Tag Archive: mental health

  1. How Improving Awareness in Family Therapy Can Improve Mental Health in Teens

    Leave a Comment

    How Improving Awareness in Family Therapy Can Improve Mental Health in Teens

    When a teen is struggling with their mental health, it impacts the entire family. However, due to the many changes occurring in a teen’s development, it can be hard to know specifically what is occurring in terms of mental health challenges. Fortunately, family therapy at Sustain Recovery can help. As parents and teens work through challenges together, both improve awareness in family therapy. These changes help teens and parents better understand the mental health challenges and methods that can help manage them.

    Family Therapy

    In family therapy, teens and parents work together with a counselor. As a therapeutic modality, it is an evidence-based approach. Specifically, family therapy helps improve relationships in a family and addresses challenges that both parents and teens are struggling with.

    Due to the many challenges teens and their families face, the content of family therapy varies for each family. Additionally, there are different methods that can be utilized. At Sustain Recovery, family therapy incorporates the content and approaches that are helpful for each individual teen and their family.

    Improving Awareness in Family Therapy

    Family therapy helps teens and their parents in many ways, including helping to improve awareness. When a teen improves awareness in family therapy, it is multifaceted. However, it includes helping them understand their unique mental health challenges and symptoms. Therapy helps provide insight into what influences their mental health. Additionally, it gives them the tools to make changes to improve their mental health symptoms. Specifically, family therapy helps provide teens insight into how their family system and interactions with their families impact their mental health.

    Due to the nature of family therapy, parents are also positively influenced by family therapy. While each family is different, parents learn how their interactions and actions impact their teen’s mental health. Additionally, family therapy offers a unique glimpse into their teen’s life. This can help them to have a better understanding of how their teen is feeling and what they are struggling with.

    Learning Awareness in Family Therapy at Sustain Recovery

    When a teen struggles with their mental health, it impacts the entire family. However, their family also impacts them. Treatment at Sustain Recovery takes this connection into consideration. Therefore, family therapy is often a component of treatment utilized to involve the family in treatment for mental health challenges like depression or anxiety.

    Family therapy often plays an important role in mental health treatment. However, at Sustain Recovery, it is part of a holistic healing plan. Teens in treatment are going through other treatment modalities to help them heal, grow, and improve their awareness. Therefore, they have time and space to improve awareness both in and out of family therapy. As a result, they are more likely to have the foundational skills necessary to improve their and their parents’ awareness during and after treatment.

    Improving awareness is a challenging process that looks different for each unique teen. However, it often includes being put in situations that encourage them to look inside themselves. This might look like working with a counselor who asks questions and guides them in awareness. Additionally, at Sustain Recovery, treatment also includes non-traditional modalities like music therapy or adventure learning that encourage teens to become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and interactions with others.

    Value of Awareness to Improve Mental Health in Teens

    When a teen is more aware, they are more capable of understanding their mental health. This includes being aware of the symptoms they are experiencing. Additionally, improved awareness means knowing what factors impact their mental health, and how their thoughts, feelings, and actions all impact their mental health symptoms. The ability to be aware is highly impactful and valuable for a teen’s mental health. It helps them know how to care for their needs and be more prepared to regulate their emotions.

    Teens are at a point in their lives when they are learning skills that will help their ability to care for their needs as adults. However, when a teen is struggling with mental health symptoms, this is particularly difficult. Fortunately, awareness can help. Teens who are more aware of their mental health have the information to make different and helpful choices. For example, awareness can include understanding that proper nutrition improves their mental health. As a result, they can learn and choose to heal in a healthy manner, knowing they will feel better overall.

    Many teens who struggle with their mental health also find it difficult to regulate their emotions. Awareness is a skill that can help. When a teen is aware of their emotions, such as anger, they can choose what to do with their feelings. However, a teen who is unaware of how they are feeling is more likely to lash out or act recklessly as a way to cope.

    Often, a teen’s mental health challenges impact the entire family, and the family impacts their mental health. In family therapy, both teens and parents can improve their awareness of what factors impact the teen’s mental health, giving the entire family tools to heal. At Sustain Recovery, we understand that incorporating the family into a teen’s healing process is important and can help the entire family heal. We offer family therapy as a part of the entire treatment program and encourage teens to learn skills, including awareness, that help them thrive after treatment. If you are interested in learning more about Sustain Recovery and our treatment programs, call us today at (949) 407-9052

  2. Addiction and Mental Health: A Bi-Directional Relationship in Teens

    Leave a Comment

    Addiction and Mental Health: A Bi-Directional Relationship in Teens

    Many teens experience ups and downs in their daily life. Some of these ups and downs are normal. However, for some teens, it is due to challenges with addiction and mental health. In teens, mental health and addiction often go hand in hand. Struggling with addiction can impact mental health, and a teen’s mental health plays a role in their risk of addiction. Fortunately, a treatment center that addresses mental health, such as Sustain Recovery, can help. When teens learn to care for their mental health needs, they are less likely to struggle with addiction – both as teens and into adulthood.

    Addiction and Mental Health

    A teen’s mental health and risk of addiction are closely linked. While not all teens struggling with addiction have mental health challenges, many of them do. Both share common risk factors, including genetics and environmental factors like stress or trauma. The relationship between addiction and mental health challenges is not one way. Rather, it is bi-directional. Each impacts the other and increases the severity when they occur as co-occurring disorders.

