Tag Archive: treatment

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

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    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

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

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    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. 

  3. Importance of Life Skills for Adolescents Healing From Addiction

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    Importance of Life Skills For Adolescents Healing From Addiction

    The process of adolescents healing from addiction is challenging and extends past treatment. However, during treatment, adolescents can begin to build the necessary life skills that will help them to succeed. These skills will help them to live independently and decrease their likelihood of relapse later in their lives. While the skills will vary for each individual, they will help their recovery by giving them the necessary tools to manage and solve issues and face the challenges they will experience in their lives.

    Learning Life Skills

    The term “life skills” encompasses the skills necessary for individuals to be able to cope with the challenges and demands of life. These challenges will vary for each individual. However, the skills to manage them generally include improved communication, time management, and problem-solving techniques to manage challenges and daily life.

    Every adolescent will have a different starting point when it comes to learning life skills. However, in treatment, each individual will be evaluated and aided on their road to improving current skills and learning new ones. The process of learning life skills is ongoing; however, it begins with the understanding of the skill itself and the knowledge of why it is important to learn it.

    Once an adolescent begins to understand the skills necessary for good communication, time management, problem-solving, etc., they can begin to incorporate them into their own lives. In doing so, they begin to take ownership, which helps to empower them. As adolescents continue to grow, their skills will improve and change, but the foundation of these life skills during this stage will help this process.

    Value of Life Skills After Treatment

    After treatment, adolescents recovering from addiction need to continue to take steps to heal. This includes continually improving and working on life skills. By learning and improving life skills after treatment, adolescents can build resilience, care for themselves better, and manage their relapse risk in the future. Therefore, improving life skills is incredibly valuable for adolescents to heal and thrive after treatment.

    Improved Resilience

    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains that resilience is an individual’s capacity to deal with challenges and changes in life. This includes dealing with difficult situations and learning from them so that they are better prepared for the next stressor. For adolescents healing from addiction, resilience is important. This is because stress is a part of life. Knowing how to deal with it with resiliency helps protect adolescents from substance abuse in the future.

    Learning life skills is an important way to improve resiliency. This is because these skills help them to solve problems and manage their lives, internally and externally. For example, improved communication gives adolescents the tools to set limits and have more intimate and honest relationships. Additionally, skills like time or stress management help them to make changes to build resiliency and better deal with the challenges they experience. Therefore, by learning life skills, adolescents increase their capacity and overall resilience.


    As adolescents grow up, they need to learn life skills that help them to care for their needs in adulthood. Ideally, these skills will include some that help them to heal from addiction. Self-care skills include those that help them to care for their needs emotionally, mentally, and physically. Therefore, life skills like managing finances, communication, and healthy eating and exercise habits are vital.

    Adolescents are generally still living at home. However, it is the ideal time for them to learn life skills that will help them to heal from addiction now and not fall back into substance abuse in the future. According to research, self-care plays an important role in helping individuals to feel more comfortable in their skin and preventing the abuse of substances in the future. When adolescents learn the skills that they will utilize for self-care in the future, they are helping the healing process and ensuring their health into adulthood.

    Managing the Risk of Relapse

    After treatment, one of the primary concerns is to manage and decrease an adolescent’s risk of relapse. This generally includes many changes in an adolescent’s life. Often they include who they spend time with, how they spend their time, and improving upon skills that protect them from relapsing. Life skills can help to make this transition and manage their risk of relapse while at home and in the long term.

    Improved life skills help to enhance decision-making, problem-solving, and stress management, which ultimately leads to decreased substance use. This is because when adolescents lack life skills, they are more likely to give up on challenging problems. Additionally, they are more likely to be looking for a way to manage stress. However, with improved life skills, they can solve issues and manage their stress levels with healthy communication, external changes, and stress-relieving techniques that help them to keep their distance from substance use and high-risk situations.

    When adolescents are healing from addiction, learning life skills helps them to live independently and decreases their chances of relapse. While every adolescent will have their own unique journey, these life skills are often learned in treatment and expanded throughout their lives. At Sustain Recovery, we understand that healing from addiction is a long road. However, we believe that adolescents can learn skills that will help them heal. As they age, these skills will help them to thrive as adults and reduce their chances of relapse. We offer a broad spectrum of treatment options that can help adolescents where they are on their recovery journey. To learn more, call (949) 407-9052 today. 

