Teen Addiction and Rehab Programs in Las Vegas, Nevada

Teenagers who struggle with addiction may find themselves facing unique challenges. The brain isn’t fully developed until early adulthood, leaving teens and young adults more vulnerable to chemical and behavioral changes caused by substance abuse.1 In particular, evidence suggests that teens who abuse substances may be at increased risk for developing substance use disorders. In fact, drug use at an early age is a strong predictor for developing a substance use disorder later in life.1 Those with the highest risk are those who began using substances in their early teen years.1 Due to these unique circumstances, many teens may benefit from seeking rehab programs specialized for youths.1 Understanding the nuances of teen substance abuse, what treatment programs specialized for teens offer, and how to find these programs at rehab facilities in Las Vegas, Nevada can help you start your journey to recovery.

Teen Substance Use

There are many reasons why teens and young adults may seek to abuse substances. Teens may begin to use alcohol or drugs as a way to:1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Why Many Teens Don’t Seek Treatment

While many teens struggle with substance use, many do not receive rehab treatment. Of the 1.6 million Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 who needed substance use treatment in 2020, about 7.6% (120,000 people) actually received treatment.6 The largest proportion of teens receiving treatment are referred to by the juvenile justice system.1

Since young people typically haven’t been using substances as heavily or for as long as adults, they may not experience as many negative consequences.1 Young people may also not be able to objectively view their behaviors as problematic or see the substances they use as “harmless,” further reducing their motivation to attend treatment.1, 2

Secrecy and denial about substance abuse are common reactions in adolescents and young adults, and they may refuse to acknowledge any use of substances when approached about attending treatment.1, 7 Their parents or guardians may be the ones who initially seek treatment for them, although it can be difficult to find treatment facilities that specialize in treating teenagers.7, 8 It can be especially difficult to motivate young people to attend rehab centers for teens with restrictive policies, such as those limiting smoking or family visits.8

Signs of Addiction in Teens

Addiction may present itself differently in teenagers and young adults than in their older counterparts. Warning signs of teen substance abuse may be mistaken for behavioral changes associated with adolescence.1, 9 It’s important to understand both the signs of addiction, and the signs of addiction in teenagers.

According to the DSM-5, the signs of addiction may include multiple of the eleven criteria:12

  • Using a substance in greater quantities or for longer than intended.
  • An inability to reduce one’s usage of substance.
  • Spending a lot of time engaging in activities involving a given substance.
  • Cravings.
  • An inability to fulfill obligations at work, home, or school due to substance use.
  • Continued substance use despite it affecting one’s family or personal relationships.
  • Giving up enjoyable social, recreational, or occupational activities.
  • Putting oneself in recurrent danger because of substance use.
  • Continued substance use despite it contributing to a known physical or psychological problem.
  • Tolerance.
  • Withdrawal upon the cessation of substance use.

Signs of addiction in teens may include:4, 9

  • A change in peer group.
  • Academic problems, like low grades, poor attendance, or getting in trouble at school.
  • Missing classes or skipping school.
  • A decline in relationships with one’s family.
  • A loss of interest in activities, sports, or other hobbies once found to be enjoyable.
  • Mood swings.

Specialized Teen Rehab Programs in Las Vegas, Nevada

Teenagers who are struggling with substance use may benefit from a specialized program that addresses their unique treatment needs.1, 5 Since teenagers have different life experiences and behavior patterns than adults, a treatment approach that recognizes this is different than treatment aimed at their adult counterparts.1 This allows teen drug and alcohol addiction treatment facilities to take into account how teenage brains work, and may provide more effective treatment for this age group.1, 5 Teen rehab facilities often focus on: 1

  • Family therapy
  • Peer support.
  • Mental health screenings.
  • Increasing motivation.
  • Developing healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Relapse prevention.
  • School, family, and legal support.

There are different levels of care available, depending on the teenager’s needs. Inpatient or residential care may be ideal for teenagers who have severe substance use disorder, co-occurring mental or physical health issues, or chaotic or unsupportive home environments.1 Outpatient facilities can vary in intensity, with partial hospitalization programs offering more structured treatment for teenagers who have severe substance use issues but can safely live at home, while standard or intensive outpatient is more suited for teenagers with less severe substance use issues, well managed or no mental health disorders, and a stable home environment.1

Therapies in Teen Rehab Program

Alcohol and drug rehabs rely heavily on behavioral therapy to create the changes needed to maintain sobriety and address any other issues that contribute to substance use.1, 5 Rehab programs for teens use similar therapies often incorporating family-based interventions as well.5 In a teen rehab program, these techniques are designed to address not only how substance use affects the teenager, but also the people around them and other aspects of their life.1 Commonly used therapeutic techniques in teen substance abuse programs include:1, 5, 11

How to Find Teen Rehab Centers in Las Vegas, Nevada

If you’re a teen struggling with substance abuse in the state of Nevada, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Of the 106 rehab facilities in the state of Nevada, 32 (about 30%) provide specialized treatment for adolescents.10 To start your search for a rehab facility, you should reach out to a family practitioner, medical professional, or an adult who you trust. They’ll be able to work with you to determine your treatment needs and perhaps even refer you to a program that specialized in treating teens and young adults who have a substance use disorder.

Another good resource for finding rehab in the Las Vegas area and the state of Nevada would be the SAMHSA treatment locator. You’ll be able to filter based on state, and can search for specialty teen programs in Nevada. Additionally, you may benefit from contacting an addiction helpline. American Addiction Centers operates a 24/7 helpline that can answer questions you have about the rehab process, and may be able to refer you to facilities that can meet your treatment needs.

American Addiction Centers also operates Desert Hope, a rehab center in the heart of Las Vegas.