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What is a Residential Treatment Center for Troubled Teens?

Our children are our pride and joy. When they are first born, that instant connection is what turns us into the parents they deserve. From day one, we love them whole-heartedly. They are our world and in need of our attention, no matter the age.

As our children age and start the process of growing into adults, it is still our responsibility to ensure their protection, whether from others or themselves. The teen years can be some of the most difficult for your child and yourself. They are entering high school, going through bodily changes, meeting new people, and finding their place within society.

There is a lot that happens between the ages of 12-17, so it’s important to continue to have that connection with your teen. They will look to you for guidance, leadership, explanations, and answers to questions that might be uncomfortable to answer. How you handle these situations will direct your teenager on their path to adulthood.

Unfortunately, your teenager might not handle these important years as best they could. In the world we live in today, where the internet is at your child’s fingertips from a young age, there is a lot of social anxiety to fit in, look a certain way, or act like others. These types of modern-day social expectations that your child considers important could lead them down dark paths.

Keeping track of their behaviors and interactions will be imperative so they don’t walk astray. Luckily, if they are starting down that wrong path, there is a way to help them with compassion and understanding.

What is a Residential Treatment Center?

Residential treatment centers (RTC), also known as a “rehab”, are facilities with rehabilitation programs for troubled teenagers. They are facilities that offer therapy through research-proven programs to help troubled teens who are struggling in their lives.

Each program is unique for the teenager’s personal needs. It is the mission of RTC’s to help troubled youth find themselves via innovative treatments and some traditional methodologies. An RTC can aid in the development of your teenager’s life goals, fulfillment, and maturity to become a healthy, happy, and confident adult.

Your teenager will learn how they fit into society, how to behave in different settings (both at home and outside), and what actions they should take to help themselves within their own lives. Each residential treatment center has its own methods and treatments to help your teenager in life. For example, we at Fire Mountain enjoy treating troubled teens with the great outdoors to reconnect teens with nature, animals, and their surroundings. They get the chance to be who they want to be without distractions or society’s impounding implications.

RTC’s usually accept youth between the ages of 12-17. Twelve years of age is when children start to take action within their lives to become young adults. They are on the cusp of puberty, entering new environments, and progressing toward their future selves.

After seventeen, teenagers are considered adults at the age of eighteen. This means that, as a parent, you don’t have as much say in their lives since they are legally an adult within the United States. An RTC for troubled teenagers won’t be able to enroll teenagers after the age of seventeen unless otherwise listed.

What is the Difference Between Residential Treatment Centers and Camps?

In case you’re curious about the differences between residential treatment centers and other treatment solutions, let’s take a look at camps vs RTC’s.

A troubled teen “camp” is typically in reference to boot camps. Boot camps are modeled off of military boot camps. These camps use a similar structure to that of military procedures, activities, and schedules. You may find drill sergeants, barracks, physically straining activities, and a major focus on discipline.

This might be an option for teenagers who are stubborn, aggressive, disrespectful, or otherwise involved in criminal activities between the ages of 12-17. However, this may not be the best option for all teenagers with these behaviors or conditions.

A residential treatment center is a great alternative to boot camps and will offer treatment that focuses on self-growth, independence, education, positive discipline, parental involvement, and so much more.

While boot camps can be the answer for some teenagers with certain behaviors or disorders, it’s unlikely that it would work better than an RTC.

What is the Difference Between Residential Treatment Centers and Therapeutic Boarding Schools?

Therapeutic boarding schools are another solution for treating your troubled teen. These schools accept struggling troubled teens to join the campus where they will live for several months or several years, depending on your teen’s needs and positive progression.

Therapeutic boarding schools offer day-to-day education, therapy, and teach new life skills to help teenagers rebuild their lives in a positive environment. This may sound similar to that of a residential treatment center, there are still differences.

While residential treatment centers tend to offer classes for further education so that your child doesn’t fall out of school, the main focus is to build your teenager up as a person and young adult. They will stay for several months, depending on the program chosen, and will reconnect with themselves and make real connections with others who are experiencing similar troubles.

What Types of Conditions Do Residential Treatment Centers Help With?

