The teenage years are marked by tremendous brain and body changes. These changes can be overwhelming for some, and as a result, they can develop some form of mental illness. Because of the stigma attached to mental health—especially teen mental health—some young people may turn to substances to cope with their feelings. The use of substances in this manner can have devastating long-term effects on teenagers as they mature into adulthood.
This article will address the connection between teen mental health and addiction and provide answers to how teen mental health can cause addiction. If you have a son or daughter that is struggling with mental health issues and addiction, call Thrive Teen Treatment today.
It is estimated that one in five teenagers will experience a serious mental health issue. Perhaps the most common mental health issue affecting teens is depression. The following information provided by Mental Health America emphasizes the seriousness of teen depression in the United States:
Along with depression, teens experience other mental illnesses such as anxiety, mood disorders, eating disorders, and ADHD.
There is a tremendous challenge in effectively diagnosing teen mental illness issues. The simple reason for this is that the teen brain is growing and expanding at a rapid pace. Because of this explosive growth, mood and behavior can wildly fluctuate. It can be hard to discern the difference between a mental illness and what is considered the normal growing pains of getting older.
Like many adults with mental health issues, teenagers often turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to cope with their feelings. While there are many excellent mental health treatment programs for teens, many are reluctant to enter treatment. The biggest reason is the continuing stigma associated with mental illness. Many teenagers don’t want to be viewed as fragile, broken, or not worthy of help. As a result, they suffer in silence and use substances as their primary coping mechanism.
While drugs and alcohol help alleviate the symptoms of a mental illness, it is a short-term solution at best. If teens continue to use substances to deal with a mental disorder, it will worsen their condition—and they can develop a drug addiction in a shorter period. This is due to the plasticity of the connections within the teenage brain.
While this plasticity helps young people learn at a quicker rate when compared to adults, the teenage brain is also more susceptible to the reinforcing nature of substances and can become dependent and even addicted at a faster rate than adults.
If a young person develops a substance abuse issue and their mental illness is not treated, it creates what is commonly known as a dual diagnosis. Teen dual diagnosis is complicated to treat and requires specialized help from experienced addiction treatment and mental health professionals. If you are a parent who believes that your son or daughter is dealing with mental health issues and possible substance abuse problems, you must find immediate help.
Finding teen dual diagnosis treatment in Southern California can be a challenge. It would help if you found a facility with experienced staff that has a proven track record of treating teens with substance abuse and mental health issues.
These facilities must provide evidence-based programs and services such as therapy, 12-step group support, medication management, anxiety and anger management, family programs, and relapse prevention and aftercare. Fortunately, your search begins and ends with a call to Thrive Teen Treatment.
Located in Santa Monica, CA, Thrive Teen Treatment offers comprehensive services and programs that are individualized to meet your teen’s unique and specific needs. These programs include case management, individual and group therapy, medication management, life, and coping skills training, and other engaging activities within a supportive and non-judgmental environment.