The teenage years can be an emotional roller coaster, with physical, emotional, hormonal and social pressures and changes that are unique to young people. It’s is not surprising that an estimated 20 percent of all teens suffer from clinical depression. But it is concerning that at least 70 percent of teens with depression go undiagnosed and never receive treatment, which leads many of them to self-medicate by using drugs and alcohol.
Drinking alcohol may numb teens’ feelings of sadness or hopelessness, and drugs may stimulate their brain in a way that improves their mood. While this may ease the symptoms of depression in the short term, it may eventually lead to full blown teen substance abuse and addiction. In many cases your teen’s depression may become stronger and debilitating.
As a parent, it’s important that you be concerned about your child’s mental health as well as their physical health. Depression is especially prevalent among teens with an unstable home life, those who have experienced a stressful or traumatic event, or those in a family that has a history of depression or other mental health disorders. Girls are more at risk than boys, studies have found.
Many parents make the mistake of believing that depression and substance abuse can be managed by enforcing more discipline and boundaries on their teen. In reality, this may only make your child’s depression worse and will likely have little effect on their drug or alcohol use.
At Safe Landing, we specialize in treating depression and other co-occurring mental health disorders along with your teen’s substance abuse problem. Our treatment plans include a combination of evidence-based therapies and supplemental care, and we provide individual counseling to get to the root causes of your teen’s addiction. We teach life skills and coping mechanisms that help your teen learn how to deal with difficult situations and feelings without turning to drugs or alcohol, and family counseling to work through issues that may be contributing to addiction.
Teenagers are often reluctant to share or talk about their feelings, especially with their parents. There are, however, outward symptoms that may signal that your teen has depression. Some examples:
If you recognize these symptoms and suspect that your son or daughter is depressed and using drugs or alcohol, it’s important that you talk to them about your concerns and seek the help of professionals such as the clinicians, therapists and counselors at Safe Landing. We focus exclusively on teenagers and helping them overcome co-occurring mental health disorders along with their substance abuse. We fully understand how to find the underlying causes of your teen’s issues, how to treat them, and how to prepare your son or daughter for a happy, healthy life.