    Mental Health Challenges Can Lead to Addiction

    When a teen is struggling with their mental health, their symptoms are unique to them. They may experience symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, depression, or difficulty sleeping. While these symptoms are mild for some, many teens struggle with severe difficulties that interrupt their everyday life. As a result, many teens self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Over time, this use of drugs or alcohol to control mental health symptoms will lead to addiction.

    Teens who are struggling with their mental health commonly have changes in their brains, which leads to their presenting symptoms. For some, these changes include alterations to the reward centers of the brain. As a result, teens with mental health challenges are more likely to develop an addiction due to the increased sensitivity to the reward that is a result of drugs and alcohol.

    Impact of Addiction on Teen’s Mental Health

    Likewise, using drugs or alcohol causes changes in the brain. The sensations a teen gets from using drugs and alcohol are due to how the chemicals interact with the brain. This includes the release of dopamine, which is a feel-good neurotransmitter. Due to the sensation, teens are likely to return to their substance of choice to feel good again.

    However, over time, a teen’s brain gets accustomed to the dopamine that results from drug or alcohol use. This is called dependence. Dependence can cause many things, including alterations to the structures in the brain itself.

    These changes in the brain impact a teen’s likelihood of addiction as an adult. However, they can also impact their mental health. In adulthood, many mental health disorders are more common in those who struggled with substance abuse and addiction in adolescence.

    Healing From Addiction and Mental Health

    Addiction and mental health are two challenges that many teens face. They interact with each other and tend to exaggerate the symptoms of the other. Addiction makes mental health symptoms worse, and mental health challenges make addiction more difficult to heal from. However, by addressing the root causes and building lasting skills, teens have an opportunity to heal from addiction and mental health challenges.

    Addressing the Root Causes

    In treatment for addiction and mental health challenges, it is important to address the root causes. For some teens, the root causes may include trauma, specific mental health disorders, or other factors.

    Knowing the root causes of such challenges is not always easy. When a teen is working to heal from addiction and mental health difficulties, it is often hard to tell what came first. However, by learning about a teen’s story and background, staff at treatment facilities like Sustain Recovery help uncover the root causes of a teen’s challenges.

    Building Lasting Skills

    Healing from addiction and mental health challenges is not an easy task. It is not a simple solution like taking a pill every day. Building lasting skills is vital for teens to heal, and it helps them to be able to manage challenges as adolescents and adults.

    There are many skills required for a teen to heal from addiction and mental health challenges. Some of these skills are internal, while others are external. Internal skills like being aware of emotions, thoughts, and needs are important. However, external skills like drawing boundaries, effective communication, and practicing life skills are also vital.

    These skills play a role in a teen’s ability to heal. Additionally, they give teens a foundation for them to grow and move forward in their lives, enabling them to manage mental health symptoms and maintain their sobriety after treatment. Without sustained utilization of these skills, teens will go back to old patterns. However, with these skills, they can develop a new way to live their lives.

    When a teen struggles with mental health, they are more likely to have difficulties with addiction. Additionally, substance use or abuse can make their mental health symptoms worse. Helping teens to heal from both addiction and mental health challenges is crucial. At Sustain Recovery, we offer treatment that is individualized and supports teens to heal from both mental health challenges and addiction. Our program offers multiple levels of care in order for teens to get the type of treatment that is most effective for them. If you are interested in learning more about our programs for mental health and addiction treatment for teens, please give us a call at (949) 407-9052.

  3. How Mental Health Treatment in Adolescence Helps Teens Build Skills to Stay Sober in Adulthood

    Leave a Comment

    How Mental Health Treatment in Adolescence Helps Teens Build Skills to Stay Sober in Adulthood

    When an adolescent is struggling with their mental health, they may struggle with many different co-occurring issues, including substance abuse. While treatment for addiction and substance abuse is important, mental health treatment is also vital for adolescents to heal. It will help to address underlying issues that are causing substance abuse. Additionally, mental health treatment will teach teens skills that enhance their recovery, both now and in the future. Treatment at Sustain Recovery is focused on addressing teens’ underlying mental health issues. Adolescents who go through mental health treatment at Sustain Recovery are better equipped to heal and stay sober into adulthood.

    Mental Health and Substance Abuse

    Adolescents struggling with a mental health disorder have a variety of symptoms that often make daily functioning a challenge. This can include managing stress, building healthy relationships, and completing necessary tasks. Due to these challenges, many teens are in search of a quick and easy solution to either numb their discomfort or manage their emotions. For teens, using drugs and alcohol commonly serves as an unhealthy way to cope with the challenges of living with a mental health disorder.

    Additionally, many teens who use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope become addicted, which can cause changes in the brain and cause a lifelong struggle with substance abuse. Drug or alcohol abuse in adolescents is not always tied to mental health. However, substance abuse and mental health disorders are commonly co-occurring.

    Learning Skills in Mental Health Treatment

    Mental health treatment looks different for each adolescent, depending on the individual and the types of mental health disorders they are struggling with. For example, treatment for depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders will all be unique programs. However, nearly every mental health treatment plan incorporates learning skills that help teens to manage their mental health, both now and in the future.

    Stress Management

    For many teens, stress is a significant challenge. If they are struggling with a mood disorder like depression or anxiety, stress often increases symptoms. Additionally, many teens do not know how to manage and adjust to stressors. Therefore, they often reach for drugs or alcohol to solve the issue.

    However, teens can improve their stress management skills in mental health treatment. Through individual therapy, group therapy, and other treatment modalities, teens learn to recognize the role of stress in their lives. They then learn how to manage stress through the development of certain skills. Additionally, teens learn what to do when they feel stressed. For example, coping mechanisms like practicing breathing techniques or exercising give teens an alternative to substance use.

