Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Teens Struggle With Mental Health & Substance Use

It’s not uncommon for teens who struggle with mental health symptoms to also be diagnosed with a drug and/or alcohol abuse issue. In fact, a study published in the British Medical Journal Open reports that about 10 percent of teens in mental health treatment smoke cigarettes, use marijuana, or drink alcohol. The older they grow, the more likely they are to abuse these substances.

The Dangers of Teen Substance Abuse During Mental Health Treatment

The use of alcohol and other addictive substances during the teen years is problematic for a number of reasons, but when mental health symptoms are an issue, drug abuse is an even bigger problem. Continued abuse of addictive substances can:

  • Derail psychotherapeutic mental health treatment
  • Create more mental health symptoms
  • Increase the severity of current mental health issues
  • Interact negatively with any medications required to treat mental health symptoms

Many teens use alcohol and marijuana to medicate the mental health issues that they experience, but mental health treatment should give them the tools they need to cope with those symptoms in a healthy and positive way that does not include >substance abuse.

Treating Drug Abuse and Mental Health Symptoms

If your teen is unable to stop abusing drugs and alcohol, he may have an issue with drug addiction to deal with in addition to the mental health issues. In these cases, it is important he undergo treatment at a program that can effectively address both problems at the same time. Just like untreated drug abuse can disrupt mental health treatment, untreated mental health symptoms can disrupt drug rehabilitation. Treating both issues simultaneously can help your son to learn how to manage both problems successfully.

Dr. Daniel Hermens was the lead researcher of the study. In a news release, he said, “Traditionally there have been mental health services, and substance abuse services, but both have been quite separate. Our study shows that we need to integrate mental health interventions with substance use interventions in order to help at-risk young people. There is a lot of evidence for the co-morbidity of mental health problems and substance misuse. More people have both mental health and substance use problems than either alone—in other words, it’s the rule rather than the exception.”

Muir Wood Offers Intensive Treatment for Substance-Abusing Teens

The Muir Wood treatment program begins with an intensive neuropsychological evaluation to identify all the issues that are creating obstacles to your son’s progress and health. A personalized treatment program is created based on the results of this comprehensive evaluation that addresses all issues present and helps your son truly begin the healing process on all levels. Call now for more information.