Clinical residential treatment centers are often attached to hospitals, like the famous Betty Ford Clinic and the Sundown M Ranch. These facilities look a lot like a nursing home and have round the clock medical staff that monitors each patient’s weight and diet daily, in addition to tracking their vital signs several times a day in order to detect any relapses or harmful medical affects of detoxification. Be wary of these programs, and always ask to see your child’s records. The Positive Action Center in Tustin, California was under investigation for keeping even non-addicted children under care, saying that they were just “in denial” and not releasing them until their insurance money had run out. These treatment centers offer regular visits with counselors and psychiatrists and are sometimes known to replace the street drugs with pharmaceutical drugs like ritalin when they can diagnose a disorder.
Military boot camps and religious treatment centers have another approach. Military school use a strict and, some feel, oppressive form of behavior management that involves controlling every aspect of their day. These schools put up with no nonsense and are designed to toughen up a teen, in preparation for the adult world. Religious schools believe that all the answers to every trouble lie within the Bible and that the teen isn’t really to blame for troubles, that the devil has taken control of their soul and that in order to recover, they must accept Jesus into their hearts and be saved. These programs might be right for some families, and some teens. The long term benefits of these programs, however, have not been proven.
Behavioral therapists working around the clock at treatment centers that look more like boarding schools have proven to be very successful in the long term. Because they offer a communal living environment that’s focused on a lifetime of success for everyone, they end up being very supportive and personalized. Many, like the Turning Winds school in Montana, offer round the clock therapists help teens manage a behavior modification plan that gets to the root of their self-destructive behavior, improving the teen’s self esteem and making them want to be their best. Finally, a transition program that helps reunite the family and offer long term support to every member of the home ensures that the treatment plans developed at school are followed and evolve as necessary.
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