    Building and Maintaining Relationships

    For teens and adults, building and maintaining relationships is often difficult. Many teens who struggle with mental health lack the social skills to do so. One example of these skills is acknowledging their feelings and communicating them with others. As a result, the teen often feels isolated and lonely. In turn, this increases their mental health struggles.

    However, having healthy relationships in adolescence and adulthood is vital to mental health and sobriety. By having healthy relationships, teens feel they are a part of something and have a community of others to lean on. Therefore, when struggling with an issue, they have people they can turn to for help.

    Treatment modalities like family therapy are often highly effective for teens to heal from mental health disorders and maintain sobriety. This is because learning skills to build and maintain healthy relationships helps teens to feel a sense of belonging. Over time, these skills grow, and when teens grow into adulthood, they will be prepared, having the skills necessary to have a supportive community.

    Self-Care and Task Completion

    Both self-care and task completion are skills that teens are developing. Some teens will be further along in the process, while others will struggle with both for a longer period of time. Mental health disorders impact both self-care and task completion. As a result, teens may look for something else to feel better or release their sense of guilt or shame for not completing things. Many reach for drugs or alcohol to do so.

    In mental health treatment, teens learn how to practice self-care and develop task-completion skills. They learn a foundation for how to care for their needs and get things done. In doing so, teens improve their mental health, which protects them from future risks of substance abuse.

    Staying Sober After Mental Health Treatment

    Mental health treatment at Sustain Recovery is focused on helping teens stay sober long-term. The skills learned in mental health treatment are often oriented toward caring for and healing from mental health disorders. However, these skills are also helpful and important for teens to heal from addiction – both now and in the future.

    When many adolescents struggle with their mental health, they commonly also use or abuse drugs or alcohol. However, getting treatment during adolescence can significantly help teens build skills that enable them to manage their challenges with substance use and abuse. At Sustain Recovery, we are here to help adolescents heal from mental health disorders and addiction. Our program helps to relieve immediate discomfort while enabling teens to build skills that improve their mental health. The foundation of skills learned in our mental health treatment program will help teens now and into their adult lives. If you are interested in learning more about our treatment programs, call us today at (949) 407-9052

  4. Is My Teen Struggling as a Result of Trauma or a Mental Health Disorder?

    Leave a Comment

    Is My Teen Struggling As a Result of Trauma or a Mental Health Disorder?

    When your teen is struggling, you may wonder if they are going through the normal ups and downs of adolescence. However, if they are experiencing mental health symptoms, it could be a result of trauma or a mental health disorder. Figuring out which is important as it will help you as you assist them in healing. As a parent, discovering the root issues is difficult. Fortunately, working with a treatment facility like Sustain Recovery can help you to understand the root cause of your teen’s challenges and how you can help them to heal.

    When Your Teen Is Struggling

    As a parent, you watch your child go through many ups and downs. The adolescent period, for many individuals, can be very challenging. Teens tend to struggle with mood swings, stress, body image, and more. Some of these challenges are normal in your teen’s development and are due to hormonal and physical development that is occurring during the teenage years.

    It is challenging to watch your teen struggle. You naturally want to help them succeed and improve their overall well-being. Fortunately, you can make a significant difference in your teen’s life. You can help them to understand the root causes of the challenges they are experiencing and get the treatment that helps them build skills and heal.

    Struggling With a Mental Health Disorder

    When your teen is struggling with a mental health disorder, their challenges will be unique to them and the specific disorder. However, overall they will be significantly different from the normal difficulties that a teen faces. To distinguish between normal challenges and a mental health disorder, ask yourself if there are behaviors or other symptoms that are disrupting their ability to function in daily life. These symptoms may impact their social relationships, home life, or ability to be successful in school.

    If your teen is struggling with a mental health disorder and it is time to get help, they are likely to experience some of the following symptoms:

    • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
    • Consistently low energy
    • Unable to sleep well or feel rested
    • Oversleeping
    • Social isolation and distancing themselves from friends and loved ones
    • Excessive exercise
    • Self-harm
    • Using drugs or alcohol
    • Participating in high risks behaviors either alone or with friends
    • Lack of connection with reality

    Your teen’s challenges are unique, and you know them best. Therefore, you might see other symptoms that you know are abnormal for them. If they are impacting your teen’s ability to function, working with a mental health professional can help you to know if they are struggling with a mental health disorder.

    Is It a Result of Trauma?

    If your teen is showing signs of mental health challenges, it may be a result of trauma. However, knowing if trauma is the cause of your teen’s symptoms can be challenging. Fortunately, there are some signs and symptoms of trauma that can help you differentiate between mental health symptoms and symptoms of trauma.

    Naturally, experiencing trauma causes stress. Early signs of trauma include fatigue, confusion, and agitation. However, many teens also experience numbness, dissociation, and physical arousal or hyperactivity. These responses to trauma are normal and healthy. When they are long-lasting, however, they become problematic.

    While some symptoms of mental health disorders and trauma are overlapping, many are not. If your teen is struggling with their mental health as a result of trauma, they might be experiencing the following:

    • Flashbacks
    • Difficulty sleeping due to nightmares
    • Avoidance of things that remind them of trauma
    • Social isolation
    • Difficulty with life skills 
    • Unable to settle down or relax

    Getting Treatment When It Is a Result of Trauma

    If your teen is experiencing mental health symptoms, it is important that they get help. As their parent, you can encourage and assist them so that they get the treatment they need to heal. However, treatment for mental health symptoms due to trauma differs from treating symptoms specifically due to a mental health disorder.

