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Rehab For Teenagers

Few things in life are as painful or frightening as watching a loved one spiral into addiction or substance abuse. When that loved one is your child, it is so much worse. In this awful situation, where acting quickly and decisively is so critically important, it’s best to get an addiction professional on your side to help you make the right decisions and provide the necessary care and treatment.

Gladstones Clinic has been helping teenagers recover from substance abuse, addiction, and other self-harming behaviours since 2012. We take a family-centred and clinically tested approach to helping teenagers take back control of their lives and helping families heal from the damage caused by addiction. If you or a teenage loved one require professional help in dealing with addiction, continue reading to learn more about addictive behaviour in teenagers, how the Gladstones Clinic teenage addiction rehabilitation program turns lives around, and how to get started on the journey of recovery.

Understanding teenage substance abuse and self-harm

Teenage substance abuse and self-harm can be difficult and sensitive topics to bring up and openly discuss. Teenagers engaging in this behaviour often feel shame or fear, making them less likely to be open about what is happening to them until their behaviour or addiction starts to have serious or even life-threatening consequences. Many parents might feel like their child’s addiction is their fault and that they’re squarely to blame, pushing them to look for quick fixes out of desperation and not wanting others to know of their failures.

The reality is that addiction, dependency, and self-harming behaviour of any kind and at any age are incredibly complex phenomena. Feelings of guilt, shame, fear, and many other negative emotional connotations we create in dealing with it only serve to delay getting teenagers the help they need in their time of crisis. If we as a society are ever to make definitive and measurable progress in reducing teenage addiction and substance abuse, we need a clear picture of the causes and an openness and willingness to talk about it freely. With this openness in place, we believe that more teenagers and parents will seek the help they need before their addiction causes crisis.

When it comes to the causes of addiction in teenagers, it is important to realise that it’s usually the result of a number of factors. As convenient as it would be, simply pointing the finger at a single factor in an individual case of teenage addiction would be a gross oversimplification and likely result in ineffective or short-lived treatment. That being said, an understanding of the causes and the ability to connect them to specific cases through experience and professional training can help addiction professionals identify why someone might become a victim of addiction and help develop effective and long-term strategies to deal with it.

Substance addiction and self-harming behaviour in adolescents are often –but definitely not always– the result of the interplay between a range of closely-interlinked factors, such as:

  • Peer pressure: The pressure to fit in with your friends is never as high as it is in your teenage years. This pressure to be accepted by others your age can cause otherwise healthy, sensible, and forward-thinking adolescents to take risks they normally wouldn’t. especially in social situations where substance use or risk-taking behaviour is normalised or encouraged.
  • Social media pressure: Social media often glamourises or normalises drug use in specific environments or social settings. It’s not uncommon to see drug-related insignia or design motifs related to events that teenagers would go to. While it’s easy to downplay the effect this has, over time it paints the picture that drug use is harmless or acceptable at certain types of events or environments. In other words, social media often misrepresents the potential risks and consequences of substance abuse.
  • Dysfunctional family dynamics: This broad term covers a range of destructive behaviours or environments that a teenager might be subjected to at home, from witnessing domestic violence, dealing with a parent who has addiction issues themselves, to feeling neglected by parents who are trying to make ends meet. These cases can be difficult to deal with, as they usually involve serious commitments from the parents to help create a more nurturing environment, and often incorporates family therapy into the teen’s treatment.
  • Academic failure or pressure: The pressures of performing well at school can easily drive a young person to experiment with drugs or alcohol to find some relief. This is especially prevalent in cases where they have undiagnosed or misunderstood learning disabilities. Students who consistently feel like their best academic efforts aren’t good enough might feel a loss of self-worth or like they’re a disappointment to themselves or their parents, leading to despair and self-destructive behaviour.

Again, it’s important not to simply pick the closest match as a reason for addiction. These factors and many others, like stress, trauma, undiagnosed depression, genetic predispositions, bullying, curiosity and more, are very closely interlinked, and it’s almost always a combination of them that turn a first-time user into someone who becomes dependent on substances to cope.

Gladstones Clinic teenage addiction treatment

During our adolescent years, our brains undergo dramatic chemical and hormonal changes just when we’re discovering and making sense of our roles in society. Successful addiction treatment in adolescents is dependent on understanding how this changing teenage brain chemistry works and applying effective treatment based on each case’s cause of addiction.

At Gladstones Clinic, we offer a range of treatment options specifically built around a neuroplasticity and biopsychosocial approach to understanding the causes of teenage addiction and relapse. Over the years, our approach has proven itself to be safe and effective, with a long-term success rate far beyond what you can expect from self-treatment options.

Pre-admission assessment

Upon arrival at Gladstones Clinic, our first priority is getting our patients through the detoxification process as easily and painlessly as possible. We perform an initial physical observation of vital signs, as well as a detailed blood and drug screening test. These test results help us prepare a detox strategy custom-suited to their exact requirements at that time. If a patient is in great physical or emotional distress, a specialist prescriber and trained therapist are on hand to provide immediate counselling or other relieve. We also have additional access to a GP and a consultant psychiatrist to assist with individual needs or intensities of psychiatric support.

