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Substance Abuse and Mental Disorders in Children

Published on November 17th, 2015

During adolescence, children and young people are faced with on-going and quite dramatic changes. These changes impact the child’s physical and emotional well being as well as their relationships with other people. Unfortunately, for some youngsters the stress that tends to go along with these changes exceeds their ability to cope. Depending on their peers and other influences, this can lead to mental health and substance abuse problems. Alone, or in combination with one another, mental health issues and substance abuse can quickly lead to a rapid decrease in academic performance, damaged relationships, run-ins with the law, and declining physical health. Reaching adulthood is not the end of these problems, which is precisely why early intervention and children’s therapy in St. Paul is so vitally important.

Concurrent disorders occur when substance abuse and mental health problems occur at the same time. There are many reasons for this; for example, a teenager may turn to alcohol to deal with anxiety or turn to drugs to cope with the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The severity of the underlying problem often becomes worse, as neither the mental health problem nor the substance abuse has been addressed.

Early childhood experiences such as exposure to domestic violence, physical or emotional abuse, and neglect, are associated with substance abuse in a child’s teenage years. Early experiences of this nature put young people at a greater risk for concurrent disorders, though the outcome is not inevitable. The risk of mental health problems and substance abuse can be tempered with effective children’s therapy in St. Paul, strong family ties, and supportive parents or other adults. The presence of this type of support has been proven to reduce the incidence of mental health problems and substance abuse.

It is obvious that the best way to address these problems is to stop them before they start. However, if a concurrent disorder is not prevented, then early identification and intervention is the next best thing. It is imperative that the child is connected to individuals that can genuinely help them. There is a tendency for the young person to turn to people they can trust-friends, their teacher, or even their family doctor. These people are not trained to deal with the problems the young person is facing and may not know how to properly respond. To effectively deal with these problems, children’s therapy may be your best solution. Contact Options Family and Behavior Services today.

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