    Treatment for trauma will be focused on helping your teen to process the trauma while addressing the symptoms that the trauma has caused. Therefore, treatment for your teen will be unique to their challenges. Alternatively, mental health disorder treatment will help your teen through psychotherapy, medication, and alternative therapies. In mental health treatment, your teen will learn skills to manage their mental health.

    Treatment at Sustain Recovery can help your teen to address both trauma and mental health disorders. First, mental health symptoms will be noted, as well as the presence of a mental health disorder or a history of trauma. Your teen will then be treated for the issues they are having. Through treatment, they can heal from their past trauma and learn to build skills that will help them to manage and maintain their mental health as a teenager and later on as an adult.

    When teens experience trauma, they have many symptoms that are similar to those of a mental health disorder. However, as a parent, you may not be sure what is causing their symptoms. At Sustain Recovery, we understand how difficult it is to parent a teen struggling with their mental health. Our program helps you and your teen to understand the details of their symptoms and their root causes. Then, we will help you and your teen build the necessary skills to heal. If you are interested in learning more about our treatment programs for mental health treatment, trauma treatment, and addiction treatment for teens, call us at (949) 407-9052. Speak with a caring staff member today.

  5. Does Your Teen Need Medication to Manage Their Mental Health Disorder?

    Leave a Comment

    Does Your Teen Need Medication to Manage Their Mental Health Disorder?

    As a parent of a teen struggling with a mental health disorder, it is difficult to know what the best course of action is for treatment. For many teens, a combination of treatments is most effective. This often includes medication. Medications can be used to treat many mental health disorders, whether used in the short-term or long-term. As a parent, it is ideal to work with a mental health treatment facility such as Sustain Recovery in order to get professional advice on the best way to help your teen heal. Your teen’s struggles do not have to become long-term issues, and treatment can help them to move forward and manage their mental health successfully.

    Medication for a Mental Health Disorder

    If your teen is struggling with a mental health disorder, medication can be an effective part of treatment. When combined with psychotherapy and holistic modalities, your teen can decrease the mental health symptoms they are experiencing and learn skills to improve their overall mental health as a teenager and into adulthood.

    Medications can play an important role. This is because medications help to decrease mental health symptoms. In doing so, your teen can work through their mental health challenges with more ease. They will learn skills along the way that make a significant difference in their lives and well-being.

    Depression Treatment

    The primary medication used to manage depression is antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are common and can help your teen to decrease their depression symptoms. SSRIs impact the brain and increase available serotonin. As a result, your teen can feel better, experiencing fewer depression symptoms and very few side effects.

    Other medications used to treat depression include norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs), which impact dopamine levels in the brain. In doing so, your teen will have more dopamine available and therefore feel fewer depression symptoms.

    Antidepressant medication use varies from teen to teen. Your teen may only need to use antidepressants for a short period of time. However, taking note of their symptoms and working with a mental health care professional is the best way to know when and if it is the right time to stop using antidepressants.

    Anxiety Treatment

    If your teen is struggling with anxiety, it can be significantly disrupting their life. There are many types of treatment options that can help. Medications are often incorporated into the treatment plan. However, this is not always true.

    There are several types of medications used to treat anxiety in teens. SSRIs are also used to improve anxiety symptoms. However, other medications can help your teen to manage symptoms of anxiety on a regular basis. For example, benzodiazepines and beta-blockers can be used as a way to manage panic attacks at the moment.

    Trauma Treatment

    If your teen has experienced trauma, their mental health is greatly impacted. They may have a variety of challenges that include both depression symptoms and anxiety symptoms. SSRIs can be used to manage these symptoms, and are commonly used as a way to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    Benefits of Medication for a Mental Health Disorder

    When you have a teen who is struggling with their mental health, you see them work to get through every day. Your involvement in their treatment may include family therapy, providing support, and helping them to heal by working with a provider to choose the right path to healing for them.

    You know that your teen is unique, and their path to healing needs to be individualized. While medication is not always necessary, it has many benefits. Primarily, medication can help to decrease the symptoms of common mental health disorders. As a result, it gives your teen time to work on lifestyle changes. This helps them develop skills that might be impossible when experiencing more severe mental health symptoms.

    In the long term, this has a big impact. When medication gives your teen the chance to make lifestyle changes and develop important skills, they are more likely to be able to care for their mental health as an adult. Therefore, using medication in treatment for a mental health disorder for your teen can prevent them from needing medication as an adult.

    Getting Your Teen Treatment for a Mental Health Disorder

    When you are trying to help your teen heal, getting support is helpful. Attending mental health treatment at a professional treatment facility, like Sustain Recovery, gives both you and your teen the care that is needed. You can know that your teen is being cared for and that you are taking the necessary steps to ensure they have good mental health, both now and in the future.

    Reaching out to professional treatment centers can help improve your teen’s daily life. However, in getting your teen help, you are also decreasing their risk of addiction, substance abuse, and poor mental health in the future.

    Helping your teen heal from a mental health disorder is a challenge. However, you do not have to do it alone. At Sustain Recovery, we offer treatment that helps teens heal from mental health disorders, trauma, and addiction. Our program incorporates medication, psychotherapy, and holistic modalities. We balance out different parts of treatment to ensure that your teen gets treatment that is helpful for them. Additionally, we focus on helping your teen build skills that will benefit them in the future. If you have a teen who is struggling, we can help. Call us today at (949) 407-9052 to learn more about our programs and how your teen can heal. 

