Who You Gonna Call?

Who You Gonna Call?

         Ghostbusters! Okay, maybe they can’t help you with your non-ghost problems, but it’s important to know who can. Who do you call when you’re having a bad day? Who can you reach out to when you’re struggling at school? Who do you trust when you’re struggling with your home-life? These answers are integral to ensuring you are focusing on proper mental health care and healthy communication.

What Constitutes Healthy Support?

  • Listening– a person who supports you not only listens to your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, but they do so without judgment. They aren’t simply looking to change you or force an opinion on you. True support is there to hold space for you without getting anything in return.
  • Consistent– a person who supports you will make time for you, especially if you are going through a rough patch. That doesn’t mean they can give you every moment of their lives, but they will work with you and your schedule to ensure you are supported and heard on a regular basis. They don’t come and go from your life. They are a consistent part of your health and wellness.
  • Support Not Enable– a person who supports you listens and validates your feelings and experiences, but they will not enable you. If you are partaking in destructive behaviors or relationships, they will let you know. They will also go above your head if self-harm or abuse is involved. This thought can feel like a betrayal, but keeping you safe stems from care, compassion, and love.
  • Honesty– a true supporter will tell you the truth and creates a space that allows you to do so, too. They provide a comfortable space where you can truly be yourself, so much so, you may tell them things you’ve never told anyone else. When you’re honest with yourself and, in turn, others, healing can begin.
  • Safe Space– a person who supports you, while still human, has shown you no signs of abuse, toxicity, or harm. They are stable and can consistently offer love, guidance, and emotional support.
  • Growth– a true supporter will always push you to be better. This may hurt sometimes to always hear the truth and see yourself through the eyes of another, but people who love us want the best for us. They help us become our best selves. People who care will help us get out of our comfort zones and help us make the best choices for our best possible future.

It’s important to remember that we are all human and to not make the mistake of putting someone on a pedestal. No one is perfect, so make sure you are reminding yourself that your supports are still humans with regular lives who make mistakes.

When it comes to our supports, we also want to ensure we aren’t creating co-dependency. It’s important to be able to reach out to people in a time of need, but it’s just as important to learn how to support yourself in those moments if others are occupied with their own lives. Lean on your supports, but remember: this time of growth means learning how to lean on yourself.

Who Supports Me?

         You don’t need a whole army of support. You need a few key people in your life you can connect with who will give you the support and guidance you need. This could come in the form of a family member or family friend, a friend, a teacher, a therapist, or a coach.

So now, ask yourself: Who supports you unconditionally? Who ensures you’re feeling okay? Who is there to listen to? Most importantly, who hears you but doesn’t enable negative or self-destructive behaviors? When it comes to a confidant, someone you can trust to help and support, you want to ensure they have your best interest in mind. Take some time to evaluate the people in your life and make sure to tell those who care for you that you see them and they matter.

 Learning to Support Yourself

No matter where you are on your health and wellness journey, the goal is to learn how to support yourself. Yes, you can always rely on a group meeting, a therapist, and close friends and family, but it’s important to learn how to cope and manage your feelings when no one else is available or present. While you work through addiction issues, mental health illness or trauma, be sure to create the ultimate support with yourself. Ask yourself how you are. Make some time to get to know yourself, just as you would a new friend. You might be surprised at how deep the relationship can get.

Sometimes we can’t find the right supports in our families, schools, or communities, and that’s okay. If you or an adolescent you know is struggling with addiction or mental health issues, you can always reach out to the Bougainvilla House. We are here to support you! We offer individual and group therapy programs, along with family counseling to help bring you closer to those who love and care for you. Let us help you create the ultimate support with your community and most importantly, yourself. Call today to learn about our programs and treatment options: (954) 764-7337

The Importance of Coping Mechanisms

         You’ve probably heard the term coping mechanism, especially if you’ve ever been to therapy or a treatment program. Coping mechanisms are behaviors or strategies used to help us deal with a difficult moment or emotion. They are an integral part of health and wellness by helping you focus on what to do instead of enacting a negative behavior or following through with an addictive pattern.

Coping mechanisms can take the place of using, drinking, self-harm, and negative self-talk. They can keep us safe from harm, and they can help us work through an emotional trigger while it’s happening. They are the lifeline to grounding ourselves in reality in a safe and healthy way when facing trauma, dark thoughts, and difficult feelings. Overall, coping mechanisms help us slow down and work through tough moments while they are occurring.

