your teen can continue to thrive.
Our team of experienced professionals has helped thousands of teens in Iowa overcome their addictions and get on the path to recovery. If you want to learn more about how our programs can help your teen, contact us online or call us. We commit to helping your teen battle and win the struggle with addiction.
Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4393016/  https://www.ncsc.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0028/18478/inv-comm-and-guard-laws-for-sud-final.pdf  https://nida.nih.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment
Andrea Dickerson is a Licensed Therapist and Certified Substance Use Counselor who has worked in behavioral health since 1997. Currently, Andrea is the Director of Behavioral Health, overseeing the Ember residential treatment programs and YSS outpatient counseling clinics throughout Central and North Central Iowa. She became a Motivational Interviewing (MI) trainer in 2006 and provides MI trainings throughout Iowa.
Andrea specializes in working with adolescents and their families and enjoys seeing the family relationships grow through therapy. Andrea is also a CARF International Surveyor, going around North America ensuring behavioral health organizations are meeting required standards.
In her free time, Andrea enjoys cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes and Chicago Cubs, as well as being an active member of Soroptimist International of the Americas (SIA), a global organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment. She has been a member of the SI of Des Moines club since 2012 and has been actively involved at the regional level, currently serving as Co-Governor of the Peaks to Plains Region.
Through her involvement in SIA, Andrea has been actively involved in the Dream Programs, coordinating annual Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls projects, which give girls the tools they need to achieve their education and career goals, empowering them to break cycles of poverty, violence, and abuse.