Addiction Treatment for Teens & Young Adults

Drug and Alcohol Addiction Rehab for Teens and Young Adults

One thing about drug or alcohol addiction is that it affects people of all ethnicities, socio-economic statuses, genders, sexual orientations, and ages. As ubiquitous as substance use disorder (SUD) is, many people in need of rehabilitation do not get it. In fact, only a small portion of the people classified as needing treatment actually receive it.

Unfortunately, this problem is exacerbated by many myths and the normalization of certain behavior. For one, people often believe that young people struggling with substance use are just being rebellious; that they’ll grow out of it or just need some discipline. While certainly not every teen or young adult that misuses substances suffers from SUD, the problem is more prevalent than one might think: According to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), around 3,083,000 Americans between the ages of 16 and 25 were classified as needing drug or alcohol treatment in 2019.

Many people that struggle with addiction used drugs or alcohol at a young age, meaning compulsive patterns of misuse can start very early.

SUD is a very dangerous and devastating condition. Fortunately, it is treatable.

Types of Addiction Treatment for Teens & Young Adults

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for addiction, there are evidence-based approaches that have been proven effective in treating SUD, some of which are especially successful components of drug rehab for teens.

When people think of addiction treatment, they often picture detox. In reality, detox is only one facet of treatment. Medical detox is a necessary first step for many people because it allows them to safely withdraw from substances under the supervision of professionals. During detox, medical staff is able to respond to potential emergencies and administer medication to ease symptoms and cravings if necessary.

Detox on its own, however, does little to help someone achieve long-term sobriety. To find success in recovery, people often need to retrain many of their harmful thought and behavioral processes, become motivated and empowered to stay sober, learn how to form a positive support network, and more. This process usually begins through therapy in rehabilitation treatment. Rehabilitation treatment can be provided in a variety of settings, depending on the patient’s unique needs.

There are several evidence-based methods that are especially successful and crucial components of drug rehab for teens:

  • Multisystemic Therapy, which addresses the factors that influence antisocial behaviors often associated with substance use, such as family issues, apathy toward school, peer pressure, etc.
  • Multidimensional Family Therapy, which is predominantly provided in outpatient settings, views drug misuse as the result of many converging influences. These therapy sessions often involve family members and encourage both teens and their family members to communicate and better support one another.
  • Brief Strategic Family Therapy. This method involves counselors identifying problematic patterns in family interaction that influence the teen’s behavior and working to correct them.

Drug rehab for young adults or any other demographic often involves other evidence-based approaches, such as:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
  • Motivational interviewing (MI).
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
  • Family behavior therapy.
  • Contingency management.
  • 12-step facilitation therapy.

Aftercare Programs for Adolescents

Following outpatient or inpatient rehab, many people benefit from aftercare (such as attending peer-support meetings), which allow them to form connections with other sober individuals and maintain a positive social network.

If you believe you or a loved one is struggling with SUD, please reach out to an admissions navigator at to learn more about:

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.

A New Life Awaits
Start your recovery at our spa-like facility in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Holistic therapies, chef-prepared meals, and LGBTQ+ support are among the many features of our premier drug and alcohol treatment program.