Tag Archive: teen addiction

  1. Treating Addiction and Depression in Teens

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    Depression and addiction feed into one another. When teens suffer from depression or mental health concerns, in combination with substance use disorder, this is called ‘dual diagnosis’ or ‘co-occurring disorder.’ Both problems must be treated concurrently in order to best integrate things and provide the best plan for recovery.

    Talk Therapies

    Teens who are depressed can reach for drugs or alcohol as a way to lift spirits or numb painful thoughts and feelings. Depression and substance abuse feed into one another which can make things worse. Anytime a teen is experiencing depression or anxiety, substance abuse is risky. Treatment for other mental health conditions can help treat addiction. Medication can help treat depression including Serotonin Specific Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). This includes:

    • Bupropion
    • Fluoxetine
    • Sertraline

    Some common therapies that may help can include:

    • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
    • Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP)
    • Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Adolescents with PTSD and Addiction

    Some combination of cognitive therapy and possibly mindfulness practice may help teach skills useful for recovery in regards to substance use and mental health conditions (including depression).

    Cognitive Restructuring

    This widely used approach in cognitive behavioral therapy is used to help people, including teens, deal with feelings of upset related to depression. It involves teaching people to identify thoughts or beliefs underlying depression and anxiety. This includes certain patterns of thinking that may have a direct impact on how a person feels.  It may include describing an upsetting situation, identifying feelings and finding underlying thoughts associated with the situation.

    Addiction Treatment

    Cognitive Therapy can be helpful in recovery from addictions. The therapist and teen can identify thoughts, feelings and circumstances which surround substance use and, early in treatment, play a critical role in helping the teen identify circumstances likely to lead to drug use and provide insights into the situation. Awareness of triggers can help identify circumstances likely to lead to drug use and provide insight into reasons why the teen may be using the drugs in the first place. Later in treatment, this may help in identifying situations or states where the individual has trouble coping and determine the best response for the situation.

    Mindfulness Therapy

    Substance abuse is an example of people’s tendencies to move towards pleasure away from pain. Drugs often cause a teen to experience internal psycho-emotional pain. Teens must learn tools for coping and adapting with pain. Mindfulness Therapy can help. This skill takes practice and the type of therapy mindfulness starts is moment-by-moment nonjudgmental awareness of feelings, thoughts and surroundings. Mindfulness therapy includes:

    • Being present to thoughts that arise
    • Differentiating thoughts from feelings
    • Observing thoughts
    • Reducing the tendency to exaggerate negative emotional states, diminishing feelings of guilt, shame, fear and criticism of others

    Mindfulness helps instead of trying to ignore negative thoughts or to stop people from thinking. Mindfulness comes from regular practice of short and longer meditations and practices.

    Key Lessons

    Some of the key things teens with dual diagnosis can learn through mindfulness include:

    • Thoughts, emotions and sensations start, peak then slowly recede
    • Paying attention to how the mind works helps notice moving into past, memories, regrets and other negative feelings that may cause fear
    • Mindfulness is not about avoidance, it is allowing the mind to get out of the past and into the future
    • The present is the only moment that is happening or matters and it is with long term recovery that improving awareness offers insight into depression and addiction for recovery

    Mindfulness practice teaches that the only moment that we have to learn about ourselves, to grow, and to change in in the present moment. For that reason Mindfulness Therapy can help with long term recovery and decreasing relapse by improving awareness and offering an opportunity to respond in the moment to triggers and automatic reactions and to act differently.


    Sustain Recovery supports adolescent care in a residential setting 30-90 days in length. Call us to find out how to get support for a teen struggling with addiction and may need help for co-occurring issues.

  2. How to Know if You’re Enabling a Teen

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    It is difficult for parents when their teen is struggling with an addiction. They want to do everything they can to support their teen. But unfortunately, what the parents consider supporting their teen often means enabling. It’s not intentional, however, it doesn’t help the teen.

