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A short-term residential treatment program can give your teenage or young adult child the programming and structure he or she needs to overcome their addiction. Addiction is a chronic, progressive and powerful disease. Going beyond the abuse of substances, addiction is the result of biological, environmental and social factors that have developed over time.

If your daughter or son has a drug abuse or substance abuse issue, a drug addiction, or other mental illness, they need the help and support provided by a short-term residential treatment program.

Take a closer look at how these programs are uniquely designed to help individuals overcome addiction.

What Is a Short-Term Residential Program?

Short-term residential programs are intensive treatment programs that last between 28-30 days. Within that time, teenagers and young adults live at the treatment center and participate in a strict schedule of activities all centered around recovery.

Teens and young adults with addiction and substance use disorders will undergo medical detoxification under the supervision of well-trained detox staff. Young people will also undergo individual and group therapy sessions that will include a wide range of therapeutic techniques that may include:

  • Art therapy
  • Canine therapy
  • Equine-assisted psychotherapy
  • Wilderness therapy and more

Additionally, short-term residential programs offer alternative treatments, coping skills, family therapy, life-training skills and aftercare programs to follow the stay at the residential center.

What Are the Benefits of a Short-Term Residential Program?

When it comes to healing for addiction, time is one of the most important factors. Studies have shown that long-term residential treatment can increase the chances of getting and staying sober, but that is not always possible.

Here are some unique benefits of choosing a short-term residential program:

1. A great first step into recovery.

A short-term residential program is a great option for those teenagers or young adults entering treatment for the first time. A longer-term program may be overwhelming, but short-term programs can provide the framework for sobriety in a manageable timeline with hope and optimism. Many short-term programs encourage family therapy so the entire family can support each other in sobriety.

2. More budget-friendly than other therapy options.

Short-term residential programs are a more affordable option for those seeking addiction treatment. Longer-term treatment can run families thousands of dollars and can be more expensive for the underinsured or uninsured. Short-term programs are shorter in duration, and therefore, more affordable, while still giving a high level of intense care.

3. Time commitment.

Short-term residential treatment programs have a length of stay between 28-30 days. This is enough time to break the cycle of addiction in teens when longer-term inpatient treatment or outpatient care are not viable options. Teenagers or young adults in a short-term residential program go through detox and therapy, and develop an aftercare program, helping to build a solid foundation for a life of sobriety.

What to Expect in a Short-Term Residential Program

Making the decision to commit to a short-term residential program is a big step and many families may feel uncertain about the decision.

To help provide a sense of peace, here is what your teenage or young adult child can expect in a typical day at most short-term residential programs:

Mornings: Rise and Shine!

Teens in a short-term residential program should expect to wake up on a schedule and have a healthy breakfast. Some programs offer holistic therapies like meditation or yoga to start the day in a centered and relaxed state of mind. This helps build positive mental health habits that can last after treatment.

Following breakfast and any morning activities, there is usually a group therapy session that walks through the 12-step program of addiction and recovery. These meetings usually occur daily and can help teenagers realize patterns of behavior and triggers that lead to addictive behaviors.

Afternoons: Intensive Therapy

Afternoons in rehab are often the most intensive part of the day with a range of therapeutic modalities that may include individual behavioral therapy, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), more group therapy, or an alternative type of therapy like Theraplay. Sometimes, rehabilitation programs offer specialized classes like anger management, grief counseling or stress management.

Family support is crucial to long-term sobriety and so many programs offer family therapy. This gives teenagers and young adults a chance to explore how their addiction has affected their loved ones and gives family members the chance to express their anger, concern and love.

From there, most programs offer a couple of hours of free time. Your daughter or son can then take advantage of the program’s amenities that may include activities like basketball, soccer or swimming. Still, others may choose to spend the time alone, reading, meditating or journaling.


Following a nutritious dinner, there may be another group therapy session or support group walking through the 12-step program. The group therapy sessions develop community and fellowship in a private setting which can facilitate healing and support sobriety even after the program ends.

Embark Behavioral Health’s Short-Term Residential Programs

Embark Behavioral Health is proud to be a family of behavioral health programs that help teens and young adults overcome mental health and substance issues across the United States.

Our programs take a unique approach to teenage and young adult mental health, realizing that each individual has their own battle to fight, and therefore, each treatment method needs to be personal.

Using research-backed and outcomes-focused methods, we have a wide range of mental health services at the ready, helping teenagers and young adults overcome addiction through residential rehab.

Do you think your child would benefit from one of our short-term residential programs? Connect with our mental health team to learn more about our residential treatment centers and treatment options.

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