As teens struggle with themselves in their environments, their inner problems tend to appear over time. If you are feeling that your son or daughter is experiencing difficulties as a teenager or is showing signs of change that you feel could be hurting them, then now is the time to help, not tomorrow.

The types of conditions, troubles, and disorders that residential treatment centers usually help with include (but aren’t limited to):

  1. Depression: Your teenager is experiencing a depressed mood. This could include signs in the form of losing interest in things they love, feeling sad on a regular basis, becoming emotional at random times.

  2. Substance abuse: Your teen is utilizing drugs or alcohol as a means to block mental activity or they are showing signs of addiction.

  3. Family conflict: Your teen is causing stress at home between family members, including themselves. They could be stubborn, showing hatred toward a family member, becoming physical, or are becoming otherwise abstinent.

  4. Self-harm: Your teen is hurting themselves in the form of hitting, biting, scratching, cutting, mutilation, or by another means.

  5. ADHD (ADD): Your teen has chronic attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a mental health disability.

  6. Anger/defiance: Your teen is showing aggressive behavior or is defying your requests. This could be in the form of yelling, throwing items, hitting, refusing to speak or by other means.

  7. Low self-esteem: Your teen is experiencing self-esteem problems that are causing them to feel self-conscious of their body, actions, or personality.

  8. Anxiety: Your teen is showing signs of anxiousness on a recurring basis.

  9. Insecure attachment: Your teen is in a relationship where their bond is polluted by fear or other strong emotions. They are expressing mixed emotions in forms of reluctance, submissiveness, or other extreme behaviors.

  10. Mood instability: Your teen’s mood is highly unstable. They are experiencing swift changes in their personality and behaviors.

  11. Internet/gaming dependency: Your teen is utilizing the internet or video gaming as a vice to sustain their life. They are reliant on their digital devices and refuse to stop using them. This can be referred to as internet or video gaming addiction.

  12. Isolation: Your teen is isolating themselves from others. They might be keeping quiet more often, staying in their room, refusing to see friends or family members.

  13. Entitlement: Your teenager believes that they should be catered to and demand more attention from you or others.

  14. Adoption issues: Your teen is struggling with the knowledge of being adopted. This could come out in conversations with you or in their actions toward authoritative people in their lives.

  15. Gender dysphoria: Your teen is having trouble with their gender identity. They might be feeling that they are the opposite sex of what they were identified as when born.

  16. Suicidal ideation: Your teen is experiencing thoughts of suicidal ideas or is expressing suicidal tendencies.

How Much Do Residential Treatment Centers Cost?

If you believe that your son or daughter is experiencing any of the above conditions, struggles, or behaviors, it’s probably time to find them the help they need. The further you prolong their needs, the worse your teen can become.

Each residential treatment center will have different pricing depending on the program you enroll your child into. Some programs come with aftercare to continue to help your teenager adjust after they come back home to their regular lives.

Costs for residential treatment centers range from $2,000-$25,000 per month. This is such a broad range, but these costs can include various amenities for your child. For instance, you could be paying an RTC for your child living on-site, food, personal supplies, additional activities, and for the type of extending therapy your child needs.

Depending on your child’s needs, there are outpatient care programs that you can choose from. If your child needs to stay at home but you feel they should still receive treatment therapy, then costs can be significantly lower. For instance, at Fire Mountain, our 3-month outpatient care package comes at $3,331 per month for a total of $9,995. Our 6-month outpatient care package is at the rate of $2,999 per month, totaling $17,995.

Talk with your insurance to see what they are willing to cover for your teenager’s mental and possibly physical health.


In the end, you’ll need to provide your child with the facility and program that is right for their needs.

If you feel that facility care would be the best solution, then try to find a residential treatment center that is close to home so you can travel to visit your teenager and they can feel comfortable knowing you’re close.

If an outpatient program would work better for your teenager’s needs and fits with your schedule, then find a center that can work with your time.

Don’t wait any longer and don’t put off your child’s struggles. They need you to be there for them. If your strategies and methods at home aren’t working to help, then you might need a residential treatment center for your troubled teen. Find the program that works for them and your family.

Contact a residential treatment center near you today to get started on your teen’s journey to happiness and maturity.

Everyone deserves happiness and fulfillment.

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