Why Choose Residential Treatment for your Teenager

November 19, 2019

Are you the parent of a teenager with significant mental health issues? Perhaps your teen has multiple diagnoses, takes medication, sees providers regularly, and is still struggling. We want you to know you’re not alone and it is okay.

It might not seem like it now. You might be racking your brain to determine where to go from here. You are afraid for your child’s safety and the wellbeing of your family. That is completely understandable. You love your teenager and you want the very best for your teenager. You worry that your teenager will never find recovery, never finish school, and never grow to be a successful member of society. You likely feel as though you have done everything that you can do for your teenager and it still isn’t working. The answer might be residential treatment.

It’s not true that what you’re doing isn’t working. It just may be true that your teenager needs more than you are able to offer them. I know this can seem painful and be frustrating but sometimes our teenagers need more than the skills and availability than we have. This is why residential treatment can be an incredible answer. We aren’t always available and trained the same way that these providers are. Have you considered residential treatment for your teen? It could be a great solution to their ongoing struggles and your ongoing fears.

Now, that might be the scariest answer you have received yet because it involves your teenager leaving the home for a period of time. But, if it could help create normalcy, set some boundaries and limits with your teenager, and help them get the help that they so desperately need, then is it really that scary? Or, perhaps the better question is: is it worth the fear? What is scarier is what will happen if your teen doesn’t get that support that they so desperately need.

There will always be reasons to say no to treatment. You will think it isn’t the right time. It’s too much money. What if it doesn’t work? The reasons go on and on.

I want you to know the reasons to say yes to residential treatment for your child. This could help you make informed and appropriate decisions for your teenager. This could also impact the rest of their life and help them on the path to doing better than they are now.

You aren’t a professional

If your teenager has been struggling with mental health and behavioral issues – like many other teens do -, you might feel as though you’re a professional by now because you’ve seen it all, but the truth is that you just aren’t a professional. You are not a trained professional with an objective lens to see your teen through. And, even if you are a trained professional, such as a counselor or social worker, you cannot have that professional self with your child. It simply is almost impossible because you love your child and are invested in them and their wellbeing so much. It also, by the way, happens to be unethical.

What your child needs is trained professionals who are always available to them who can provide that objective work. A residential treatment facility will offer them this. The facility will have psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, counselors, nurses, and other trained professionals on staff. They will likely be staffed on a one-to-one basis with therapy technicians as well to ensure your child’s health and safety. This depends on the facility, but that is a common practice.

Trained professionals will be able to develop, implement, and evaluate practices on a consistent basis in a way that you likely cannot do in the home. This kind of intensive treatment can help jump-start the recovery process and that is what your child needs if their behavior is out of control to the point that they are unable to function in school and at home. If they are struggling with such severe mental illness as well, residential treatment is a great option. It can help them overcome depression, anxiety, and other struggles.

Residential Treatment makes therapy available during crises

If you are considering residential treatment for your child, it is likely because their mental health and behavior are significant, and you may be worried about their wellness. The staff are on-site 24/7 and are trained to manage a crisis. If your child goes into crisis, they can provide crisis intervention support to ensure your teen’s health and safety needs are met. They likely have several different ways to navigate the crisis with your teenager in a therapeutic way than you would do at home.

Often, we are so busy at home we may not understand the depth of the teenager’s unwellness. If your teenager is at risk for self-harm or harming others, residential treatment is a good option because of the crisis supports available. This includes medical professionals who could provide support in the event your teenager does attempt to harm themselves or someone else.

Healthy activities

Residential treatment options offer extensive daily activities. These include inpatient activities and outings for the teenager. Activities and games are times for establishing peer-to-peer behaviors. This is often a time to notice if your teenager is engaging in appropriate and healthy behavior with others and a time when therapists provide teaching and training so that your teen learns better skills.

