Exploring the Link Between Depression and Drug Use in Teens

Teens who use drugs frequently have a co-occurring mental health problem, like depression, alongside their addictions. There is a particularly tight relationship between depression and teen drug use, and frequently, drug addiction recovery programs for teens incorporate psychotherapy or other mental health counseling services into their treatment plans. The link between depression and drug use in teens is complex, but understanding it can help parents and teens find the right programs for treating addiction in Fort Lauderdale for their needs.

Depression and Addiction Cycle

Researchers are unsure what comes first in teens who suffer from addiction and depression. Does depression increase the risk for drug abuse, or does drug abuse make teens more likely to experience depression? Addiction experts believe that both answers are likely to be true, and that teens who suffer from both addiction and depression come to their diseases in different ways. During psychotherapy in rehab, teens may uncover which disease existed first and contributed to the other, which can help shape their rehab and aftercare plans.

Negative Urgency

For teens whose depression is likely a trigger for their drug abuse, researchers have found that negative urgency is a common thread. Negative urgency is a way of coping with depression symptoms that includes acting rashly without thought of the consequences when faced with severe stress. Teens with depression who use negative urgency behaviors seem to have a higher rate of drug abuse connected to their depression, as they use drugs as coping mechanisms. During rehab, teens with negative urgency traits often work on building coping skills to help prevent relapses.

Drug Use Triggers

For teens who are motivated by peer pressure or other factors when they begin to use drugs, depression can be a result of the addiction. The impact of drug use on their lives in school and their personal relationships can cause stress that leads depressive symptoms. Psychological changes caused by drug abuse and the pressure of cravings can also trigger symptoms of depression.

Why the Teenage Brain Is Susceptible to Addiction

Despite what many people believe, addiction is not a disease that only affects adults. The seeds of addition are often found in adolescence, largely because of the nature of the teenage brain. For this reason, addressing addiction recovery with programs designed for teen drug and teen alcohol counseling near Fort Lauderdale is an important part of breaking the cycle.

Watch this video to learn about how teens’ brains put them at risk for addiction. Research has shown that the DNA in their brains is more open to the addictive nature of nearly any type of drug they use. People who begin drug abuse or alcohol abuse as teens without any intervention are much more likely to develop addictions than people who begin abusing drugs or alcohol as adults.

Setting Goals for Addiction Aftercare

Aftercare is an essential part of addiction recovery. After the initial rehab process, aftercare supports people in recovery as they transition back to their normal lives while maintaining the progress they have made. Setting goals is an important part of aftercare services in Fort Lauderdale so that individuals get the appropriate support for their needs.

For teens recovering from addiction, aftercare goals involve the whole family. These goals may involve a plan for helping teens return to school without turning to drug abuse in times of stress or a strategy for coping with peer pressure, seeing old friends, or visiting old places that can trigger addiction symptoms. Other aftercare services may include goals for ongoing counseling for family members as they rebuild relationships or address issues that contributed to the substance abuse. Each aftercare plan is personalized based on individual needs, but the common goal each plan shares is helping people transition from rehab to normal life with the tools to avoid a relapse.

Helping Teens Overcome Peer Pressure to Drink

For teens, the pressure to drink is everywhere, and it can be overwhelming. Even teens that are committed to staying sober are vulnerable without the right tools to help them overcome peer pressure and stand their ground when offered alcohol. If you are concerned about teen alcoholism in Fort Lauderdale, help is available to get your teen back on a healthier track. To fight addiction before it starts, help your teen face underage drinking peer pressure with these tips.

Plan Excuses

It’s nearly impossible for teens to go out and not be faced with an opportunity to drink at some point. Give your teens the confidence to deal with these situations by pre-planning a few excuses they can use to save face with their friends without taking a drink. Your teen could offer to be the designated driver, blame it on his or her need to get up early for a family event the next day, or say that you always check his or her breath after a night out. When your teen has a ready-made set of excuses that stop the peer pressure but not friendships, he or she will feel more comfortable about saying no.

Get Involved

Know who your teens’ friends are, and encourage your teens to host their friends at your house from time to time so you can develop relationships with them. It also helps to connect with their friends’ parents so you can have a network of support in managing behavior, and so you can identify the parents that may have laxer attitudes about drinking. Being engaged with your kids’ friends and letting them all know your behavior expectations can take some of the pressure of off your teen.

Share Your Stories

Tell your teens stories about when you had to deal with pressure to drink as a teen or maybe about how accepting a drink led to bad consequences. Showing your teens that alcohol abuse, addiction, and peer pressure are situations you also had to face will let them know that they’re not alone and will encourage open lines of communication.