A Coping Mechanism Starter-Pack

Coping mechanisms can be any type of strategy that keeps us from following addictive patterns or negative self-talk, so that means there isn’t one right way to cope. Here are a few proven ways to help you stay safe. You can use the list below as a guide to start your own list and add to it when you learn what works for you.

  •  Breathing: It may sound silly but breathing through a difficult moment can transform your life. It can ground you and slow down your anxiety so you can hear your inner voice. A great technique is called the 4-5-7 method. Breathe in for four seconds, hold the breath for five seconds, and release the breath for a duration of seven seconds. Repeat this sequence ten times and watch your body begin to slow down and regroup.
  • Releasing Tension: In a moment of duress, it’s easy to feed into the anxiety and panic that is building because of nerves or anger. In the moment, stop and do a scan of your body. Where are you holding the tension? Some common areas include clenching your teeth/jaw, shrugging your shoulders up into your ears, and clenching your fists or your legs. When you’re facing a tough moment, assess your body. Make space between your top and bottom jaw and run your tongue along the front of your teeth. Roll your shoulders up and back to release tension and breathe into the space that you feel yourself clenching. Release it all with your exhaling breath.
  •  Movement: Sometimes when our bodies get so worked up, no amount of breathing seems to help. In this case, physically work it out. Head to the gym, go for a run or long walk, dance, or stretch. Sometimes all the body needs is a physical way to release the energy and tension you are currently holding.
  • Get Creative:  Grab a pencil and some paper, pull out an old coloring book, or grab some paint and a brush. Art therapy is a proven way to relax your body and slow your mind while lighting up other areas of the brain that can be healing and therapeutic. Some people may feel they don’t have a creative bone in their body, but the word creative simply means leaning into your own version of art. Cut out magazine clippings and make a collage, create a paper mâché structure, or learn calligraphy. When it comes to mental health, this isn’t about the end result. It’s about exploring new emotions and releasing that which no longer serves us.
  •  Phone a “Friend”: Sometimes our emotions get the best of us, and we get stuck in a mental loop that feels impossible to break free from. Talking to someone can help us acknowledge negative self-talk, recognize harmful patterns, and ultimately calm us down. You could call a close friend, talk to a family member, reach out to a sponsor, set up a time to meet with your therapist, or check in at a group meeting. There are many supports out there available to help, but you have to take the first step to make the call or send the text.

Healing Beyond the Strategies

Coping mechanisms are an important part of the recovery process, but they shouldn’t be the end all be all. It can be difficult to tell when a coping mechanism should be used, especially if we are just starting out on our journey to recovery because, at times, they can be used as a crutch instead of a healing tool. Coping mechanisms help us in the moment, but there is also a lot of work to be done outside of those moments. We need to continuously acknowledge our triggers, work through past traumas in therapy or group, and make healthy choices in our daily lives at school and work. Coping is a way to heal in the moment, but the deeper healing work can’t be forgotten. Cope in the moment but be sure you’re taking time every day to practice self-work and self-care.

Dealing with anxiety, depression, and addiction can be tiring, especially in the beginning stages. It can feel frustrating and isolating, and rightly so. But this work doesn’t need to be done in a vacuum. The Bougainvilla House was created with the intention of helping kids and adolescents work through these feelings and break addictive patterns with the help of family and community. If you or someone you know is struggling to make healthy choices or needs help with the self-work, reach out today at (954) 764-7337 or use our convenient Contact form. Let us help you cope and heal.

Cleaning Up Your Social Media Accounts

Cancel culture has become popular over the last few years. If you make a mistake, society cancels you out which means there are no second chances. While cancel culture may have been based on important movements in this country, it’s an unhealthy way to view the world because there is no room for forgiveness. However, it’s an unfortunate reality we are facing, and whether we want to believe it or not, we are all affected by it.

That’s not to say people who post horrible things shouldn’t be held accountable. The point here is that no one is safe. Whether you’re a 15-year-old in Indiana or a major celebrity, it’s a reminder that perception is a reality. We need to be aware of our words and actions now more than ever. There are celebrities losing work over old Tweets and college students losing scholarships over old pictures. This is a hard truth, but in a world flooded with social media accounts, what we see becomes what we believe.

