alternative schools

How Alternative Schools Have Revolutionized Teen Addiction Treatment

There are few things more frightening than learning that your child has a drug or alcohol problem. As a parent, you want your teenager to develop their independence, excel academically and stay safe – however, substance abuse is a threat to all of these goals. When you look for a solution, you may have found yourself looking over dozens of adult-only treatment facilities. Fortunately, there exists a path to treatment especially for young men and women during this vulnerable phase of life. Today, we will explore the various ways in which alternative schools have revolutionized teen addiction treatment.


Alternative Schools Prioritize Academics

Extended time away from the classroom can obviously have consequences, both academically and socially. Many people hesitate to enroll their teens into treatment programs because they worry about them missing school. They wonder whether their child will fall behind or even be held back a year.


The first programs for young people did not do a very good job of assuaging these fears. Traditionally, treatment programs focused on only one thing: sobriety.


As time passed, researchers and clinicians (like those at ARCH Academy) realized that it was important to include educational programming throughout a teenager’s time in care. This approach has generated real results with several benefits, including….

  • Maintaining one’s scholastic progress

  • Greater preparation for the SAT or ACT

  • Improved concentration and academic performance

  • Special education services and tutoring options

  • Access to AP coursework or GED testing

  • Self-study and distance learning opportunities

  • Assistance in writing resumes and college applications

  • Receiving credits to transition back into traditional schooling


They Create Structure and Accountability

Teenage boys in the throes of substance abuse lead chaotic lives. They may be truant, missing days or weeks of school at a time. They have also probably withdrawn from regular social events, sports or extracurricular commitments. (It’s worth noting that during COVID-19 and distance learning, these effects may be even more pronounced.) Therefore, in order to overcome the consequence-free day-to-day drudge, alternative schools have evolved to offer exceptional levels of structure and accountability.


When your child is enrolled in an alternative program, they will follow a predetermined schedule each day. Long-term residential care delicately balances schoolwork, physical activity, addiction education and free time. During their stay, they will be expected to follow the programming and obey the rules laid out by counselors and administrators. It is natural for them to test boundaries – however, at an alternative school, there is no risk of the staff caving in and enabling them. This creates an atmosphere of respect and a shared understanding of how to succeed in rehabilitation.


Alternative Schools Meet Teens Where They Are

Many teenagers face something called “The Boy Crisis.” As a result of toxic masculinity, teen boys find themselves emotionally stunted and unable to open up to others. They may feel alienated from adults and peers alike. It’s not uncommon for these repressed emotions and feelings of isolation to spiral into a substance use disorder. At alternative schools, these issues are addressed head on.


Alternative schools are gender-specific environments tailored to the needs of teens. Those needs aren’t just physical requirements like food and shelter; clinicians also meet a patient’s emotional needs by creating a space where young men feel supported, understood and safe. In this way, students are able to discuss the problems that affect young people – and themselves in particular. Counselors can work with teens on a one-on-one basis, undoing years of trauma and angst, all while creating an exciting plan for the future. By meeting these boys where they are, instead of forcing them to conform to a typical school environment, it is possible for us to empower them to improve their lives.


Seeking an Alternative School Program for Your Son?

If you’re worried about your teenage son and are looking for a sign,
this is it. ARCH Academy provides exceptionally effective, evidence-based addiction treatment for teen boys aged 14-18. With over 30 years of clinical expertise, our facility is designed for adolescent males. Our approach is rooted in breaking developmental research and time-tested therapies proven to make a difference.


Recovery looks different for teens than it does for adults. We meet your child where he’s at, and his treatment program will be designed specifically for his needs. Our team believes that you and your family deserve hope. Contact us today to take the first step.