After this initial process, our patients’ addiction levels and unique situations are assessed by a psychiatrist. This allows us to accurately define the causes and extent of their addictions, and develop effective and personalised treatment strategies, especially during one-on-one therapy. This assessment is absolutely critical for effective treatment, and we encourage everyone to be wary of any facility that ignores or rushes through this process to apply a one-size-fits-all approach.

Once these pre-admission assessments are done, our clients are taken to their rooms to settle into the facility and familiarise themselves with their new home for the next few weeks.


Detoxification is the process of purging drug or alcohol toxins from the body. This can be a painful process as the patients usually experience withdrawal symptoms in what is commonly referred to as ‘withdrawal’. These symptoms can range from mild discomfort and irritability to extreme physical pain and emotional- and mental distress. It can be a traumatic experience for anyone going through it, as well as the loved ones trying to help. At Gladstones our in-house specialist nurse prescriber may prescribe a pharmaceutical detox to ease these withdrawals in a safe and controlled environment to ease the discomfort and facilitate the detoxification process.


Once the body has gone through the detoxification process, healing in the form of therapy and counselling can begin. Teenagers and their families going through drug and addiction rehabilitation at Gladstones Clinic will have the chance to participate in a range of different therapies, each with their own set of goals and benefits.

Group Therapy

Commonly used to treat a range of addictive behaviours of all types and at all ages, group therapy is recognised as a valuable part of the recovery process. Patients openly and freely discuss the causes of their addictions and how it has affected them and their lives in an understanding and non-judgemental environment. People who undergo group therapy get a better understanding of addiction, learn that they’re not alone in their struggles, celebrate each other’s successes, and find long-term support in each other. Gladstones group therapy sessions are guided by trained professionals who keep the conversations flowing in a positive and constructive manner, ensuring that everyone leaves the session more equipped and motivated to beat their addictions.

One-on-one Therapy

One-on-one therapy with an addiction expert is another vital step on the road to recovery. In these sessions, teenagers are treated on a more personalised level. Depending on the case, we’ll cover topics such as setting recovery goals, learning about different coping mechanisms, discovering and discussing individual triggers, discussing relapse prevention strategies, or engage in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to identify and change negative thought patterns.

Family Therapy

In many cases, families with teenagers going through addiction therapy greatly benefit from guided family therapy. If you’re a parent of a teenager getting treatment, it’s critically important to note that dependency behaviour is incredibly complex and multifaceted, and even the most well-meaning and dedicated parents can greatly increase their understanding of teenage addiction at these sessions. Family therapy can help improve communication, repair relationships, and support the teen’s recovery.

Relapse Prevention

The fight against substance abuse is an ongoing battle. Months of hard work and good progress might be lost in a single moment of anxiety, fear, or pain. At Gladstones, we offer free life-long relapse prevention as an essential part of our aftercare process. Every Saturday, all previous clients are welcome to attend group therapy sessions whenever they feel vulnerable or at risk, and we host aftercare sessions every Tuesday evening for those who cannot attend in person.

Why choose Gladstones Clinic for something this important?

If your child is in a crisis of addiction, getting professional help is of the utmost importance. While there are a number of addiction centres advertising teenage drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, and even DIY solutions on the internet –we strongly advise against tackling something this complex and important on your own– Gladstone Clinic has the experienced staff, necessary facilities, and clinical knowledge needed to provide effective long-term rehabilitation solutions.

We are one of only a handful of facilities in the UK that is regulated and approved by the Care Quality Commission to work with and accept referrals for vulnerable groups like adolescents. We have over 15 years of experience helping patients of all ages and suffering from a wide range of addictive and self-harming behaviours recover, transform, and take back control of their lives, and, since 2012, our mental healthcare and addiction recovery experts have been working on and improving our teenage (specifically 16 to 18-year-olds) rehab program with great success, helping countless teenagers beat addiction across our many facilities.

Our expertise with teenagers also goes beyond just substance abuse. We have successfully helped teenagers with addiction in the battle against self-harm, gambling, eating disorders, and even internet and video game addiction.

Gladstones Clinic believes that mental health and addiction treatment should be available to all people, not just the wealthy. Many of our patients come from ordinary middle-class families. We’ll also gladly provide you with all the documentation needed to claim from private insurers if needed. Visit our rehab cost and finance page for more information.

You can learn more about our vision, core values, holistic approaches, how we incorporate family into the recovery process, and our amazing staff by viewing our ‘Why Gladstones’ page. Read through our testimonials page to see how we’ve helped people from all walks of life beat their addictions.

Getting started on the road to recovery

If you’re reading this as the parent of a child in need, we have no doubt that you want to get the ball rolling as fast as possible. We encourage you to contact us via our free phone number at 0808 258 2350, contact us by email at, or message us directly through our site.

If you’d like more information on our teen rehab program, including what to expect, our accommodation facilities, or what our therapy timetable looks like, feel free to download our Young Person’s Handbook.

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