Because we live in a world where perception is a reality, it’s easy to look at someone’s pictures on Instagram or read a handful of Tweets and begin to make assumptions about that person. We start to draw conclusions based on a few moments in a person’s life. What you see in others is who they become to you. You may think these judgments are harmless but have you stopped to think about the other side of the coin? What are you putting out into the world? What do others see when they see your social media posts? It could be a positive thing if your posts are promoting world change or equality, but if your posts are crude jokes and pictures of you partying, a new narrative is being written.

We can set our profiles to private, and we can send snaps to certain groups, but there are very real dangers behind sending and posting personal information online. A lot of this stuff is permanent, and when you are at the age of college and career, you want to ensure nothing is going to come back and bite you in the butt. It may be time to clean up your social media accounts.

Spring Cleaning Tips

Take some time to scroll through your accounts. If you’ve struggled with drinking or have been known to use in the past, you want to make sure to take down those pictures. This is not to say you should be ashamed of past choices, but others may take posts of drinking, posts where you’re clearly intoxicated, to mean this is who you are. Don’t let those old images define who you are today.  

You also want to be cognizant of what you retweet or repost. If there are vulgar words, posts that are offensive or marginalize, those need to go, especially the latter. We watch people on a daily basis get called out for marginalizing tweets, racists repostings, and far worse. The same can happen to you. All an employer or school needs to do is Google your name. More importantly, if you are someone that enjoys this type of humor, it may be time to dig deeper and ask why. Your humor is a reflection of how you view yourself.

 The last point stems from tone. It’s very difficult to read someone’s tone through their written words, especially if you don’t know them well. If something can be taken the wrong way, or if there is an inside joke that is seemingly offensive, it might be time to remove those posts as well. Many say the world is becoming “too sensitive,” but if someone else is the butt of a joke or comment, you may want to rethink that mindset based on compassion and kindness.

These suggestions may feel like an invasion of freedom, and if that rings true, it may be time to answer the following questions:

-What is my intention behind posting this picture, article, or tweet?

-Am I posting this for attention or validation? If so, what am I lacking in my life?

-Do I need to be on social media? If so, why?

These questions aren’t to suggest that social media is wrong or that you shouldn’t be using these apps. These questions get to the root of your actions. They reveal the intention behind your usage which could illuminate a larger issue within your heart and mind. If you are uncomfortable with the answers, it may be time to dig deeper.

The Bottom Line with Social Media

When you work for a company or attend college, you represent their mission. Most businesses, big or small, don’t want an employee partying on Facebook or posting racy content on Twitter. And colleges definitely don’t want scandal based on illegal substances and or racially charged content. You become a reflection of their values, and if they don’t align, you probably won’t be working there long and or you could quickly lose a scholarship.

If you’re still not convinced, consider this. Say you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a teacher, and think back to the judgments you make while scrolling. Do you want your kid being taught by a party monster? Do you want your surgeon drinking every night? Do you want your lawyer making racist jokes? We all make mistakes growing up, and there is no shame in that. But it’s time to step up into the best version of yourself and help this world grow.

         If you’ve been questioning your behaviors and want to take the first step in turning your life around, professional help is always a great option. The Bougainvilla House offers adolescent behavioral health programs for individuals and families. Call us today to see how we can help 954-764-7337 , or use our convenient Contact form.

Finding Balance in an Ever-Changing World

Finding Balance in an Ever-Changing World

There are a million metaphors and similes about life. It’s a roller coaster, it’s like a box of chocolates, and it’s a journey, yet these comparisons have implicit reminders that sometimes life is hard. There are ups and downs, there are various surprises, and it’s a long road we must continue walking with moments of struggle. Some may find this sentiment beautiful, but for others, those who crave routine, peace, and stability, these metaphors are tough truths.

The uncertainty of life stems from many things. Some are internal as the body ages and others are external factors relating to fate, yet both connect to one word: control. Unfortunately, we cannot control fate—internally or externally—but we can control how we react to it all.

