Young Adults, Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Adolescence is a time of change for young people, and substance abuse and mental health disorders often affect these individuals. Whether they develop an issue with a substance, such as alcohol or drugs, or with a mental health disorder, such as anxiety or depression, a multidisciplinary approach is important for treating both.
Stress management skills prevent drug and alcohol abuse
Stress management skills are essential in the fight against drug and alcohol abuse among young adults. Studies show that stress contributes to relapse. As a result, teens are often at risk for substance abuse. The best ways to cope with stress are to learn healthy coping strategies and to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
First, consider the many ways that stress affects your physical and mental health. For example, stress is associated with a reduced sense of self-control. It has been shown to impair executive functions such as working memory and impulse control. This means that you are more likely to use substances to cope with stress and alleviate the symptoms of stress.
Next, a few studies have found that alcohol and drugs may have a measurable effect on the brain. This is because they stimulate the brain's reward centers. Using these substances to combat the effects of stress can make you feel better in the short term, but your stress levels may actually increase in the long term.
Adolescence is a time of change for teens
Adolescence is a time of change for teens, and it is a critical period for developing relationships with peers and with parents. Teens are often impacted by substance abuse and mental health disorders. However, with the proper help and supervision, youth and their families can overcome the challenges that come with adolescent mental health.
While adolescents are changing at different rates, they also are going through some key changes in their bodies. These include changes in the brain. For instance, the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until early adulthood. In addition, teenagers are more likely to have problems with depression.
Mental health disorders in adolescents can lead to drug use. Amongst adolescents, the most common disorders are anxiety, mood, and attention disorders. Many teens self-medicate depression with alcohol.
Identifying triggers for substance abuse and mental health disorders
Finding the right triggers is an important component of recovery from substance abuse. Triggers may be internal or external. For example, a large holiday like Christmas can be a big trigger for some people.
One of the best ways to cope with triggers is to find activities that are fun. You can also try avoiding the things that may bring on a craving for a substance.
It can be difficult to avoid all of the triggering factors, so be prepared to take some extra steps to prevent a relapse. This might include a support system, enlisting the help of others or finding a new way to spend your time.
A trigger is a physical or emotional stimulus that makes you want to do something. It might be an evocative situation, a particular song or a physical response.
A multidisciplinary approach to treatment for co-occurring problems
Addiction is a disease that is defined as a "disorder in which a person's behavior is characterized by compulsive or obsessive behaviors," and a "disease of the mind" which includes circuits that control the reward system and memory. Symptoms of addiction are usually related to substance abuse. The goal of treatment is to restore and maintain healthy functioning in the brain.
Integrated treatment programs can help people overcome the debilitating effects of both mental health disorders and addiction. Treatment is often conducted in a residential setting where the individual has access to all the resources necessary to achieve recovery. These include mental health professionals, medical support, and behavioral therapies.
A multidisciplinary approach is often needed to treat severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Psychiatrists may train general physicians to help with management of these disorders.
Coping with substance abuse and mental health disorders
Coping with substance abuse and mental health disorders affects young adults in a number of ways. The first and most obvious is the fact that substance use can exacerbate mental illness. Drugs can provide a temporary respite from reality, and in some cases can alleviate unwanted mental health symptoms. However, addiction is a destructive condition that can lead to trouble with the law.
Addiction is defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine as "a chronic disease characterized by an inability to control the urge to consume an addictive substance despite harmful consequences." Substances that are considered addictive include alcohol, marijuana, sex, and gambling.
Drug abuse is a common problem among teens, with more than a quarter of all teenagers abusing a drug. Teens are more vulnerable to drug abuse because they are still developing their brains. Stress can also affect the brain and make it more susceptible to addiction.