  4. Importance of Helping Your Teen Build Life Skills After Treatment

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    Importance of Helping Your Teen Build Life Skills After Treatment

    When your teen returns home after treatment, they must build skills that support their mental health and sobriety. Life skills, the skills necessary or desirable to participate in daily life, will provide support for the transition that your teen is making out of treatment. It is particularly important that your teen learns and improves life skills after treatment as it helps to improve long-term mental health and decrease the risk of relapse in the future.

    What Are Life Skills?

    Life skills will help your teen in many ways. However, you may wonder: What exactly are life skills? The term “life skills” refers to a broad range of skills, ones that help your teen to build healthy relationships, manage their time, and problem-solve. Life skills include, but are not limited to, communication skills, awareness, planning, and problem-solving.

    These foundational skills are the base for many things in your teen’s life. They help them to build healthy relationships by communicating their needs, empathizing with others, and drawing effective boundaries. Additionally, they give them the ability to manage their time and emotions and face challenges. These skills will help your teen in both school and work.

    Value of Life Skills After Treatment

    Treatment is often the first step to a more significant change in your teen’s life. Treatment can serve as a wake-up call for your child to make changes that can help them to live a different life than before. However, it doesn’t end with treatment. When your teen builds life skills after treatment, they are building on the foundation learned in treatment. These skills will help your teen to improve their mental health, decrease their risk of relapse, and give them long-term skills that can help them be successful on whatever path they choose.

    Mental Health

    As a group, life skills directly relate to your teen’s mental health. However, they can be broken down into different categories. First, there are social skills. When your teen has healthy social skills, they can form relationships, empathize with others, and maintain healthy relationships. This gives them lasting and beneficial social support, which research has shown to lead to a decrease in your teen’s risk of depression.

    Additionally, skills like scheduling and critical thinking help your teen to build a life that supports their mental health. This might include finding activities to manage anxiety, incorporating exercise into their schedule, and more. Regardless of the specifics, planning and adjusting to make these actions possible requires life skills.

    Risk of Relapse

    After treatment, it is normal to be concerned about your teen’s risk of relapse. Fortunately, life skills can help to manage this risk. While life skills vary, they are ultimately building blocks that help facilitate change. For your teen to stay sober, they need to make changes, which is where life skills come in.

    Building life skills provides tools that will help your teen build a different, more positive life after treatment. Actions to do this might include making new friends, joining in new activities, or refocusing on school. While the specific needs to prevent relapse will vary, your teen is more likely to be successful as they learn and build life skills.

    Long-Term Habits

    When your teen returns home from treatment, they are fresh from a new environment where they processed and learned many different skills. Therefore, it is an ideal time for them to continue to improve and build new ones. These skills will help your teen to build a new life after treatment, incorporating what they have learned into their daily life – at home and in school.

    Additionally, adolescence is a window of opportunity for learning. This is due to the changes that are occurring in the brain. Fortunately, this means that the habits and behaviors that your teen may have exhibited before going to treatment do not have to be permanent. As a parent, you can help your adolescent learn new skills that can become long-term behaviors to manage their health, build community, and more.

    Helping Your Teen Build Life Skills After Treatment

    After treatment, you are the primary monitor of your teen’s improvement, and you see them daily. This puts you in a position to help your teen build life skills from the foundation they learned in treatment.

    Your teen is unique. This means that the skills they need to develop and effective ways to help them will be specific to them. However, you can help your teen by creating structure and teaching them how to build the skills necessary to thrive. If you are uncertain how to do so, that is okay. As a parent, you can work with mental health care professionals who can help you to learn the skills to teach and lead your teen into a new direction in their life.

    When your teen returns home from treatment, they will have learned many new skills and built a solid foundation. However, at Sustain Recovery, we know this is not the end of the road. We believe that you as parents can help support the transition back home while helping your teen continue to build life skills that will enable them to build and maintain community, manage stress, and more. While there are difficulties in parenting a teen who is returning from treatment, it is an opportunity to help them build a better life. To learn more about our programs at Sustain Recovery, and how we can support your teen, call us today at (949) 407-9052.

  5. How Improving a Sleep Routine Builds Long-Term Success in Treatment

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    How Improving a Sleep Routine Builds Long-Term Success in Treatment

    Adolescents who struggle with addiction, mental health, and trauma often have long-term challenges. However, by getting treatment and addressing the issues head-on, adolescents can build a set of skills that helps support them far beyond their teenage years. Creating a consistent and helpful sleep routine is one form of structure that sets adolescents up for success later on. By learning a structure that is helpful for them, their risk of relapse decreases, their mental health improves, and they have coping skills that can help them throughout their adult life.