Internal and External Factors

It may be an uncomfortable topic, but puberty is real. It brings about significant changes to our bodies, our emotions, and our perspectives. These changes alter mood and can cause teens to feel jaded, tired, or even the vast opposite. Along with the internal changes of the body comes the external consequences. This could look like growth spurts, voice changes, and personality changes that can cause unwanted attention. Put two and two together and you have an awkward math problem.

Besides hormonal issues and physiological happenings in the body, most of our emotions are connected to the outside world. Think about it in terms of literature and the fact that books are centered around conflict. We are humans, humans have emotions, and emotions create conflict. But conflict doesn’t magically arise. External forces affect us, trigger us, and force us to confront whatever is happening. So, while our emotions play a huge factor, they connect to catalysts in the external world.

On top of all that, we have another aspect of the external world called expectation. As teens, we are expected to do the chores, go to school, get a job, possibly go to college, and so much more. Then, there are topics like gender norms, cultural norms, and societal norms that attempt to force us into another box. It’s as if we are in a maze, and we are getting pushed to turn right then left then right again. We don’t really know where we are going, yet we know we are supposed to keep moving forward.

Now think about this new internal world mixed with a new external world. It can feel like the recipe for disaster, and for some of us, we are already experiencing this war. The bottom line here is that this is normal, everyone goes through it, and not every day is going to be a good day. Many people want to preach “good vibes only” and the power of a positive attitude, but the reality is that because we have emotions and myriad external factors, we are undoubtedly going to experience the drops on the roller coaster. However, the drops don’t last forever, and when we accept this truth and process our emotions while they are occurring, we can take negative moments as they come, release them, and return to joy.

Balance and Shifting Perspective

Unlike a roller coaster or box of chocolates, we don’t have a choice when it comes to, well, choice. We are on the ride, we don’t know the outcome, and to find balance, we must accept this idea first. You can find balance by shifting your perspective. Instead of saying, “I hate this ride,” switch the narrative to, “I’m excited to see where it takes me.” If you hate the big dips, focus on cherishing the straightaways and practicing gratitude while they are occurring. If you bite into a candy with a nut and you wanted caramel, remind yourself you can try again.

We want to be present in our darker moments because we want to avoid repressing these experiences. During the drops, try this perspective shift. Instead of asking, “why is this happening to me?” ask, “what is this trying to teach me?” See the difference? Instead of playing the victim to fate, you put the power back in your hands by becoming an adventurer, the warrior of your story. It’s not always easy, but when we finally look under the bed, we realize the monster isn’t so big, and sometimes, it was never there to begin with.

Just because we experience the dips doesn’t mean we have to sit in those moments and stay there. Just like the ride, we won’t constantly be plummeting down. The moment will pass, as will every other emotion and experience. When we are present, we can acknowledge the difficult moments, and more importantly, we can enjoy the good.

It can be difficult to balance all of the emotional and physical changes of adolescence. If you or someone you know is struggling to balance and is using substances to cope, professional help is always a great option. The Bougainvilla House offers adolescent behavioral health programs for individuals and families. Call us today to see how we can help 954-764-7337 , or use our convenient Contact form.

Bullying

Bullying amongst adolescents and teenagers has been going on, in one form or another, since the beginning of human relations. Unfortunately, we have only really established the ability to engage in a serious dialogue about the negative effects of bullying since the early 2000’s. In 2005, the first data on bullying began to be collected by the federal government and at this time, according to the US Department of Education, the prevalence of bullying was shown to be at approximately 28%. As of 2016, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that the prevalence rate had dropped to 20.8%, showing that while bullying overall has shown a decrease, the prevalence of it in middle and high schools is still 1 out of every 5 children.

The Effects of Bullying
Although overall, we may be seeing a decline in bullying nationwide, we cannot afford to become content with these numbers as just one instance of bullying can be a traumatic event for the victim. Generally speaking, victims of bullying do not experience one instance but rather on average, experience bullying at least 1-2 times per week. Bullying can induce a myriad of horrific effects on the victim such as increased isolation, shame, low self-esteem, anxiety, decreased performance in school, and symptoms of depression. Due to the consistent and persistent nature of bullying that is left without intervention, the long-term effects of bullying include potential PTSD, anxiety and depressive disorders, substance abuse, loss of trust, and even an engagement in self-harm as well as suicide. While there are some individuals who argue that bullying behavior can be a natural part of growing up, and they may be right, this notion doesn’t provide solutions for the victims and families who experience very real suffering due this type of behavior left unchecked.


