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Substance Abuse and Mental Health in Teens

teen girl learning about substance abuse and mental health in teens

Today, studies show mental health influences substance use, abuse, and addiction recovery. At least half of people living with substance use disorders live with co-occurring mental health disorders. Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and OCD can all lead people, especially teens to abuse drugs and alcohol. For many, substance abuse in teens is a form of self-medicating to relieve symptoms that may or may not have a diagnosis.

Is your child showing signs of co-occurring disorders and substance abuse? Call Imagine Bellvue today for help. Our outpatient programs help teens ages twelve to seventeen living with co-occurring disorders in Seattle, WA. Call us now at 888.346.0473 to get your teen the help they need.

Understanding Substance Abuse and Mental Health in Teens

Experimenting with drugs and alcohol is a common part of adolescence. Many teens experiment to take control of their bodies, fit into social circles, and self-soothe. For many, self-soothing with drugs or alcohol is a sign of a co-occurring disorder. As their name implies, co-occurring disorders exist co-currently, or at the same time.

Many young adults living with mood disorders struggle with anxiety, depression, OCD, or ADHD. These can lead to disordered eating or process addictions, like video gaming. It’s rare that someone struggles with a single co-occurring disorder because mental health is so complex. Some disorders may even stem from unprocessed childhood trauma. Co-occurring disorders are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed among teens. This can lead to self-soothing with drugs or alcohol and eventually substance abuse.

Signs of substance abuse and mental health in teens include:

  • Self-isolation
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in social groups and hygiene
  • Self-harming behavior
  • Depression or anxiety

Like many aspects of their lives, teens are likely to keep drug and alcohol use secretive. The above signs can help parents know when it’s time to talk to their teen and seek professional support. These symptoms can also indicate mental health disorders in need of treatment.

Unfortunately, self-soothing with drugs and alcohol can make mental health disorders worse. While teens may experience a temporary relief in symptoms, when substances wear off or they build up a tolerance, symptoms will return and worsen. Without tools, knowledge, and understanding of substance abuse and mental health in teens, it can be hard for young adults to cope with stress, difficult emotions, and unprocessed trauma.

Treatment for Substance Abuse and Mental Health for Teens at Imagine Seattle

Substance use among young adults is common. Substance abuse is usually a sign a teen needs mental health support. If a young adult in your life struggling with mental health and substance abuse, they are not alone. Our team at Imagine Seattle has a range of outpatient programs serving young adults ages twelve to seventeen. Our programs focus on improving mental health among teens with flexible outpatient care.

Imagine Seattle focuses on trauma-informed care. With individual, group, and family therapy programs, our patients receive medication management, education advocacy, and the support their need to create informed change in their lives. Our behavioral therapies include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), the leading evidence-based therapies for mood disorders and substance abuse. Our partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs give teens a balance between structure and freedom to make sure they stay on track.

Begin Substance Abuse Treatment For Your Teen at Imagine Seattle

Don’t wait for your teen to show signs they’re struggling. Give your teen the mental health and substance abuse treatment they need when you reach out to our outstanding team at Imagine Bellvue. Call us at 888.346.0473 or contact us online to learn more about substance abuse and mental health in youth at Imagine Seattle.