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There is concern In the United States over the number of unregulated treatment centres for troubled young people after reports of abuse and neglect.

Residential treatment

Private residential treatment programmes are an option for young people to help with problems such as drug and alcohol addiction. They also offer services such as confidence building, psychological counselling and services to treat behavioural and emotional problems coupled with military-style discipline. These programs are intended to provide a less-restrictive alternative to incarceration or hospitalization, or an intervention for a troubled young person.

If you have a child and have ran out of ways to try and intervene with a problem, this sort of treatment programme might for many parents seem like a viable option. A private residential treatment programme often goes by a variety of other names such as: therapeutic boarding schools, behaviour modification facilities or emotional growth academies.

There is no specific format to these types of alcohol rehab programmes and there are a variety of different terms used to describe similar forms of treatment. The programmes are not regulated by the federal government and are not subject to state licencing or monitoring as either mental health or educational facilities.

Neglect and Abuse

A 2007 report to Congress found cases involving serious abuse and neglect at some of these programmes. Many of these advertise themselves on the Internet and other media boasting their great treatment and wonderful staff but simply this isn’t always the case. The Government’s Federal Trade Commission warns parents to do thorough checks of facilities before considering them an option for treating a young person.

Thing’s to consider before deciding on a programme:

  • Is it LicensedIf it isn’t licensed then there is a strong indication that the programme may not be what it seems. Be sceptical. Take a lack of licence as a warning and be sure to research other options before deciding.If it is licenced then still research what it is licenced for and access all public information including on complaints against services.
  • Check it out online:  Look at the facility in detail and examine what the treatment involves including academic curriculum, living conditions and staff history. Any information from websites or discussion boards may prove useful in making your decision. Try to find sources other than the programmes website to find information.Even social media outlets such as twitter may provide insight from former patients or staff that can help you make a decision on whether a programme is right for you or your child, or not. Collect as much information as you can.
  • Ask Questions: Don’t be intimidated or afraid. Your child’s health and safety is paramount. You should ask to see proof of any endorsements, accreditation or licences that the programme claims to have. If you are going to have your child treated at a residence then you need to be sure that it is the right option.Ask about living arrangements, schedules and courses of treatment. Be clear about what the day-to-day experience is for people and if possible try to read comments or feedback from people who have experienced the programme.
  • Visit the site: Research can be useful in forming your decision but nothing can help you more than visiting the site and seeing it for yourself. Look around and get a feel for a location. Try to see as much as possible and observe treatment, living conditions and as many facilities as possible
  • Get policies and promises in writing: No one likes false promises and it’s even worse if it involves the health of a loved one. If there are guarantees or promises being made to you about treatment be adamant that you receive it in writing. As well as providing clarity it also provides you with legal backup should any part of the treatment not meet your expectations or promises.

If you or a family member are thinking of enrolling in a private residential programme Addiction Helper can assist you in making the decision. For free advise, 24 hours a day, call 0800 140 4823.

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