What Are Some Possible Solutions To Bullying?

As the ability to engage in open dialogue about the effects of bullying becomes more realistic, we ought to first look at assertive communication as a primary mode of recourse. Typically, the bully has some real or perceived advantage over the victim which is manifested through physical strength, verbal aggression, or intimidation techniques. Bullies look for what they believe to be individuals who are weak-willed, shy, or defenseless; one way we can fortify ourselves against this kind of susceptibility is to let the bully know, verbally, that we will not stand by and be victimized. The “Three Strikes” rule is effective because it communicates to the bully that we will not stand passively by and allow this behavior. Upon the first incidence of bullying we let them know that this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated; upon the second incident, we communicate that should this happen again, we will notify the relevant authorities. Often times, this will signal to the bully that we will not stand for this treatment, and also that we are willing to make it difficult for them to continue this behavior without punishment. Clearly, this is not a catch-all solution, however, the establishment of confident and assertive language in the potential victim is often enough to deter further attempts at bullying.

Victims Become Victimizers
One of the most primitive psychological defense mechanisms is what’s known as displacement. This occurs when an individual is stripped of their power through the tyrannical actions of another; they cope with this loss of power by reclaiming it through disempowering another, often times through bullying. In other words, bullies tend to have difficult home lives, often times having to endure abuse and neglect of their parents which they can, in turn, take out on classmates in school. In order to address instances of bullying effectively, it is advantageous to understand the forces driving the bullying behavior, so we look to create a connection with bullies in order to show them compassion and understanding.

Cyberbullying
With the rise and ubiquitous nature of social media in contemporary society, cyberbullying has become a prominent subtype of bullying due to its accessibility, convenience, and potential anonymity. While typical bullying can have its limitations due to the fact that many individuals wouldn’t bully another if it required a face to face engagement with the person, social media allows for individuals who might not otherwise bully to engage in intimidation, slander, and humiliation via a medium that alleviates some personal connection and responsibility. Another reason cyberbullying is arguably as harmful as traditional bullying is due to the tendency for a pack mentality to arise in the context of social media where typical constraints on bad behavior might otherwise be regulated. It creates a landscape where, because of the distance of the interactions, individuals feel less personally responsible for their actions and therefore might act crueler than they would should they be faced with the victim in person.

Where Do We Go from Here?
Now that we have examined the effects of bullying, the possible solutions, and the importance of trying to connect with the victims as well as bullies themselves, what can we do in the meantime? Coordinating and communicating with school administrators in order to understand their bullying policies and what should be done in the event that an individual is bullied is a good place to start. Encouraging our children to speak up when they see bullying is another effective way of combatting bullying as well because it communicates to the victimizer that their behavior will not be tolerated. Finally, it is imperative that we seek the help of professionals, such as The Bougainvillea House, in order to foster open communication and compassion for families and children faced with bullying. Remember, we are not alone and The Bougainvillea House can help!

Social Anxiety Among Teens – The Bougainvilla House Cares

Teenage years come with a number of stressors. Social and cultural pressure can take a toll on a teen’s mental health. Social Anxiety among teens is on the rise due to Social Media use, and other modern social pressures. Although most teenagers go through periods of normal anxiety related to the changes that go along with adolescence, those with Social Anxiety Disorder experience fear that is out of proportion to the situations that they face. For some teenagers, social anxiety becomes chronic, affecting school performance, extracurricular activities and the ability to make friends.
Teenage years come with a number of stressors. Social and cultural pressure can take a toll on a teen’s mental health. Social Anxiety among teens is on the rise due to Social Media use, and other modern social pressures. Although most teenagers go through periods of normal anxiety related to the changes that go along with adolescence, those with Social Anxiety Disorder experience fear that is out of proportion to the situations that they face. For some teenagers, social anxiety becomes chronic, affecting school performance, extracurricular activities and the ability to make friends.

Interacting with Peers

Teenagers with social anxiety often have trouble interacting with their peers both in school and in social situations. This can lead to poor performance in school. Students with Social Anxiety can often show the following behaviors:

  • is uncomfortable in group settings
  • has few friends
  • is afraid to start or participate in conversations
  • is afraid to ask others to get together
  • is afraid to call others
  • avoids eye contact
  • speaks softly or mumbles
  • appears to always be “on the fringes”
  • reveals little about him/herself when talking to others

Social Media

Modern technology has made it easier to connect with others throughout the world. With this new accessibility, comes a new set of challenges. Often times young people can hide behind the screen, causing avoidant behaviors in real life.