  6. What Does a Safe Space for Mental Health Look Like?

    Leave a Comment

    What Does a Safe Space for Mental Health Look Like?

    Adolescents struggling with their mental health may have a variety of symptoms. Unfortunately, many of these symptoms are often overlooked as behavioral issues or a part of their development. However, this lack of attention to a teen’s mental health can be very detrimental to their development. Sustain Recovery offers a safe space for mental health treatment, where adolescents are nurtured and inspired to improve their awareness and learn how to manage and improve their mental health. Each adolescent has unique needs, but a safe space can facilitate and nurture the healing process.

    Adolescent Mental Health

    Mental health disorders are common among adolescents; about 20% struggle with a mental health disorder. Additionally, about 50% of mental health disorders start in adolescence. Therefore, the beginning of a mental health disorder is commonly seen at this age. Among such disorders, anxiety and depression are two of the most common.

    Symptoms of anxiety and depression are often disregarded or left unaddressed as they begin to develop. However, getting treatment for mental health early on is incredibly effective and helpful for an adolescent. Common symptoms an adolescent is beginning to struggle with their mental health include low energy, sleeping a lot, and a lack of interest in activities and socializing. Additionally, many adolescents struggling with mental health will use drugs or alcohol or engage in high-risk behaviors.

    A Safe Space for Mental Health Healing

    Having a safe space for mental health healing is important. While treatment will look different for each adolescent, a safe space will be one of acceptance, structure, and individualization. This will help an adolescent own and care for their mental health needs along with the support of mental health professionals.


    Acceptance is one of the primary needs for a safe space for mental health healing. Unfortunately, for many adolescents, their mental health challenges are seen as behavioral issues for which they are constantly in trouble. However, while mental health disorders can cause behavioral issues, they need to be addressed at the root cause rather than simply the behaviors.

    In an accepting environment, adolescents work with mental health care providers. This may include individual, group, or family therapy. However, regardless of the type of treatment, the mental health care provider accepts and nurtures the adolescent. This looks like encouraging them to expand their awareness and believe in their experiences regarding their mental health.


    Along with acceptance, having structure is another important component that helps an adolescent feel safe. A structure oriented toward improving and addressing mental health disorders will look different for each adolescent. However, it will often include a structured routine that prioritizes sleep, exercise, nutrition, and counseling. This structure creates a schedule that in itself will help improve mental health.

    Every adolescent will thrive in a slightly different schedule or style of structure. However, when they find a structure that works well for them, they will find safety. Mental health disorders can leave an adolescent feeling anxious and lost. A structure gives them something to lean on when they are uncertain. This helps them to feel more confident and safe when exploring their mental health.


    For an adolescent, trying to fit into an expectation that is not their reality is stressful. When an adolescent is struggling with a mental health disorder, they may already feel the pressure of trying to act and feel like others. However, an adolescent cannot control what they need and how they feel, and individualization can help them feel safe and supported.

    Individualization in mental health treatment at Sustain Recovery means creating a structure and treatment plan that addresses the need of a specific adolescent. Since mental health disorders, addiction, and trauma commonly go together, each adolescent’s plan will address what they need treatment for and the type of treatment that will be most effective for them.

    When an adolescent is addressed and treated as an individual, they are acknowledged as a whole and unique person. This helps them to feel safe. Additionally, it provides a space to explore and expand their awareness. In doing so, they are more likely to improve their understanding of themselves and how they can help care for their mental health needs.

    Value of a Safe Space for Mental Health

    Having a safe space for mental health is very valuable for adolescents. Adolescents are in a period of development and change. Therefore, it is the perfect time to learn skills that will help them to care for their needs and thrive, both now and later in life. A safe space facilitates self-exploration, improvement of awareness, and trying out ways to care for their own needs. Change is a scary and challenging thing; however, it is necessary for an adolescent to heal. A safe space provides the support needed to face the associated challenges.

    At Sustain Recovery, adolescents experience a place of safety, structure, and individualized care. This environment is nurturing, inspires healing, and teaches each teen to acknowledge and care for their mental health, both now and in the future. Every adolescent is unique, and at Sustain Recovery, we provide individualized treatment at every level of care so that adolescents can healthily get the treatment that is most helpful for them. To learn more about us, our treatment programs, or how we provide a safe space for adolescent mental health treatment, call us today at (949) 407-9052. Our staff looks forward to speaking with you and answering any questions that you may have. 

  7. Improving Mental Health Through Life Skill Development for Adolescents

    Leave a Comment

    Improving Mental Health Through Life Skill Development for Adolescents

    An adolescent’s mental health and life skills are often connected. A lack of life skills can result in poor mental health, and such mental health challenges can negatively impact an adolescent’s life skills. However, regardless of mental health, adolescents can learn life skills by working with mental health care professionals. In building a foundation of these skills, adolescents are more likely to be successful in maintaining their mental health now and in the future.

    How Mental Health Impacts Life Skills

    When an adolescent is struggling with mental health, their ability to function daily is impacted. This includes their life skills. Life skills are the skills necessary for an adolescent or adult to function on a daily basis. These skills will vary; however, two main categories of life skills that are impacted by mental health are social skills and self-care skills.

    Social Skills

    Many mental health conditions impact an adolescent’s ability to communicate and form healthy relationships. For example, many adolescents who struggle with mental health challenges have difficulty making decisions, thinking critically, and organizing. However, forming healthy relationships and being part of a community requires that each individual will show up and work to solve problems that occur in individual relationships or a group.

