Why We Recommend Long-Term Residential Treatment For Troubled Teens

Parents of teens engaging in risky behaviors are often confronted with the decision to choose between short-term treatment for their troubled teens or long-term treatment at a residential treatment center.

There are benefits to both options. If you are wondering which type of treatment is right for your troubled teenager, Liahona Treatment Center is here to help.

Long-Term Troubled Teen Treatment vs. Short-Term Treatment

Generally speaking, the pros of attending a residential treatment center will make up the deficits of short-term programs, and the reverse is true of short-term inpatient programs. However, to help make these pros and cons clear, we have laid them out below.

Pros and Cons Of Long-Term Residential Care Treatment


  • Able to establish changes - With long-term treatment at a residential treatment center, troubled teens are better able to establish real changes. At shorter programs, the changes are usually superficial and unlikely to lead to lasting positive development.
  • Highly structured environment - Both short- and long-term treatment provides a structured environment. However, with a long-term program, your teen can learn how to thrive in a highly structured environment and carry the good habits learned into their lives post-treatment.
  • Develop healthy relationships - Teenagers are highly influenced by the company they keep. While attending a long-term residential treatment center, your son can learn how healthy relationships are built as well as have positive role models to work with daily.
  • Receive in-depth therapeutic help - While attending a residential treatment center, troubled teens receive in-depth therapeutic treatment. As the length of treatment is longer, therapists working with your teen are better able to uncover the root issues that lead your child to act out. Once the issues are understood, your teen and the care staff at the residential treatment center can work together to move toward lasting positive changes.


  • More expensive treatment - As long-term treatment goes on for a longer period of time than short-term—and often includes things like academics, life skills, and more—it is more expensive than short-term treatment.
  • Longer stay - It can be hard to send your teen away for treatment, and long-term treatment requires at least 6 months to a year to be effective.
  • Can be far away - The best therapeutic residential treatment center may not be located in your state, which makes visiting your teen difficult.

Pros and Cons Of Short-Term Troubled Teen Treatment


  • More affordable treatment - Much of the living expense extras are cut out of short-term treatment, as this type of treatment is designed to target a specific problem. This focused treatment makes it less expensive to send a teen to short-term treatment.
  • Less time away - A short-term treatment cycle can be completed in less than six months, which means your teen will only be away for a short amount of time.
  • Substance abuse treatment - Inpatient treatment is excellent at addressing substance abuse, as these treatment centers are often attached to a hospital or well-staffed with medical personnel.


  • Less impactful - With less time in treatment, it is less likely that your teen will be able to make lifelong changes. Instead, it is more likely that teens will make short-term changes to get out of treatment quicker and return to previous behaviors once home.
  • No educational aspect - As teens are not expected to be in short-term treatment for long, there are no built-in academics. So, that means your teen may fall behind academically, which can be tough as many troubled teens are already behind their peers in educational achievement.
  • Limited therapy - Most short-term facilities come with therapy built into the program. However, it is not as immersive as residential treatment centers, as the attending teens do not stay long.

Teens Benefit Most From Long-Term Residential Treatment Centers

As you can see, there are many benefits to choosing a long-term residential treatment center. In fact, parents of children with substance abuse issues often choose a combination of short- and long-term treatment—short-term inpatient treatment addresses the withdraw and health issues, while long-term treatment addresses the mental and emotional conditions that lead to substance abuse.

Here at Liahona Treatment Center, it is not uncommon to receive students who have undergone short-term treatment first, though that is not a prerequisite to being accepted into our program. If you would like to learn more about Liahona Treatment Center and whether or not our program is right for your teenage son, please contact us today.

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