    What a Sleep Routine Looks Like in Treatment

    When an adolescent is in treatment, their routine is highly structured and regulated. The specific routine will vary for each teen; however, it is the ideal time and environment to build a new routine because adolescents will have a tremendous amount of support and care. This will help them make necessary changes and experiment with different routines to see what suits them best.

    Part of an adolescent’s sleep routine in treatment will be regulated if they are in residential or inpatient treatment. This is due to the 24-hour support and structure. Additionally, in a residential program, adolescents will be encouraged to try different tactics that help to improve their sleep. However, adolescents who are receiving treatment and living at home will have less support from treatment center staff. Therefore, parents can help them to improve their sleep routines. It is especially helpful if parents work with the treatment caregivers to understand the value of these changes.

    Value of a Sleep Routine for Long-Term Success

    To have long-term success in recovery, adolescents need to learn and create routines that support their mental health and sobriety. While self-care routines all impact each other, sleep is particularly important for decreasing their risk of relapse, improving overall self-care, and managing stress in treatment and later on in life. As adolescents create and practice their new routines, the hope is that they become normalized for them. In doing so, they are supported by the structure they have created when things get difficult.

    Risk of Relapse

    Addiction and substance use impact an adolescent’s sleep patterns. Therefore, during treatment, it is common for adolescents to struggle to get back to a normal and healthy sleep routine. However, when they do, they improve their ability to stay sober long-term. Research has found that with sleep loss or disruption of the circadian rhythm, which is the body’s 24-hour clock, the circuits that control reward-seeking and relapse behaviors are affected.

    Therefore, sleep deprivation or changes in routine that impact sleep can lead to relapse. It is believed that this is due to the changes that occur in the brain due to lack of sleep. Specifically, the frontal lobe, responsible for logical reasoning, is inhibited when an adolescent has an inadequate amount of sleep.


    There are many aspects of self-care, and having a sleep routine is one. For adolescents, the idea of staying up all night can seem cool, but they can learn the value of sleep and begin to improve their sleep routine. In doing so, they are building self-care patterns for their life. While many things change as teenagers grow up, many of these patterns will stick around. For example, if an adolescent learns to follow a certain sleep routine at home, when they go to college, they might change it some, but the foundation of it will remain.

    Stress Management

    Many adolescents struggle to learn how to manage stress. However, when they become adults, the stress will not magically go away. Therefore, adolescents need to learn effective methods of managing stress early on. A regular sleep schedule is one effective and easy way to do so. Sleep can help improve stress by decreasing the perception of stress and helping individuals to alleviate it. Therefore, when an adolescent struggles to get enough quality sleep, they will feel the effects of stress more acutely and be less able to recover from it.

    Building a Sleep Routine

    Getting enough sleep is vital for all adolescents, especially for those who are building structure in their lives to support long-term recovery. However, the action of building a sleep schedule can be difficult. The first step to understanding a sleep schedule is to understand that sleep is regulated by the circadian rhythm. Again, this is the body’s 24-hour clock that releases hormones and neurotransmitters, telling the body when to sleep, be alert, eat, and more.

    A sleep routine may include actions in the evening and throughout the day. Parts of an evening sleep routine commonly include relaxing, winding down without using electronics, and following a routine that is easy and helps the body and mind settle down before sleep. Getting outside, having a useful exercise routine, and spending time in the sun are also important factors that can improve an adolescent’s sleep.

    When adolescents are in treatment, it is an ideal time for them to build new routines that they can use in recovery. Creating a consistent sleep routine is a structure that they can take into adulthood to support their recovery and mental health. At Sustain Recovery, we believe that a combination of behavioral changes and evidence-based clinical interventions provides the best treatment for adolescents to address their addiction and mental health needs. In our programs, teens will improve their awareness and build skills that help them, both now and in their long-term recovery. To learn more about our programs or to speak with a staff member, call us today at (949) 407-9052

  6. The Value of Sleep For Adolescents Healing From Trauma

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    The Value of Sleep For Adolescents Healing From Trauma

    Many adolescents experience some sort of trauma in their lives. While trauma can include physical, verbal, or sexual abuse, adolescents can also experience trauma by witnessing events that cause distress. Frequently, these traumatic experiences can cause issues falling asleep and staying asleep. However, for adolescents to heal from trauma, they need to get adequate sleep on a regular basis. Getting a sufficient amount of quality sleep helps adolescents to process memories and improve overall mental health. By working with health care professionals, adolescents can improve their sleep by undergoing trauma treatment, working on mental health issues, and creating new routines around sleep.