    Additionally, social skills such as empathy and communication are often inhibited by the existence of mental health disorders. Therefore, these adolescents are more likely to have difficulty communicating their needs and feelings, and understanding and noticing the needs and feelings of others. This can create difficulty when forming new relationships and maintaining friendships.

    Self-Care Skills

    While adolescents are under the care of their parents, they are also in the process of learning how to care for their needs. Self-care skills are vital for being successful in both adolescence and adulthood. They include skills like financial management, health management, and coping skills.

    However, when an adolescent is struggling with their mental health, they are more likely to struggle with self-care skills. While these skills vary, they all require self-awareness, emotional regulation, and critical thinking. Therefore, it might be more difficult for these adolescents to learn to notice and care for their needs.

    How Life Skills Impact Mental Health

    Fortunately, all adolescents are in a phase of developing and learning. Therefore, it is the ideal point for them to develop life skills that will help them to manage their mental health in adolescence and adulthood. Learning life skills helps adolescents to build and maintain relationships, and cope and adjust to changes that occur. These skills are vital to their mental health.


    Building relationships is challenging and requires social skills like listening, empathizing, and communicating clearly. However, when adolescents learn and improve their communication skills, they are more likely to solve issues smoothly in relationships, create clear and healthy boundaries, connect with others, and build a community that helps them to heal.

    Research shows that communication skills that help adolescents to build better relationships can improve their mental health by decreasing their risk of depression. While there are multiple theories to explain this correlation, it is believed that better social skills help improve self-confidence and provide relationships that give adolescents more resilience to stress.

    Coping and Adjusting

    Being able to manage new situations, environments, and problems is important. The life skills of coping and adjusting are vital to this ability. When an adolescent learns the skills to cope with stress and challenges, they are more likely to push themselves, get past the challenges, and search for solutions. However, adolescents without these skills will struggle. They are more likely to get stuck, and their mental health will suffer.

    Fortunately, life skills can be taught. Research has shown that adolescents who go through a life skill learning program increase their ability to cope and adjust as needed.  Therefore, when an adolescent learns life skills, they can cope with stress and protect their mental health more successfully.

    Mental Health Benefits of Building Life Skills in Adolescence

    Adolescence is a time of growth and change. Therefore, it is an ideal time to develop foundational skills. While they are still living at home, they can practice these skills. Additionally, as they eventually leave the house, they will have experience using these skills. This gives them the confidence and capacity to manage their mental health, both in adolescence and as adults.

    Additionally, adolescents who struggle with addiction, mental health, or trauma will particularly benefit from building these skills. This is because these challenges can impact them into adulthood. When adolescents learn to manage these challenges, it becomes more normalized to them. As a result, caring for their own needs as adults is less of a shock. Ultimately, adolescents who learn life skills will benefit far beyond the initial years of practicing these skills.

    When adolescents struggle with their mental health, they often lack life skills. However, at Sustain Recovery, they can learn life skills, including emotional regulation, social skills, and more. In doing so, adolescents improve skills that can help maintain good mental health now and in the future. The care team at Sustain Recovery helps adolescents improve their self-awareness and build skills that work for them. This means that every individual works on unique coping skills that they can take back into their life after treatment. These skills help adolescents to heal from challenges with addiction, mental health, and trauma. To learn more about Sustain Recovery and how our programs can create lasting change, call (949) 407-9052 today. 

  8. How Sleep Can Help Your Teen Improve Their Mental Health

    Leave a Comment

    How Sleep Can Help Your Teen Improve Their Mental Health

    As a parent of a teen who struggles with mental health and addiction, there are many ways you can help them heal and thrive. One aspect of their life that is significantly beneficial is sleep. Getting enough quality sleep can help teens learn new things, recover from trauma, and maintain good mental health.

    Although it will likely take time, ideally, your teen will begin to self-manage their sleep and prioritize it. As a parent, you can help them learn how to build self-care practices into their lives that will benefit their physical and mental health throughout their lives.

    The Importance of Sleep for Mental Health

    Sleep can help your teen improve their mental health in many ways. As a parent, you likely have seen changes in their mood and behavior when they do not get enough sleep. By improving their sleep, your teen can decrease the risk and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Additionally, sleep helps them to improve their cognitive abilities, attention, and emotional regulation, all of which are important in recovery.

    Anxiety and Depression

    There are many ways to help your teen manage anxiety and depression. A unique combination of factors will impact these specific mental health challenges. Research has found that sleep is often a contributing factor in developing anxiety and depression. Teens whose sleep is disrupted or who are not getting enough are more likely to experience symptoms of both disorders.

    The connection between sleep and mental health symptoms is a result of changes that occur in the brain when sleep is disrupted, or from a lack of sleep. When your teen does not get adequate sleep, their adrenaline and cortisol rise. These changes affect how they feel.

    Cognitive Abilities and Attention

    Your teen’s ability to think clearly and focus is important for addiction recovery, success in school, and learning new skills. However, these abilities can be negatively impacted if they are not getting the proper amount and quality of sleep that they need.

    Research studies have also found that a lack of sleep decreases an individual’s mental health by decreasing attention, logical reasoning, and short-term memory. Therefore, by getting enough sleep, your teen will be more capable in school and at home to learn new things and face challenges.

    Emotional Regulation

    As a parent, you know that emotional regulation is a skill that teens are in the process of learning. It takes time for them to manage their emotions. While part of the challenge is due to their developmental stage, sleep can also play a role. When teens do not get an adequate amount of sleep, their ability to regulate emotions is greatly diminished. Therefore, by helping them to improve their sleep, they will be more capable to work through emotional challenges.

