SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS: QUESTIONS TO ASK
Articles for Parents
All Family Resources
Alphabetical List
  1. Children and Divorce
  2. Teenagers with Eating Disorders
  3. Teens: Alcohol and Other Drugs
  4. The Depressed Child
  5. Child Abuse - The Hidden Bruises
  6. Children Who Can't Pay Attention
  7. Children Who Won't Go to School
  8. Children and Grief
  9. Child Sexual Abuse
  10. Teen Suicide
  11. The Child with Autism
  12. Children Who Steal
  13. Children and TV Violence
  14. Children and Family Moves
  15. The Adopted Child
  16. Children with Learning Disabilities
  17. Children of Alcoholics
  18. Bedwetting
  19. The Child with a Long-Term Illness
  20. Making Day Care a Good Experience
  21. Psychiatric Medication for Children and Adolescents Part I: How Medications Are Used
  22. Normality
  23. Mental Retardation
  24. Know When to Seek Help for Your Child
  25. Who can be contacted to seek Help for Your Child
  26. Know Your Health Insurance Benefits
  27. Stepfamily Problems
  28. Responding to Child Sexual Abuse
  29. Psychiatric Medication for Children and Adolescents Part II: Types of Medications
  30. Children and AIDS
  31. When Children Have Children
  32. 11 Questions to Ask Before Psychiatric Hospital Treatment of Children and Adolescents
  33. Conduct Disorders
  34. Children's Sleep Problems
  35. Tic Disorders
  36. Helping Children After a Disaster
  37. Children and Firearms
  38. Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depressive Illness) in Teens
  39. Children of Parents with Mental Illness
  40. The Influence of Music and Music Videos
  41. Substance Abuse Treatment for Children and Adolescents: Questions to Ask
  42. The Continuum of Care
  43. Discipline
  44. Children and Lying
  45. Lead Exposure
  46. Home Alone Children
  47. The Anxious Child
  48. Problems with Soiling and Bowel Control
  49. Schizophrenia in Children
  50. Panic Disorder in Children and Adolescents
  51. Psychiatric Medications for Children and Adolescents Part III: Questions to Ask
  52. Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation
  53. What is Psychotherapy For Children and Adolescents?
  54. Children and Watching TV
  55. Understanding Violent Behavior in Children & Adolescents
  56. Parenting: Preparing for Adolescence
  57. Normal Adolescent Development - Middle School and Early High School Years
  58. Normal Adolescent Development - Late High School Years and Beyond
  59. Children Online
  60. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Children and Adolescents
  61. Children and Sports
  62. Talking to Your Kids About Sex
  63. Gay And Lesbian Adolescents
  64. Foster Care
  65. Children's Threats: When are they serious? 
  66. Helping Teenagers with Stress
  67. Children and The News
  68. Tobacco and Kids
  69. Asperger's Disorder
  70. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  71. Multiracial Children
  72. Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  73. Self-Injury in Adolescents
  74. Advocating for Your Child
  75. Pets and Children
  76. Helping Your Teen Become a Safe Driver
  77. Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
  78. When a Pet Dies
  79. Obesity in Children and Teens
  80. Bullying #80
SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS: QUESTIONS TO ASK

Many children and adolescents use alcohol and other drugs. Some develop serious problems which require professional help to control. Such as inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, twelve step programs, and dual diagnosis units for individuals with emotional and substance abuse problems.

There are a variety of substance abuse treatment programs. The decision to get treatment for a child or adolescent is difficult, and parents are encouraged to seek consultation from a child and adolescent psychiatrist when making decisions about substance abuse treatment. Other psychiatric disorders often co-exist with substance abuse problems and need assessment and treatment.

When substance abuse treatment is recommended, parents can obtain the information they need by asking the following questions from professionals:

  1. Why do you believe this treatment in this program is indicated for my child? How does it compare to other programs or services which are available?
  2. What are the credentials and experience of the members of the treatment team, and will the team include a child and adolescent psychiatrist with knowledge and skills in substance abuse treatment?
  3. What treatment approaches does this program use regarding chemical dependency; detoxification; abstinence; individual, family, and group therapy; use of medications; a twelve-step program; mutual-help groups; relapse prevention; and a continuing recovery process?
  4. Based on your evaluation, does my child have other psychiatric problems in addition to the substance abuse problem? If so, will these be addressed in the treatment process?
  5. How will our family be involved in our child's substance abuse treatment -- including the decision for discharge and the after-care?
  6. What will treatment cost? Are the costs covered by my insurance or health plan?
  7. How will my child continue education while in treatment?
  8. If this treatment is provided in a hospital or residential program, is it approved by the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)? Is this substance abuse treatment program a separate unit accredited for youngsters of our child's age?
  9. How will the issue of confidentiality be handled during and after treatment?
  10. How long will this phase of the treatment process continue? Will we reach our insurance limit before treatment in this phase is completed?
  11. When my child is discharged from this phase of treatment, how will it be decided what types of ongoing treatment will be necessary, how often, and for how long?
  12. As my child's problem improves, does this program provide less intensive/step-down treatment services?

Severe substance abuse and chemical dependence in adolescence may be a chronic relapsing disorder. Parents should ask what treatment services are available for continued or future treatment.

If questions or doubts persist about either admission to a substance abuse treatment program or about a denial of treatment, a second opinion may be helpful.

For additional information see Facts for Families
#3 Teens: Alcohol and Other Drugs,
#26 Know Your Health Insurance Benefits, and
#42 The Continuum of Care.
See also: Your Child (1998 Harper Collins)/Your Adolescent (1999 Harper Collins).

Article #41 Updated 09/00

All Family Resources wishes to thank the (AACAP) for giving us permission to use this article.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) represents over 6,900 child and adolescent psychiatrists who are physicians with at least five years of additional training beyond medical school in general (adult) and child and adolescent psychiatry.

Facts for Families is developed and distributed by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). Facts sheets may be reproduced for personal or educational use without written permission, but cannot be included in material presented for sale. To order full sets of FFF, contact Public Information, 1.800.333.7636.  Free distribution of individual Facts sheets is a public service of the AACAP Special Friends of Children Fund. Please make a tax deductible contribution to the AACAP Special Friends of Children Fund and support this important public outreach. (AACAP, Special Friends of Children Fund, P.O. Box 96106, Washington, D.C. 20090).
   
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