Muir Wood Teen

Substance Use Disorders

Teenage teens with mental health issues and addiction are often treated in “dual diagnosis” programs that address both the substance use disorder (SUD) and the mental health condition at the same time. Teens acquire effective coping tools in these programs, learning how to deal with their mental health issues and their SUD. These skills can help stabilize their transition to adult life and prevent relapse in the future. 

Treatment may include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) where teens work closely with their primary therapist to develop specific tools they can use to counter any symptoms of anxiety or depression or any sudden urge to use substances. CBT typically teaches clients how to identify troubling situations or conditions in their life, become aware of unhelpful thought patterns, emotions, and beliefs about these problems. Once the problem is identified, the therapist will encourage the client to share their thoughts. 
CBT is a well-established treatment for anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. Research shows that approximately 60 percent of youth recover from their anxiety disorders and experience significant symptom reduction following treatment. 

Some teens with severe mental health symptoms require medications to improve. All medications need to be review and prescriptions optimized, so they won’t interfere with the recovery from substance use disorder. Different medications or adjusted dosages may allow these clients to feel better, allowing them to participate in therapy with more focus.

Other approaches such as spending time outdoors or engaging in fitness training may also play an important role. Muir Wood’s therapeutic hiking trips help our teenage teens experience healthy exercise in a natural environment and clear their minds. Meditation is another effective tool for teens with mood disorders and SUD. It can help them learn how to recognize negative emotions without engaging with them. Calming the mind in meditation may negate the urge to numb unwanted feelings with drugs and alcohol.