    Mental Health and Addiction

    Many teens with mental health challenges also struggle with addiction. As a parent, you want the best for your teen. One way of doing so is to help support them in building a good foundation of mental health. This is generally a combination of self-care practices, professional assistance, medication, and other things.

    By helping your teen improve their mental health, you are also decreasing their risk of substance misuse and developing addiction. Mental health disorders can cause symptoms that make teens reach for substances to manage. Additionally, the changes in the brain due to mental health disorders can put your teen at a higher risk for addiction. Therefore, improving sleep can help manage their mental health and decrease their risk of addiction and/or relapse.

    Helping Your Teen Build Self-Care Practices for Mental Health

    Providing a foundation of support for your teen can be difficult. However, your support in helping them learn and build self-care skills will have lasting effects. The first step to helping your teen build better self-care practices is to open up communication. Talk with them about the value and importance of self-care. Depending on the situation, some of these conversations can be had with a mental health care professional who helps you navigate.

    The next step is to help your teen create new patterns and behaviors that improve their self-care. To improve sleep, this might include creating a sleep or bedtime routine, improving exercise habits, and talking about electronic use. All of these things play a role in your teen’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. These changes are not easy to make, and your teen will likely struggle with one or many of them. However, you can help them make a plan, and, with practice, their skills will improve.

    It is important to remember that you are working with your teen. This means helping them take responsibility for their actions. Your assistance and support are invaluable for their success; however, they need to put in the work and believe in the plan for it to be successful.

    Getting an adequate amount of sleep is extremely important for healing from mental health challenges and addiction. It will help your teen build and maintain good mental health. When your teen struggles with mental health or addiction, sleep is particularly important. At Sustain Recovery, we believe that, in treatment, teens need to learn skills that help them heal and maintain their mental health throughout their lives. Therefore, we help them to improve self-care routines that they can take home. However, as a parent, you can help them manage and adjust these routines over time. To learn more about our programs and services designed to help your child succeed, call us today at (949) 407-9052.

  9. Impacts of Community Attachments on Substance Use in Adolescents

    Leave a Comment

    Impacts of Community Attachments on Substance Use in Adolescents

    Many adolescents who struggle with mental health or substance abuse do not have healthy community attachments. Adolescents who lack the necessary skills to connect with individuals and a community often have more difficulty maintaining good mental health and have an increased likelihood of substance abuse. However, teens can learn how to build and maintain healthy community attachments. By learning these skills, they can be involved in a community as adolescents and create new ones as they become adults.

    What Are Healthy Community Attachments?

    Every adolescent has relationships in their lives, including family, peers, and teachers. Depending on the individual and the situation, these relationships can vary. While some are acquaintances, others are romantic or deep friendships. Healthy community attachments include different levels of healthy relationships and ties to the community as a whole.

    Healthy Relationships

    A healthy relationship between two individuals is built on trust and support. While the style of the relationship will vary, trust and support help each person to feel safe. This means that each person can be open, honest, and present without fear. To have a healthy relationship, both people must put effort into improving communication, compromising, creating and respecting boundaries, and caring for the other. While these things are not always easy, healthy relationships depend on them.

    Healthy individual relationships are the foundation of a community. While these relationships will vary in depth and type, healthy communities rely on them. Such relationships help individuals of all ages, including adolescents, feel connected with the community as a whole. A community may be a group of many people, but each person is an individual, which makes these particular relationships the heart of the community.

    Community Ties

    Connecting with a community helps adolescents to feel like they are part of a group. It provides a sense of belonging and safety and is important during this phase of development. When teens have community ties, it does not mean that they participate in every community event. Instead, community ties describe the sensation of knowing they belong. This means they feel welcomed in a community and know they are missed when they are not there.

    Lack of Healthy Community Attachments

    Building healthy community attachments is hard for adolescents, particularly for those who are struggling with mental health challenges and substance abuse. However, a lack of healthy community attachments can also increase a teen’s risk of such problems.

    Mental Health

    Adolescents are social creatures. Finding a community where they experience truly healthy friendships and relationships is incredibly valuable for their mental health. Having a community is important at any age, but especially during adolescence, which is a vulnerable period for the onset of mental health problems. Research has found that approximately half of all mental health disorders emerge by the age of 14. While it will vary for each teen, many of these mental health problems continue into adulthood.

    Building healthy community attachments can help. Research has found that adolescents who have stronger close friendships have higher self-worth and are less likely to experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders (as adolescents and adults). By having healthy relationships, teens are more prepared to manage key social developmental tasks as they enter late adolescence and early adulthood.

    Addiction Risk

    Adolescents who struggle with mental health disorders or do not have community attachments are often lonely and struggle with negative emotions. This can cause them to turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the symptoms and pain they are experiencing. However, over time substance use can turn into addiction.

    When teens make strong community attachments, they feel supported and cared for. At some point, they will experience negative emotions. However, with a community, they have others who they can turn to for support. Therefore, communities help to decrease addiction risk for adolescents.

    Building and Maintaining Community Attachments

    For adolescents to have community attachments, they must learn how to build the skills necessary to connect with others. This involves working on social skills, such as learning how to respond in certain situations and how to communicate clearly with another person. When a teen is struggling with an untreated mental health disorder or substance abuse, these skills are often challenging.