    Effect of Trauma on Sleep

    When an adolescent experiences trauma, they are impacted in many ways. This often leads to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep due to nightmares or frequent wake-ups. However, each adolescent will have their own experience and will face different challenges depending on multiple variables such as age, type of trauma, and predisposition.

    Falling Asleep

    Experiencing trauma causes physiological changes in individuals of all ages, including adolescents. These changes are a response to trauma. In a survival sense, this is very helpful because it cues the brain and body to be prepared for danger. However, after the event has passed, ideally, the body and mind will be able to shift back to feeling safe.

    When the physical arousal does not diminish, it becomes very hard to relax as the body does not feel safe. However, sleep is naturally consolidated into times and places when a person feels safe. Therefore, the physiological reaction to trauma causes changes that make it difficult for adolescents to fall asleep. This leads to many sleepless nights that create fatigue, lack of focus, and many other mental and physical health challenges.

    Staying Asleep

    Sleeping enough entails being able to fall asleep and stay asleep. However, after adolescents experience trauma, having nightmares and waking up regularly through the night becomes more common. While this experience will be unique for each individual, these disruptions change the type of sleep they are getting.

    One theory that helps shine a light on these sleep disturbances is the “threat simulation theory” regarding dreaming. According to this theory, after events that are or feel threatening, the part of the brain that assesses and manages threats increases its activation. According to research, this is one reason why many adolescents who experience trauma struggle to stay asleep, as this activation increases their chances of nightmares which they may or may not remember. These nightmares commonly cause them to suddenly wake up.

    Importance of Sleep in Healing From Trauma

    When an adolescent is struggling with trauma, they experience symptoms of ongoing distress like anxiety or fear. Additionally, unprocessed trauma can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which leads to intrusive thoughts, triggers, and memories associated with the traumatic event. Therefore, when an adolescent is healing from trauma, they need to both process their memories and decrease their feelings of distress. Sleep can help with both.

    Consolidation of Memories

    The consolidation of memories can be thought of as memories or experiences being organized and woven into a person’s understanding of life. Adolescents, and individuals of all ages, process memories in several ways, one of which is sleep. Research has found that during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, individuals consolidate emotionally toned memories. These are the memories that have emotions attached to them. Therefore, during sleeping hours, these memories are processed and separated from their emotional tone. This results in decreased reactivity to the memory.

    Decrease Distress

    Experiencing consistent distress is exhausting. While distress is a natural and healthy response during dangerous situations, for many adolescents, it is persistent after trauma. Therefore, an important part of healing is finding ways to decrease distress.

    Sleep is one way that helps adolescents heal from the distress caused by trauma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an inadequate amount of sleep increases an individual’s risk of frequent distress. Therefore, when adolescents improve their sleep, they are more likely to feel less distress, which can help them heal from trauma.

    How Adolescents Can Improve Sleep

    Improving sleep quality and quantity can feel daunting, especially for adolescents. However, there are several simple and effective ways that can help. First, getting an adequate amount of exercise helps adolescents to burn off some energy during the day. This helps them to feel more tired and relaxed when they head to bed.

    Additionally, adolescents can begin to build healthy habits by creating a bedtime routine. This will look different for each individual; however, it often includes turning off electronics 30-60 minutes before bed and finding a way to relax. Many adolescents need to try different options until they find a routine that is helpful for them.

    Sleep is often disrupted for adolescents who have experienced trauma that causes insomnia or nightmares. However, improving sleep quality and quantity is necessary for adolescents to heal. For adolescents who have experienced trauma, it is important for them to build new and healthy habits that help them to heal. This includes finding methods that improve their sleep. At Sustain Recovery, we work with adolescents who struggle with trauma, mental health disorders, and addiction. We help our clients create life skills that will help them heal and manage life into adulthood. To learn more about our programs and levels of care, call us today at (949) 407-9052 and speak with a member of our staff.

  7. How Can I Help My Teen Build a Healthier Community After Treatment?

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    How Can I Help My Teen Build a Healthier Community After Treatment?

