In Canada and the USA teens with addiction have very limited options when it comes to substance abuse treatment. Even when teens with addiction are hospitalized for inpatient substance abuse treatment often any insurance policy does not cover an optimal amount of days, and many parents find that their teens are released early than they should be because health insurance will not cover additional time. Community operated programs and outpatient substance abuse treatment options may not be as effective as intensive inpatient programs, and few insurers classify substance abuse as a chronic medical condition. This has left a big gap between the number of teens with addiction and the substance abuse treatment programs available to this age group, and this causes many teens with addiction to relapse or need further treatment after leaving a program because the first round was not highly effective.
The severely limited substance abuse treatment options of teens with addiction can be very stressful, both for the teen with drug or alcohol abuse issues and for their parents who struggle to seek treatment for their child with few possibilities. Part of the problem is the way that many health insurance providers view substance abuse treatment, so that this type of therapy is often considered treatment for a mental disorder like depression instead of treatment for a chronic condition. Often this distinction means fewer resources and less coverage, so that teens with addiction are released before they are fully recovered. This usually leads to a relapse and the need for further substance abuse treatment.