    Yet, every adolescent can learn how to build and maintain community attachments. While there are many ways to learn these skills, working with a treatment facility equips adolescents with the knowledge and practice of skills for healthy socializing. This will include learning verbal and non-verbal communication, how to effectively communicate, and how to create bonds in a community.

    A treatment facility offers the space and support to practice these skills. Social skills, like other skills, take time to learn. By participating in group therapy and group events, teens can develop new ways to communicate. Such an environment provides ideal support, with mental health care professionals and peers there to help.

    Having a solid connection with a community means having healthy relationships and an emotional connection with the specific community. However, many teens lack this vital connection to others. As a result, they are at increased risk of mental health disorders and substance use. However, teens can learn how to build healthy individual and community connections. At Sustain Recovery, we understand that many teens who struggle with mental health and addiction need help learning how to make social connections. We offer holistic and individualized care for each client and help them to grow. The skills they learn at Sustain Recovery will help them to heal and succeed as an adolescent and adult. To learn more, call (949) 407-9052 today. 

  10. The Effects of Exercise on Adolescents With a Mental Health Disorder

    Leave a Comment

    The Effects of Exercise on Adolescents With a Mental Health Disorder

    In today’s culture, social media, technology, and a sedentary lifestyle are becoming more normalized. As a result, most adolescents get less exercise than experts advise. This lack of exercise results in an increased risk of mental health disorders and symptoms of mental health conditions that are present. Therefore, it is particularly important that adolescents with mental health disorders learn the value of exercise and how to make it a regular part of their lives.

    Adolescents are at a developmental point in their lives where they can learn how to integrate exercise into their daily routines. Helping them to do so will improve their mental health – now and in the future. The habits that they learn in adolescence are likely to be continued into adulthood.

    How Exercise Impacts Mental Health Disorders

    Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health disorders found in adolescents. Therefore, finding methods to help adolescents manage them is important. Exercise can help.


    As a serious mood disorder, depression is on the rise in adolescents. However, exercise can be extremely beneficial. Researchers have found that adolescents who get an adequate amount of exercise have decreased risk of depression and related symptoms. This illustrates the importance of exercise for adolescents, especially those struggling with depression.

    Getting the right amount of exercise is important when considering depression. While many teens do not get enough exercise, some are more prone to overdo it. Excessive exercise can be damaging for adolescents, causing an increase in depression. Therefore, adolescents need a balance of movement and rest to optimize mental health.


    Feeling anxious is normal in certain situations. However, anxiety as a mental health disorder is more complex. Catching it early in adolescents can help them to heal and build coping skills to manage their anxiety into adulthood. Managing anxiety will look different for each individual, but tools such as exercise can help.

    Researchers have found that low- and medium-intensity exercise helps adolescents decrease symptoms of anxiety, while high-intensity exercise was not found to be effective. Each individual will differ in terms of how they respond to exercising. However, helping adolescents increase their exercise habits is a good place to start. A change as simple as going on a walk a few days a week can make a difference in symptoms for an adolescent with anxiety.

    Improving Overall Mental Health With Exercise

    While exercising indeed helps adolescents who struggle with mental health disorders, it is also true that it can boost and improve overall mental health regardless of mental health disorders. By exercising, teens can improve both self-esteem and self-control, which are both factors of overall mental health.


    It is common for adolescents to struggle with low self-esteem. Those struggling with addiction and mental health disorders are even more likely to. However, exercising can help adolescents by impacting their self-esteem. Whether through combat sports, competitive sports, or individual outdoor activities, exercise will be beneficial.

    Researchers have found that when adolescents incorporate more movement into their lives, their self-esteem increases. Multiple factors likely play a role in this change. When adolescents learn new skills and push themselves physically, they learn that they can change and meet their goals. In turn, they build confidence in their abilities.


    Exercising is often thought of as an activity that requires self-control. It takes adhering to a schedule and overriding the impulse to stay sitting on the couch. However, there is a bi-directional relationship between the two. A study published in 2019 found that a single bout of exercise helps individuals increase self-control. The researchers define self-control as the ability to override impulses, desires, or responses based on habit.

    Self-control is an essential aspect of mental health, one that many adolescents struggle with. The external world is always shifting and changing, but teens need to be able to control their responses in multiple situations. This will help them make choices rather than act impulsively or follow along out of habit. As exercising contributes to one’s self-control, it is one way to help teens improve this skill and their overall mental health.

    Exercise Benefits Both Physical and Mental Health

    As a result of our sedentary culture, many adolescents struggle with physical health issues such as obesity from an early age. Helping adolescents to get more exercise can help them maintain a healthy weight, reduce their risk of disease, and strengthen their bodies. Additionally, it can help their overall mental health, as mental and physical health are closely related. Therefore, a lack of exercise not only impacts physical health but also commonly results in mental health challenges.

    Helping adolescents build a framework for exercising will impact them into adulthood. This is because when teens begin to live independently, they often continue habits from adolescence. Therefore, if they have a solid understanding of how to incorporate exercise into their life, they are more likely to be successful in maintaining it as adults.

    As our culture changes, adolescents tend to have decreased amounts of physical activity in their daily lives and exercise. This can decrease mental health and worsen mental health conditions that are already there. However, exercise can help adolescents improve their mental and physical health and help them maintain it as they become adults. At Sustain Recovery, we use evidence-based treatment modalities to help adolescents improve their awareness and learn new behaviors. Many skills can benefit the mental health and physical health of adolescents – both in the present and further into their lives. To learn more about Sustain Recovery’s programs or to speak with a staff member, call us today at (949) 407-9052

I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

© 2023 OCTLC Inc.