    When your teen returns home from treatment, they will need to change many things about their lives. This includes the people they spend time with. By building a healthier community that supports their mental health and sobriety, your teen can connect with others and enjoy themselves in new friendships. However, this step toward cultivating a new community can be challenging. As a parent, you can support your teen through this transition by encouraging them to try out new things and by helping them discover what type of community they might enjoy.

    When you are considering how to help your teen build a healthier community, it is essential to first consider what that means. A healthy community will vary for each adolescent based on their interests, personality, and preferences; this includes close friendships. These are trustworthy friends who will support your teen with kindness and respect.

    The Value of a Healthier Community

    A healthy community helps your teen stay on the right track. Adolescence is a time in your child’s life when many things are developing, including their brain. As a result, your teen is more susceptible to stress and addiction. After treatment, this is particularly true. Having a community that encourages your teen to maintain their sobriety will help decrease their risk of using drugs and alcohol again.

    A healthy community is filled with good friendships, which also helps your teen’s health. Researchers have found that adolescents with no community or friendships have an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and hospitalization for health concerns. Therefore, the friendships and community your teen forms after treatment can help them maintain their health far into adulthood.

    Helping Your Teen Find a Healthier Community

    As a parent, you can help your teen take the necessary steps to find and connect with a healthier community. When your teen arrives home after treatment, you might wonder how to facilitate this change and what it looks like to support them. Remember that the time after treatment can be challenging for both you and your teen. You can get through it and provide the support they need.

    Working With Your Teen

    When considering how to support your teen, it is essential to remember to work with them. This means that you are not planning and directing them. Instead, try discussing your mutual expectations and helping them discover what kind of community might work for them.

    Working with your teen includes you being open about your expectations and why you hold these expectations. Explain that you are concerned about them spending time with their old community and why. After treatment, your teen may already be aware of the changes they need to make. However, you need to be on the same page to work together.

    The next step is to help them explore what a new and healthier community might look like for them. Try asking them questions that make them think about the type of community they might enjoy. If this is not effective, you could also make a list of suggestions for them to consider. This might include sports teams, arts groups, or other activities that provide a healthy community.

    When working with your teen, it is important to remember that they are growing and developing. Therefore, they might want to try connecting with a community that you wouldn’t expect. If it is a healthy place for them, encouraging these changes can help them to grow and explore their options outside of the community of people they used to spend time with.

    Supporting Your Teen

    Building a new and healthier community is not a one-step process. Once you have initiated the first step and made a plan with your teen, you must provide continued support for them. Setting a regular check-in time throughout the week can help you stay engaged and provide a structured time for them to open up with you.

    Supporting your teen also means helping them explore their options. People of all ages often do not find the right fit the first time. If your teen tries spending time in a community and doesn’t like it, that is okay. Accepting that it isn’t a good fit and helping them find a community they enjoy or connect with better is the best option. In doing so, you are encouraging them while showing them how to explore their options healthily.

    While it is essential to work with your teen and support them, remember you do not always have to say yes. Saying yes often leads to enabling. As a parent of a teen just out of treatment, there is a time for you to say no. Supporting your teen while building a healthier community means helping your teen by providing precise and consistent boundaries. Over time, your teen will understand the value of these boundaries and how they relate to their continued mental health and sobriety.

    A healthy community is essential for people of all ages. However, for adolescents recently out of treatment, it is crucial. As a parent, you can support your teen by helping them understand the value of a healthy community. Additionally, your encouragement and structure can help them build a community that they enjoy and is healthy. At Sustain Recovery, we believe that all teens can learn the necessary skills to change their lives. In our programs, we help teens learn new skills that will help them to build a community after treatment and into adulthood. To learn more about our programs and how we can help your teen, call us at (949) 407-9052 today. 

  8. Can Exercise Help Prevent Teen Relapse?

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    Can Exercise Help Prevent Teen Relapse?

    Parenting a teen who is in recovery is not an easy job. It is normal for parents to feel concerned about the risk of their teen’s relapse. While adolescents must learn to take responsibility for their sobriety, as a parent you can help them. This is particularly important if your teen is just out of treatment. One way to help is to encourage and assist them in building healthy habits, including exercise. In doing so, you are helping them reduce their risk of relapse now and in the future.

    Importance of Avoiding Relapse Immediately After Treatment

    Getting treatment for your teen is the first step to helping them heal. However, addiction is a chronic disease in which individuals are prone to relapse. As a result, avoiding relapse is one of the main goals of recovery. A particularly important time to help your teen avoid relapse is immediately after treatment.

