Orange County Teen Intensive Outpatient

Teenage substance abuse is a major problem in America. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, by the time they are high school seniors:

  • 70% of teenagers will have tried alcohol
  • 50% will have tried an illegal drug
  • 20% will have used a prescription drug, non-medically
  • 5% of 16 and 17-year-olds self-report using an illicit drug within the last month.

Where does all of that “teenage experimentation” leave us?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration  reports that approximately 1.3 MILLION adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 – roughly 1 in 20 – meet the criteria for a diagnosable substance abuse disorder.

Furthermore, teenage substance abuse DOES lead to problems later in adulthood.

In fact, 74% of substance abuse treatment admissions ages 18-30 initiated substance use when they were 17 or younger. 1 out of every 10 admissions started using substances by the age of 11 or younger.

The best, most effective option for teenagers in crisis because of drug or alcohol abuse is to check into an accredited residential treatment center.

What is Residential Treatment?

Teensavers’ residential rehab for substance abuse disorders – also called inpatient treatment – is an intensive and immersive program of recovery that takes place in a therapeutic inpatient setting, here locally in Orange County. Teen clients are monitored 24/7 for the duration of their stay while they overcome addictions to alcohol and/or drugs.

There are two defining characteristics of residential drug/alcohol treatment at the Teensavers facility.

First… Structure.

Residential rehab steers teenaged clients away from a chaotic, addiction-driven lifestyle. While their still-developing brains slowly return to normal with prolonged abstinence, their daily schedule is filled with positive and productive activities that support their continued recovery.

  • Early wake-up
  • Nutritious meals
  • Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Peer group therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • 12-Step fellowship meetings
  • Personal reflection time
  • Medications
  • Recreational activities

One look at this daily itinerary highlights the SECOND defining characteristic of Teensavers’ residential rehab program for teens – addiction prevention and recovery.

Every activity ties into addressing their problematic substance abuse and preventing addictions – education about their disease, how to healthily process difficult emotions and experiences, and practical strategies on how to change their life for the better.

Who Should Go to Residential Treatment?

Inpatient/residential rehab is for those teenagers struggling with a moderate-to-severe substance abuse problem – alcoholism, illicit drug use, or the misuse of prescription medications. The level of care in Teensavers’ residential treatment facility is consistently higher because the addiction has grown to the point where around-the-clock care is warranted.

If your child has been diagnosed with a co-occurring mental disorder, residential rehab is the best place for them to get focused and individualized treatment for BOTH conditions.

Inpatient drug rehab is also highly recommended if the teenager has been unsuccessful in their efforts to get clean and sober in the past – unable to quit on their own, previous stints in rehab, etc.

What Are the Benefits of Residential Treatment?

Residential rehab at Teensavers has several distinct advantages over outpatient treatment programs:

  • Evaluation by both a medical doctor and a board-certified psychologist.
  • Treatment is evidence-based.
  • The 3 “S’s” – A Safe, Sober, and Stable environment
  • Positive staff support allows substance-abusing teens to regain and maintain sobriety.
  • Living in a substance-free environment with constant supervision greatly reduces the risk of relapse.
  • Medical/psychiatric monitoring during detox, withdrawal, and early recovery.
  • Integrative services are provided under a cooperative treatment umbrella shared by providers.
  • The addictive disorder is treated simultaneously with any co-occurring mental condition, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.
  • Accepted “total wellness” holistic therapies such as exercise, meditation, yoga, and nutrition are provided.
  • Intensive individual, peer group, and family therapy sessions.
  • Limited exposure to stresses and triggers. At Teensavers, the total focus is on substance-free recovery.
  • Practical life and coping skills to aid in successful recovery and relapse prevention.
  • After “graduation” from residential rehab, long-term aftercare services are strongly recommended.
  • A much greater likelihood of lasting recovery is realized when treatment is longer and more intense.


This last benefit – length of treatment – is one of the most measurable factors that play a role in successful teen addiction recovery. The Los Angeles Times published an article reporting that participating in some form of drug or alcohol recovery for less than 90 days increases the risk of relapse.

  • A National Institute on Drug Abuse study revealed that cocaine abusers who stay in treatment for fewer than 90 days relapse at a rate that is more than double that of those who remain in treatment – 35% versus 17%.
  • The NIDA’s DATOS project – Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Studies – uncovered that substance abusers who quit treatment before 90 days have a relapse rate similar to individuals who drop out after only a day or two.
  • In 2001 study by UCLA researchers concluded that teenagers who stay in drug treatment for 90 days or longer have significantly lower relapse rates than those attend 21-day programs.

Is Residential Rehab for Teens REALLY Necessary?

Many parents hesitate to send their addicted teenager to inpatient rehab – partly out of fear of embarrassment, but mostly because they underestimate the seriousness of the problem.

After all, they may have experimented with drugs and alcohol when they were younger. They may STILL drink or smoke legal marijuana recreationally. So, what’s the big deal?

But teenage substance use today is nothing like it was in generations past. Young people now must face hazards that were unthought of when their parents “experimented”:

  • Incredibly potent strains of marijuana – on average, today’s marijuana has 5 times the amount of THC than the pot of 20 years ago, and marijuana “wax” is almost 25 times stronger.
  • Synthetic “designer” drugs such as Spice, K2, bath salts, Ecstasy, Flakka, Krokodil, 2C-E, etc.
  • Deadly prescription medications – powerful opioid painkillers, benzodiazepine tranquilizers, and ADHD stimulants

Teenage substance abuse is not the same as it is among adults. Because the adolescent brain continues to develop into the early 20s, substance use can have profound and long-lasting effects, such as:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Psychosis
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loss of IQ points
  • Memory problems
  • Violence
  • Increased risk of suicide

As a parent, the best thing you can do to protect your child from the worst consequences of underage substance abuse is get them specialized professional help that addresses their unique needs as a teenager.

If your family needs help because of your teenager’s alcohol or drug use, and you have questions about what you can do, contact Teensavers today.