At home, you may not be able to guarantee that the activities your teen is engaging in are healthy. For example, video gaming can be very unhealthy when teenagers are doing it online with their friends. Television and music can be very unhealthy as well. Residential treatment will limit the content of games and activities to be more age-appropriate for your teenager.

Daily therapy

If your child is in a residential treatment center, they will likely have group therapy, daily therapy, or another form of therapy every day. Access to such high-intensity support systems will see them starting to improve quicker than if they saw a therapist once per week. In residential treatment facilities, group programs are running often all day, depending on the size of the facility. Groups could focus on learning behavioral regulation skills, learning relationship skills, managing depression and anxiety, and any other needs a teenager may have.

Programs that are highly skill-based will leave your teen with incredible emotional regulation skills when they exit. Instead of throwing fits and yelling or screaming, your child may discharge choosing to meditate, journal, and practice deep-breathing. You may be envious of the skills that they have upon leaving.

Family therapy

Great residential treatment programs will engage you and your family in the process. Your teenager isn’t the only person who will need to be engaged in treatment. Families and friends need to learn how to appropriately interact with the teenager who is considered “troubled” just as much as the teen will. You will likely need to attend multiple family sessions and stay in consistent contact with the facility about the progress your teen is making.

You may need to be honest about some of the mistakes that you made as a parent that impacted your children. Nobody expects you to admit failure. You never failed your child, but you aren’t 100% perfect. Nobody is. Your child likely has some feelings about your parenting style. Your vulnerability and willingness to lean in with them will show them how much you can and ultimately help them on the path to recovery. It also shows them that if you’re willing, they should be willing as well.

Substance use treatment

If your teenager has been using drugs or alcohol, a residential treatment facility could provide support. The treatment facility will ensure your child safely detoxes from whatever substance they are using. They will be required to be drug and alcohol-free during their stay and likely must provide urine samples to ensure their sobriety. They will have access to substance use treatment as well as develop plans to ensure their ongoing sobriety after discharge. This is one of the great benefits of residential treatment: simply time away from drugs, alcohol, and the people that they got them from.

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Schooling will stay intact

Another reason to send your child to a residential treatment facility is because they will not lose out on their education. There will be teachers on-site or they will coordinate to get your child to school or have their schoolwork sent to the facility. However, they choose to do so, your child will still have access to their high-quality education. Mental health support systems shouldn’t stop that.

It will give you a break

If you have been struggling greatly with your teen, it could be that you both need a break away from each other. Your teen may just need to be away from you to learn the skills. You may just need a break to breathe and get a grip on the realization that the way you thought parenting would go to be ready for the way that it is.

Regardless of the reasons that you need a break, and there is likely many, admitting them to a residential treatment facility will offer you the break that you need. You will still be engaged in therapy and you should attend your own, but someone else will manage the crisis moments and the yelling, screaming, crying, or other behaviors that have been difficult for you.

This will give you time to recuperate so that when they come home you are the very best version you can be for them. Your child deserves this. You also deserve a break. It is okay to need a break and it is okay to take a break. Just make sure that you have done personal work to feel better and ready for them upon their return.

Ultimately, there are many reasons your child may need to enter residential treatment services. They may have crippling depression that you cannot save them from. In this case, they need intensive mental health services. They may have behavioral concerns that put you or your other children at risk. In that case, they may need intensive behavioral support.

The professionals in the residential treatment center will assess your child to determine what needs they have. They will set your child up with the appropriate programs to ensure their success. They will make sure your child is safely residing and engaging in age-appropriate and interactive activities. They will continue to learn and thrive. They will always have mental health and medical professionals on-site to ensure their health and safety.

Residential treatment may be the answer to keep your child not only alive but doing very well. If you have never dream that your child could do well and you have always feared what will happen when they graduate into adulthood, now may be the time to get them into these supportive systems.

If your teenager might benefit from residential treatment, know that you have options for treatment. Hillcrest is here and our dedicated staff knows how hard it can be to heal from mental health issues and addiction. Reach out today to find out how we can help!