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Explaining Teenage Depression and Drug Use

Teenage Depression and Drug Use

As a parent, you desire to provide the best life possible for your children. However, some young people do face heartbreaking challenges in their teenage years, such as depression and drug use

Today, we are going to discuss some of the links between teenage mental health and addiction as well as what you can do to support your child. If you would like additional resources, call the SAMHSA National Helpline 24/7 at 1-800-662-4357 or call us today at (844) 999-0874 for treatment options in South Florida. 

Why Are Teenagers at an Increased Risk of Addiction? 

Teenage depression and other mental health symptoms may influence a young person’s struggles with drug use or alcohol abuse. 

Young brains are not fully developed and have more plasticity to them than an adult brain. This can increase the chance of forming an addiction or habit of substance abuse. Similarly, this can also impact mental health and may intensify symptoms as the brain is not mature enough to properly process its emotions and thoughts in a healthy manner. 

While the malleability of young minds helps teens learn in the classroom and develop social skills, it can also influence maladaptive behaviors. Like adults, a young person may try self-medicating their mental health struggles with drugs or alcohol, and the brain may “teach” itself that this is an effective method of managing distressful symptoms. 

When Can Parents Do About Teenage Mental Health and Substance Abuse? 

Identify the Signs of Teenage Substance Abuse 

Addiction can affect people of all ages. However, teens are more likely to abuse substances that are easily accessible in the home or through their friend groups. 

Some signs to watch for include: 

  • Sudden changes in personality or behavior
  • Empty or missing liquor bottles and pill containers at home 
  • Reluctance to communicate or secretive behavior 
  • Withdrawn and depressed demeanor 
  • Hypervigilant or overexcited demeanor 
  • Poor hygiene or disheveled appearance 
  • Burn marks or track marks on their extremities
  • Sores or nasal bleeding 
  • Nausea/vomiting, lethargy, or irregular sleeping patterns 
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain 
  • Being secretive about where they are/who they are with 
  • Unusual declines in academic performance

Communicate with Compassion 

Some adolescents may try to hide or cover up their mental health or substance abuse issues. This could be due to a fear of being punished, worrying that they will not be taken seriously, or other similar reasons. 

Let them know that they can talk to you about drugs, alcohol, and mental health without fear of being judged. This will create opportunities to open a dialogue where they feel comfortable being honest with their thoughts and feelings. 

If your child admits that they are struggling with their mental health and/or abusing substances, it is important to respond with care and compassion. Shaming, ridiculing, or punishing someone often does not motivate them to enact a lasting positive change in their lives. 

Instead, offer to help them find the right resources to address their needs.  Whether this involves substance abuse treatment, mental health therapy, or a combination of the two, offer them communicate your desire to support and empower your child to make the right decision for their life.

Make An Effort to Help Them 

Beyond finding help for your teen, make a tangible effort to support their decision to begin treatment for their mental health and/or substance abuse issues. Some ways to do this can include but aren’t limited to: 

  • Helping them schedule appointments with a therapist 
  • Driving them to their appointments 
  • Picking up any prescriptions from the pharmacy for them 
  • Offering positive reinforcement for following their treatment consistently 
  • Telling them you are proud of their decision to seek treatment 
  • Showing affection, such as a hug or pat on the back 
  • Visiting, calling, or writing them regularly if they are in an inpatient treatment program 
  • Checking in frequently to see how they are doing 
  • Continuing to include them in other family activities
  • Encouraging their interests in productive activities like arts, technology, sports, volunteering, etc. 

Young people notice when their parents are or are not involved in their lives. Show your support for them with your actions and words to help motivate them to continue making the right decisions. 

Get Treatment for Substance Abuse in Hollywood, Florida 

At Compassion Behavioral Health, we believe in providing a caring mental health and substance abuse treatment experience for people of all ages to achieve a successful life in recovery. To learn more about our services in Hollywood, FL, call us at (844) 999-0874 or contact us online today.