While social networking sites may help those with social anxiety to more easily initiate and establish social connections, there can be drawbacks as well. These online connections may not be as strong as those created in real life.

On the other hand, social media can give teens a twisted view of reality. On social media, many people present the best version of their lives. This can cause feelings of envy or inadequacy in teens that may already have feelings of social anxiety.

Building Self Esteem

When it comes to reducing feelings of social anxiety, building self-esteem is the best way to reduce feelings of self-doubt. Being generous with praise is a good first step. Teens need to be acknowledged for what they do well.  Commend your child not only for accomplishments but for effort—including those times when it fails to bring the desired results. Teens with social anxiety may feel awkward accepting praise, so make sure the compliments are natural and not forced. It is still ok to criticize the teen when necessary, just try to be constructive, and never speak in a hurtful or demeaning manner.

Encourage your teen to cultivate their talents and interests. Everyone excels at something and helping your teen focus on what they are good at can help develop confidence. Getting involved in activities can also be a great outlet for a socially anxious teen. They can make connections with others that have similar interests. This can give an easy outlet for conversation and social connections.

If you are a parent of a teen that has been struggling with Social Anxiety, professional help is always a great option. The Bougainvilla House offers adolescent behavioral health programs for individuals and families. Contact The Bougainvilla House today to see how we can help. 954-764-7337 Or use our convenient Contact form.

Mental Health Cases Increase, but so do Solutions

If you or a loved one has suffered from mental illness, you know the impact it can have on their life and the lives of people around them. But mental health is one of those things that people often underestimate. For those who don’t have a tangible context for mental illness, it’s critical to remember that it’s not just a feeling in someone’s head. Mental illnesses can seriously impact daily life. More than 18% of adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year and the risk of mental illness is even greater in children. Studies show that over 20% of children, either currently or at some point during their lives, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder. Mental illness is a frighteningly relevant topic. Thankfully, new studies show that there is also relevant hope.

To understand the progress being made, it’s helpful to understand the actual problem. A mental illness can range from what health professionals define as “Any Mental Illness” (AMI) to “Serious Mental Illness” (SMI).  AMI is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder that can vary in impact, ranging from no impairment to mild, moderate, and even severe impairment. SMI is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder resulting in a serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. The burden of mental illnesses is particularly concentrated among those who experience disability due to SMI.

The impact is real. But so is the progress towards providing help for those experiencing mental illness.

If you or a loved one has suffered from mental illness, you know the impact it can have on their life and the lives of people around them. But mental health is one of those things that people often underestimate. For those who don’t have a tangible context for mental illness, it’s critical to remember that it’s not just a feeling in someone’s head. Mental illnesses can seriously impact daily life. More than 18% of adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year and the risk of mental illness is even greater in children.

A study published in The Lancet Psychiatry found that 14-year-old adolescents who had contact with mental health services had a greater decrease in depressive symptoms than those with similar difficulties who didn’t have contact. This Cambridge study is believed to be the first study in adolescents to support the role of contact with mental health services in improving mental health by late adolescence. Previous studies had reported that mental health service use has provided little or no benefit to adolescents, but the researchers argue that this might have been because the design of those studies did not consider whether service users had a mental disorder or not. The approach taken on the new Lancet study enabled comparison between people with similar disorders.

The study produced another positive finding, that young people with mental health problems who have contact with mental health care services are significantly less likely to suffer from clinical depression later in their adolescence than those with equivalent difficulties who do not receive treatment.

It’s clear that mental health is not something that can be underestimated any longer, not if over 450 million people around the world live with mental illnesses. It’s also clear that there are steps we can take for those who need help.

Whether we have a personal context for mental health or not, these findings mean we need to focus more efforts and attention on the utilization and improvement of mental health care, because it could change the statistics, and therefore change lives.

THERE IS HOPE! Call 954-764-7337 or email info@tbhcares.org today to get help for your family. Our counseling office is open every day from 10 AM to 8 PM. Our business office is open Monday-Friday , 8:30 AM to 6 PM.

