Substance use disorder is a common public health crisis facing America. Whether it is the “war on drugs” or the “opioid epidemic,” there is no shortage of individuals who use and abuse drugs and alcohol recreationally. This is true for teenagers and adolescents as well as adults.
However, Clear Recovery Center knows that substance use disorders often go hand-in-hand with mental health disorders. In fact, it’s not uncommon for an individual to use drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate. When a mental health disorder and substance use disorder occur simultaneously, it is known as dual diagnosis. Our substance abuse treatment for teens and adolescents is designed to address both conditions simultaneously.
Clear Recovery Center starts by treating the mental health disorder. This is done through a variety of methods, including individual and group therapy, medication management, and holistic therapies. Once the mental health disorder is under control, our team can begin addressing the substance abuse. If your teenager is struggling with substance use disorder, especially in conjunction with a mental health disorder, call us today at 866.522.2084. We are ready to help.
What Are Some Common Substance Use Disorders for Teens?
A comprehensive approach is what sets Clear Recovery Center apart from other outpatient programs. They understand that treating one without the other is not enough. You have to treat the whole person to achieve healing.
Teenagers are exposed to any number of illicit substances, but the three that are quite common are alcohol, marijuana, and prescription pills–either painkillers or benzodiazepines.
Alcohol is the most common substance that teens abuse. It’s easy to obtain, and its legal status makes it seem less dangerous than other drugs. In reality, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that slows down the body’s functions. It can lead to impaired judgment, slowed reflexes, and vomiting when abused. Long-term abuse of alcohol can cause liver damage, heart disease, and cancer.
Marijuana and related THC products are the second most common substances teens abuse. Like alcohol, it is also easy to obtain, and its legal status also makes it seem safe. In reality, marijuana is a mind-altering drug that can cause short-term effects such as impaired judgment, memory loss, and changes in perception. Long-term effects of marijuana use can include anxiety, depression, and addiction.
The last of the three most common substances that teens abuse are prescription pills. These can be either painkillers or benzodiazepines. Painkillers are opioid drugs that are prescribed for pain relief. Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants that are prescribed for anxiety or sleep disorders. Both of these types of drugs can be easily obtained from family or friends who have legitimate prescriptions. They can also be obtained illegally.
Pain medication is not inherently problematic. There are plenty of legitimate medical situations where an opioid painkiller, such as Oxycontin, hydrocodone, or codeine, would be appropriate. However, since these medications also create intense feelings of euphoria in addition to taking away pain, it is easy to become addicted, especially if self-medicating due to an underlying mental health issue.
The more they are abused, the more reliant the brain becomes on the drug for a sense of reward and pleasure. Ultimately, a dependency forms, and the brain becomes largely incapable of creating its own “feel-good” chemicals. Worse, the physical dependency will cause painful withdrawal symptoms without the drug.
Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan are typical examples of benzodiazepines and also some of the most commonly abused. They are typically prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. These drugs work by slowing down the central nervous system, which can lead to drowsiness, impaired coordination, and slurred speech. Long-term abuse of benzodiazepines can cause lead to increased tolerance, dependency, and ultimately addiction. The danger of building a tolerance to a central nervous system depressant is that a person needs to take more and more of the drug to achieve the desired effect, but that amount may also be enough to depress breathing and heart rate to lethal levels. Physical withdrawal symptoms also accompany dependence and addition to benzodiazepines.
A recent addiction among teens is vaping, or e-cigarettes. Often marketed as safer than smoking tobacco, there are inherent risks. E-cigarettes are devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user then inhales. Although these liquids do not contain tobacco, they contain chemicals, usually flavorings, and often nicotine, which is addictive.
In addition to these three substances commonly abused, there are additional substances that teens and adolescents often use recreationally. These include:
- Stimulants (meth, cocaine, Adderall)
- Psychedelics (LSD, MDMA, Ecstacy)
Clear Recovery Center Offers Substance Abuse Treatment for Teens in Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach, CA
Teenagers and adolescents face a complex, digital world of social media rife with unique stressors and pressures. Mental health disorders are becoming increasingly common in teenagers and adolescents in the face of these pressures. Unfortunately, many of these young people will self-medicate by turning to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to mitigate their mental health symptoms. Conversely, some teenagers develop a substance abuse problem that then causes mental health issues like anxiety or depression.
Whatever the case, Clear Recovery Center is experienced in treating co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders. We will devise an individualized treatment plan based on evidence-based therapies and holistic treatments designed to bring about total healing. Call today at 866.522.2084 for more information about substance abuse treatment for teens in California.