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.
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.
abuse treatment is recommended, parents can obtain the information
they need by asking the following questions from professionals:
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?
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 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
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?
will our family be involved in our child's substance abuse
treatment -- including the decision for discharge and the
will treatment cost? Are the costs covered by my insurance
or health plan?
will my child continue education while in treatment?
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?
will the issue of confidentiality be handled during and
long will this phase of the treatment process continue?
Will we reach our insurance limit before treatment in this
phase is completed?
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?
my child's problem improves, does this program provide less
intensive/step-down treatment services?
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.
or doubts persist about either admission to a substance abuse
treatment program or about a denial of treatment, a second
opinion may be helpful.
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).
#41 Updated 09/00
Family Resources wishes to thank the (AACAP) for giving
us permission to use this article.
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.
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