    When your teen is freshly out of treatment, they return home to an environment where they have struggled with substance use in the past. Therefore, the surroundings and relationships are more likely to facilitate them using drugs and alcohol again. This makes the time immediately after treatment an important time to help your teen manage their risk of relapse. While it will look different for each individual, helping your teen find ways to build a new lifestyle will help.

    Contributing Factors to Teen Relapse

    The first step to managing relapse is understanding what contributes to your teen’s risk of relapse. Each individual will have a unique blend of factors that play a role. However, mental health, social groups, and stress often impact the risk.

    Mental Health

    Addiction and mental health are closely linked. Many teens who struggle with addiction have co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety. Additionally, other aspects of mental health, such as self-esteem, are often impacted by substance use and play a role in relapse. As a result, poor mental health will impact your teen’s risk of relapse. Therefore, helping your teen improve their mental health is one tool to aid in their relapse management.

    Social Groups

    Before treatment, your teen likely participated in and was a part of certain social groups. Teens who use substances commonly spend time with peers who also use drugs and alcohol. When your teen returns to their life after treatment, they are unlikely to find adequate support from these social groups.

    One way to manage your teen’s risk of relapsing is to support them in finding set social groups that help them stay sober. Research supports this idea. Findings indicate that a lack of adequate social support is one of the primary factors in adolescent addiction and relapse, making social groups an important contributing factor in your teen’s risk of relapse.


    There are many reasons why adolescence is a stressful period in your child’s life. Many physical, emotional, and mental changes occur during this time, which can cause stress. Additional negative life events can increase stress for teens. However, it’s important to understand that stress is a contributing factor to relapse. Research shows that chronic stress in adolescents increases their vulnerability to addiction and relapse. Helping your adolescent to find healthy ways to manage stress can therefore help them decrease their risk of relapse.

    How Exercise Can Decrease Risk of Relapse in Your Teen

    Exercise is a simple and effective method to help your teen manage factors commonly contributing to relapse. By improving their mental health, building new social groups, and giving them a healthy outlet for stress, increased exercise can make a huge difference in your teen’s life.

    Helping your adolescent get more exercise will have a positive impact on their mental health. Whether they are struggling with a specific mental health disorder or not, exercise helps adolescents to improve their self-esteem. It also helps decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Exercise can also help them feel more energized and focused while releasing physical energy that is pent up from more sedentary activities.

    After treatment, helping your teen build a new social circle can be challenging. You do not want to encourage them to spend time with their old social circles if they encourage substance use or unhealthy behaviors. However, it is crucial for your teen to have a community. Exercise is an easy way for teens to build new relationships that are centered around sports or other activities. Helping your teen find an exercise they enjoy can help them bond with others over a mutual interest.

    Finally, exercise is a healthy way for teens to manage stress. When they are experiencing stress, getting exercise can release the feelings they have built up. However, it can also help them become more resilient to stress overall. Both of these are positive outcomes of exercise that can provide your teen with important tools to maintain their sobriety. In doing so, your teen will build a foundation that supports their recovery – now and in the future.

    Exercise is a way for teens to release energy, improve their mental health, and manage stress. As a parent, your encouragement and support can help your teen find ways to get more exercise and build a community around it. At Sustain Recovery, we believe that recovery is a result of making sustainable changes. In our programs, we use evidence-based clinical treatment modalities that help our clients learn new skills and habits that support their mental health and sobriety. We offer multiple levels of care that can be individualized to meet each client’s needs. If you are interested in learning more about our program and how we can help your teen, call us today at (949) 407-9052.

  9. Helping Adolescents Maintain Joyful Exercise After Treatment

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    Helping Adolescents Maintain Joyful Exercise After Treatment

    When returning home after treatment, adolescents will need to build and develop a new lifestyle. Many aspects of their lifestyle can help them thrive after treatment, including exercise. While some teens will enjoy more stereotypical routes of exercise like running or going to the gym, others may find these more of a chore. As a parent, you can help your adolescent child to find a type of exercise that is joyful. When they incorporate it into their lives, they are more likely to stick with it long-term, which can help them maintain their sobriety and mental health after treatment.

    Helping Your Teen Find Joyful Exercise

    Due to the current culture, exercise is often thought of as going to the gym or jogging. For many adolescents, however, these activities can be dull and more of a chore than anything else. However, as a parent, you can encourage and support your adolescent in finding alternative methods to exercise that bring them true joy.

