Mental health is a struggle that impacts many teens around the country. Mental illness and substance abuse in teens is sometimes tricky to identify, as mood and personality changes are prevalent during adolescence. However, teens can face increased social pressure to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Furthermore, struggling with a mental health disorder like anxiety can increase your teen’s risk of trying substances like alcohol and marijuana. If someone you love is struggling with mental illness and substance abuse in teens, they may have a co-occurring disorder. If this is the case, it is essential to seek out an adolescent treatment center today.
Mental Illness and Substance Abuse in Teens
Adolescence is a complicated developmental stage. This stage is where it is difficult for teens to navigate things like peer pressure, mental health, and drug and alcohol use. Among teens, alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are the most commonly used and abuse psychoactive substances. Overall, about half of all high schoolers have tried marijuana, while two-thirds have experimented with alcohol.
Although drug and alcohol use has declined among teens in the past 20 years, substances like marijuana have become more popular. Teens aren’t as likely to view marijuana as dangerous, unlike earlier generations. Additionally, medicinal and recreational marijuana has made more potent marijuana available to teens and young adults. While using substances recreationally may seem like a possibility, the truth is all psychoactive substances carry the risk of abuse and dependency.
Mental illness and substance abuse in teens is also strongly connected. Struggling with mental health symptoms, like depression or anxiety, increases the chances of using drugs and alcohol. Because drugs and alcohol are neurotransmitter inhibitors, they alter your mood and brain chemistry. While substances like marijuana or alcohol may temporarily relieve symptoms, abusing substances aggravates mental health disorders.
The complex changes that addiction causes to your brain chemistry makes mental illness and substance abuse in teens a dangerous combination. Mental health symptoms can cause you to rely on psychoactive substances as a form of self-medication, while psychoactive substances can intensify mental health symptoms.
Signs of Mental Illness and Substance Abuse in Teens
Common signs and symptoms of mental illness and substance abuse in teens include:
- Changes in physical appearance, such as pale skin, bloodshot eyes, and dilated pupils
- A sudden and consistent need for money
- Drastic changes in mood or behavior
- Isolating from friends and loved ones
- Losing interest in hobbies or passions
- Declining grades and truancy
If you see these signs, you should seek treatment for mental illnesses and substance abuse for your teen.
How Mental Illness and Substance Abuse in Teens is Treated
Having both a mental health and substance abuse disorder means that you have a co-occurring condition. Dual diagnosis treatment provides evidence-based and holistic therapies that focus on treating both conditions side-by-side. When this issue exists, it’s vital to stabilize both conditions to ensure a full recovery.
Substance abuse treatment programs offer dual diagnosis programs in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Inpatient treatment provides the highest level of care in a highly structured residential environment.
Inpatient programs can also offer:
- Medically supervised detox programs
- Medication management
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- ialectical behavior therapy
- Individual, family, and group counseling
- Relapse prevention education
Inpatient programs are best if you have a co-occurring disorder or a severe addiction. Outpatient programs include options like partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs. Inpatient and outpatient programs both focus on helping you learn how to identify and cope with triggers and cravings.
Triggers can include people, places, and things that remind you of your substance of choice and increase cravings. Negative emotions, like depression, anger, and anxiety, are common triggers during recovery. Dual diagnosis treatment ensures that you can manage your mental health symptoms, while you learn how to address cravings.
Finding Help Today
Mental illness and substance abuse in teens can create disabling symptoms. Since teens are still maturing and developing, drug use can lead to damaging cognitive changes that make it difficult to manage symptoms without help. To find out more about our teen substance abuse and mental health treatment programs, contact us today at 866.300.5275.