    What Is Enabling

    By definition, enabling means doing something for someone that they are capable of doing themselves. When parents allow a teen struggling with addiction to avoid or delay consequences of their behavior, it is defined as enabling. It is a tricky concept and has roots in substance abuse treatment, where this kind of behavior is commonly seen in the people who care about the individual or teen who is struggling with substance abuse.

    What are the ramifications of enabling? When a parent continues to make excuses for their teen’s substance abuse, thus delaying any consequences for them, as well as taking away the teen’s motivation to stop their abuse of drugs or alcohol and start taking responsibility for their actions.

    Examples of Enabling

    A parent may be enabling their teen if they do any or all of the below:

    • Agreed to lie when their teen missed school or work, such as calling in sick on their behalf.
    • Let their teen return home after running away without any consequences.
    • Avoiding confrontation with their teen over unfinished chores due to concerns about their response.
    • Choosing to believe their teen’s stories about what they’re doing and turning a blind eye to the truth.
    • Not expressing concerns about their behavior to them.
    • Loaned them money knowing it will probably never be returned.
    • Ignored possible signs of teen drug use or self-harm.

    The Dangers of Enabling

    It is ironic that the parents’ enabling behavior comes from their good intentions to help their teen. If the parents have been enabling their teen, then it is important to note that the enabling behavior may be hurting the teen in the long run. It goes without saying that when the teen struggling with addiction doesn’t have to take responsibility for their actions or face consequences because their parents keep making things easier for them, then it’s going to take that much longer for the teen to recognize just how serious their problems are and want to make any real change.

    Once the parents realize how harmful their own behavior is, they should start to back off and let their teen begin to deal with the consequences. Ultimately, this is what will help the teen struggling with the addiction to heal.


    With a unique approach to adolescent care, Sustain Recovery provides long term residential solutions. Our programs offer a safe and structured environment wherein adolescents are able to maintain a meaningful, fun and substance free way of life.


  3. Effects of Cocaine on the Body

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    drug side effects

    Cocaine is a powerful, expensive drug that delivers a short, intense euphoria. Everybody knows that. But how exactly does it work? What occurs inside the body and brain when somebody snorts cocaine, and what are the side effects, apart from the obvious ones?

    Once it enters the bloodstream, cocaine makes its way to the brain’s reward center and triggers a massive dopamine rush. As a result, users experience a sense of joy, alertness, and energy. The side-effects, on the other hand, are hardly detectable to the user him or herself; that’s part of what makes cocaine so dangerous. When you couple a fabulous feeling (euphoria) with a dangerous physiological phenomena (raised heart rate and blood pressure), you’re bound to wind up in the emergency room soon or a later.

    Methods, Time and Duration

    There are three common ways of administering cocaine: inhaling, which is done with a pipe; snorting, which is done with a rolled up dollar bill or note card; and injecting, which is achieved by dissolving the cocaine in water and administering it intravenously using needles.

    Cocaine addiction happens before the addict knows what hit them. Very quickly, after just weeks of regular use, they become bogged down by anxiety, panic, paranoia, restlessness. The behavior isn’t specific to drug abusers, but it’s a sign to watch out for nonetheless.

    Withdrawal and Treatments for Cocaine Abuse

    After using cocaine for several days or longer, it’s not easy to stop. In a desperate bid to retain a state of physiological balance, the human brain will slow its functions. It’s not just cravings this causes; it’s all-around lethargy. If the dopamine receptors are damaged badly enough, nothing except cocaine can excite you anymore, that’s when depression hits.

    Several medications originally intended for other conditions happen to help ease cocaine withdrawal. In terms of cocaine-specific drugs, we’re getting closer and closer everyday. Several such drugs are being tested as you read this. The more we learn about the brain, the closer we come.

    In addition to medicinal aid, we must also hone in on the psychological aspect of cocaine addiction. Even if someone doesn’t have to use cocaine, they still might wish to use cocaine. That’s why people relapse: they can’t help but water that seed. Treatments like Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) help us see our situations clearly and realize we don’t even want to use.


    To help get you or a loved one off cocaine for good, call Sustain: 949-637-5499

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.

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