    The first step is to open your mind to all the ways an adolescent can exercise. It is helpful to think of exercise as physical movement. Help your teen find ways to get physical movement and increase their heart rate. This means that activities like playing frisbees, hiking, or dancing are all methods of exercise. Looking outside the box and exploring activities like martial arts is also an option.

    Supporting your teen in finding joyful exercise means taking the time to try multiple options. As a parent, you can help facilitate this by encouraging them to try something new. Then, ask them how they felt about it. Did it bring them joy? Do they want to go back? If not, were there any aspects that they enjoyed? By asking questions and listening, you can help your adolescent child discover how they feel about different forms of exercise. Over time, you can help them find what types and parts of different kinds of exercise they enjoy. This information will help them to find an exercise that they enjoy now; it can be adjusted in the future as needed.

    Importance of Finding Joyful Exercise

    When your teen is recently out of treatment, they need to find alternative ways to cope with life that do not include substance use. Exercising in a way they enjoy is a coping method with many benefits, including improving their mood, creating long-term healthy habits, and re-discovering how to feel happy without substances.

    Creating Long-Term Habits

    Adolescents who are in recovery benefit from long-term habits that support their physical and mental health. The lifestyle they have in their teenage years will often persist into adulthood. As a parent, you can help your teen develop habits that make a difference in their recovery – both now and in the future.

    When you help your adolescent discover how exercising can bring joy to their lives, you help them create long-term healthy habits. Research has found that joy and passion are two of the strongest driving forces for physical activity. Therefore, helping your teen discover ways of exercising that bring them joy will help them develop long-term positive habits.

    Improving Mood

    Many adolescents who struggle with addiction have mood disorders or struggle with their mood. Exercising is well known to impact mood in adolescents and adults; exercising joyfully is even more impactful. While each individual has unique triggers for relapse, improving their mood can help decrease their risk of relapse. Immediately after treatment, it is particularly important to help your teen find methods to manage their mood and other triggers.

    Rediscovering Joy Outside of Substances

    Addiction is a disease that impacts the brain. According to the US Surgeon General, every drug has a different effect on the brain, but addictive drugs cause a surge of pleasure neurotransmitters in the brain. The size of the neurotransmitter surge is significantly larger than what is produced in other healthy activities like social bonding or food. This results in activities that used to bring joy being overrun by the neurotransmitters released from substance use.

    As a parent, you can help your adolescent rediscover joy after treatment. In doing so, you are helping them to heal from addiction. Exercise is one way to remodel the reward system in the brain. You may have heard of a runner’s high, which describes the positive feelings an individual gets from running. This is a natural production of dopamine.

    By helping your adolescent find ways to exercise in a joyful way, you are encouraging them to remodel their life. When they find enjoyment through exercising they have an activity they can connect with that makes them feel good. This helps them to build a new life where they feel happiness and satisfaction that does not involve using substances.

    Not all teens enjoy stereotypical exercise methods like team sports or going to the gym. Fortunately, there are many ways to get the benefits of increased exercise. As a parent, you can help your child discover methods of exercise that they enjoy. This in turn will help them to participate in exercise long-term and build a life outside of substance use. At Sustain Recovery, our goal is to facilitate education and improved awareness and build new behaviors that support adolescents in recovery. We offer a variety of treatment levels that can meet your teen where they are. To learn more about our programs and how we can help, call us today at (949) 407-9052

  10. The Repercussions of Increased Media Coverage of Societal Violence

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    The Repercussions of Increased Media Coverage of Societal Violence

    The amount of societal violence has greatly increased and so has the media coverage of violence. From social media to news outlets, videos of violent acts from around the world are easily available to be watched. As a consequence, adolescents are exposed to more violent acts.

    Exposure to imagery and videos that show societal violence affects adolescents. It can lead to increased levels of trauma, poor mental health, and behavioral issues such as increased violent behaviors. In part, this is due to the fact that adolescents are still developing, both emotionally and physically. Therefore, while violent media coverage can impact all, adolescents are particularly sensitive to its effects.

    Media Coverage of Societal Violence

    In 2021, there were nearly 700,000 violent crimes in the United States alone. So many of these and other traumatic events are reported on the news and spread across many social media outlets. Due to the increase in media coverage, adolescents have more and more exposure to societal violence.