Common Mental Health Disorders Seen in Teenagers

Teenagers who are struggling with addictions would be well advised to undergo screening for mental health disorders, since these two issues commonly go hand-in-hand. This is partially because teens with mental health disorders may attempt to self-medicate with substances of abuse in order to achieve relief from symptoms. Co-existing disorders present unique challenges, but fortunately, rehabs in Fort Lauderdale can offer treatment programs for both issues.

Anxiety Disorders

There are several types of anxiety disorders, ranging from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) to panic disorder to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Anxiety disorders can significantly reduce quality of life and interfere with a teen’s ability to carry out day to day functions. These disorders can be particularly tricky to diagnose in kids because it can be difficult to differentiate symptoms of a disorder from the normal psychological challenges that occur during the teen years. This is one reason why anxiety disorders in teens often go untreated.

Depressive Disorders

Many teens who have substance abuse problems and anxiety disorders can also have depressive disorders. And much like anxiety disorders, depression is difficult to detect because teens are ordinarily expected to be occasionally moody. When depressive symptoms persist; however, it’s important for parents to consider getting their teen screened. Psychotherapy and other treatments can help adolescents feel more like themselves again.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that requires the attention of a trained provider. When adolescents have schizophrenia, they generally display the gradual development of signs and symptoms that can last for about six to nine months. This is known as the prodrome. It can include signs such as social withdrawal, unusual behaviors, substance abuse, paranoia, poor personal hygiene, and obsessiveness regarding philosophical ideas. Schizophrenia is also associated with delusions and hallucinations.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder often develops between the ages of 15 and 30. It involves significant mood swings, such as from depressive symptoms to euphoria or mania. The adolescent’s mood may persist for a matter of hours, days, or much longer before it shifts to the opposite end of the spectrum. Teens with bipolar disorder are generally treated with medications and psychotherapy.

Does Early Drinking Increase the Risk of Alcoholism Later in Life?

Among the dangers of early drinking behavior in young people is an increased risk of alcoholism later in life. In addition to seeking treatment for alcoholism in Fort Lauderdale for young people who are abusing alcohol as soon as possible, experts also recommend taking steps to discourage underage drinking before it begins to reduce the risk of alcoholism more effectively.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), people who begin to drink before age 14 have a 47% chance of developing alcoholism in adulthood, compare with 9% of people who being drinking after age 21. The younger people are when they begin drinking, the more likely they are to develop alcoholism, while having a family member who also struggles with alcohol abuse raises the risk even more. People who begin drinking at young age also develop alcohol dependency faster and are more likely to have chronic, relapsing alcoholism problems than people who start drinking later in life.

Exploring the Link Between Sexual Assault and Drug Abuse in Teens

Abuse, including sexual assaults, is strongly linked to addiction in both teens and adults. Teens who are the victims of sexual assaults have a higher risk of developing addictions as adults, and they may also turn to substance abuse as a coping mechanism when they are still teens. For teens who been victimized, it’s important to choose a substance abuse program that also offers family counseling or psychotherapy in Fort Lauderdale so that the underlying issues that contributed to the addiction.

Sexual Assault as a Trigger for Drug Use

Sexual abuse, including molestation in the home or assault by a stranger, can be a trigger for addiction for many teens. In order to cope with the repercussions of the abuse, teens may turn to alcohol or drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recognizes being the victim of sexual violence as one of the risk factors for addiction in teens. Teens who were victimized as younger children may also turn to drugs or alcohol during their adolescence because of the impacts of those episodes. Parents who know that their children have been victimized may be able to reduce the risk of future drug abuse by getting therapy for their children when the incident occurs. Teens who enter rehab with histories of sexual assaults are sometimes diagnosed with and treated for post-traumatic stress disorder as a co-occurring condition along their addictions.

Drug Use as a Trigger for Sexual Assault

Teens who use abuse drugs or alcohol also have a higher risk of becoming the victims of sexual assault. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that alcohol is a factor in 40% of all violent crimes, and teens who are abusing drugs and alcohol may engage in sexually risky behaviors. Issues with consent are also possible. These incidences may further exacerbate the addition. Through psychotherapy and counseling, rehab centers can address these issues as part of the wider addiction recovery process.