    Exposure to societal violence includes photos, videos, and interviews that provide full detail of violent events. Depending on the incident or event, media coverage of societal violence may go on for days or even weeks. The extended and thorough news coverage is hard to resist watching and following. This results in adolescents being directly exposed to violent crimes and violent, traumatic events regardless of location.

    Impact of Societal Violence Media Coverage on Adolescents

    Adolescents are at a sensitive point in their lives. Because they are still developing emotional and mental skills, they are more vulnerable to negative environmental exposure, including violence. Exposure to violence can result in trauma, desensitization, and behavioral changes that include increased aggressive behaviors. While impacts on each individual will differ, long-term effects as a result of ongoing media coverage of various types of societal violence can occur.


    Violence in the media is hard for many people to resist. Some say this is due to concerns over safety or an effort to be informed of current events. Others believe that media is alluring in its method of presentation. Regardless of the reason, it is common for adolescents to have a high amount of exposure to violence in the media.

    Trauma can result from exposure to violent events, which can imitate trauma that is a result of violence one experiences firsthand. Research completed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs found that watching news related to the Oklahoma City bombing contributed to increased post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While media coverage can draw adolescents in, it can also increase symptoms of trauma related to violence.


    Being consistently exposed to violence through media coverage can desensitize adolescents both emotionally and physically to violent events. Research has shown that high exposure to violence decreases the emotional empathy of adolescents, and decreases their reaction to violence. By being exposed to a large amount of violence in the media, adolescents are more likely to normalize violence; normal responses to violence, including an increase in blood pressure and emotional distress, can decrease, depending on the individual.

    Observational Learning From Media Coverage

    It is well known that children and adolescents learn from what they observe. This is called observational learning. Their social behavior continues to grow and change based on what they see and how they interact with others. Because of the way memory works, some of what children and adolescents learn is stored, and thus impacts them long after they have had that specific experience.

    Research has shown that observation of violence creates changes in a child’s understanding of the world. These changes can increase their aggression. In adolescents, these beliefs get solidified. As these beliefs become normal for adolescents, they learn that violence is acceptable and normal behavior. These changes occur due to the violence that they experience as well as the violence that they observe. Due to this method of learning, media coverage creates and helps to solidify increased aggression regardless of an adolescent’s background.


    Media coverage impacts how a person feels. A presentation in the media that shows violence creates feelings of anger and excitement in the viewer. Due to the rise of these feelings, media coverage impacts how an adolescent feels directly after watching violent incidents.

    This plays a role in the behavior of adolescents. Immediately following a media presentation, arousal can cause more aggressive responses to provocation and increased violent behaviors.


    The process of priming is one in which part of the brain is activated by an external event. Then, this brain activation causes a certain thought, emotion, or behavior. As a concept, this means that there is a certain association with items, behaviors, or feelings that are displayed in the media. For example, a news report that shows a gun could create a feeling of aggression or a desire for violence. In theory, this means that when aggression is more front and center in the news, it is more likely to prime aggression in viewers, including adolescents.

    Societal violence has greatly increased, and so has the media coverage of violence. Adolescents have a huge amount of access to violence from all over the globe. The repercussions of this widespread exposure to imagery of actual violence can be seen in increased levels of trauma, mental health episodes, and behavioral issues in adolescents. Sustain Recovery is aware of how adolescents are impacted by media coverage of violence. We use trauma-informed practices to help each teen feel safe and calm in our environment. Our recovery program offers a unique opportunity for teens to heal from trauma and addiction. Call us today at (949) 407-9052 to learn more about our program for adolescents. 

Sustain Recovery changed my life in a way I never considered remotely possible. I arrived in a place where I knew nobody. Sustain Recovery gave me tools so that I never had to be alone again. I learned how to live like an adult and have genuine relationships with other human beings. I gained a sense of self respect, love, and pride from the challenges I was given by staff. I was able to work through the recent loss of my father and I achieved my goal of not taking any psychiatric medication.
I learned that life is an endless balancing act. I have to continually work on myself and my relationships with the people in my life. The staff at Sustain Recovery are all incredibly experienced and spiritual. They were available to me whether I wanted their help or not. Through their efforts and experience, I experienced the inner workings of having an intimate, loving relationship with a loving creator.
Sustain Recovery is “home” for me. I discovered a loving, caring family that helped launch me to a place I would have never dreamed and, if I would have dreamed it, I would never have believed I would be able to accomplish it.

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