Mental illness and Drug Abuse in Teens

Health teens playing in fall leaves. Social interactions can help prevent teenage drug addiction.Teens who experience depression, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses are likely to fall prey to substance abuse and teenage drug addiction. This is called “comorbidity,” which develops when two or more mental illnesses develop. To cope, some teens turn to drug use, which only worsens their conditions. As the drug of choice overtakes other priorities, they find it much more difficult to resist impulses and find real solutions to their problems.

Mental Illness and Addiction Equals Comorbidity

As these teens realize they have something wrong with them, they may begin self-medicating with drugs in an attempt to feel more normal. As time goes on, they become dependent on their drugs, and it becomes an addiction. Teen drug rehab can help them address their co-occurring issues.

The Root Causes of Teenage Drug Addiction

Other factors, such as genetic components, may also make teens more likely to develop a substance addiction and a mental illness, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. That is, if a parent or close relative has either condition, the teen is more likely to develop one or both issues.

Environmental factors, such as abuse or exposure to high levels of stress, make it more likely that the teen is at a higher risk of developing an addiction and/or a mental illness, as reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). If drugs are readily available in the home environment, this likelihood shoots even higher.

Commonly Abused Drugs

Young adults are the most common abuser of prescription and over-the-counter medications, according to the NIDA. As of 2012, these classes of drugs were the most commonly misused by high school seniors. When teens were asked how they got the prescription medications, they said they had either bought them or had them given to them by a friend or relative.

Teens are also likely to misuse marijuana, take part in episodes of heavy drinking and smoke cigarettes, activities possibly detrimental to physical and mental health.

The Importance of Interventions

Because teens are ashamed to admit they may have a mental illness, it is often up to their parents and doctors to intervene when they see their child using drugs so they can get the help they need. In drug rehab facilities, teenagers and their families can recover from the damage of drug addictions. Addiction treatment specialists work to treat both the original disease and the negative coping mechanisms so common for teenagers.

James Jones

James has a passion for writing. He applies his skills by writing for Sovereign Health Group. James also works in the entertainment industry as a model.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of DrGreene.com. The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or DrGreene.com, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

  1. Hans de Rycke

    Many of those with ‘mental problems’ are commonly found instead to have food allergies, toxins in their systems, medical problems, and a host of other non-psychiatric situations. Dr. Lita Lee, author of The Enzyme Cure, said, “I have never believed that people ‘just go nuts.’ I have always believed that abnormal brain chemistry leading to mental problems is a direct result of abnormal body chemistry, poor nutrition and hormonal imbalances. ”
    The physical sources of mental symptoms fall into four general categories: medical, toxins, allergies, and nutrition. Too much caffeine can cause anxiety or too many sweets can give you the “sugar blues.” And many women have have endured mental disturbances as a result of hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle.
    Psychiatrists, who are medical doctors, do include medical and toxic causes of psychiatric symptoms when evaluating someone for mental illness, but allergy testing has not been incorporated into that regime and doctors and patients/consumers are seemingly attracted to medication as first line treatment for anxiety, depression and other symptoms.
    Fight or flight responses are responsible for many of the symptoms of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, restlessness, sleeping disorders, anger, irritability, bipolar (activation of the sympathetic nervous system through the release of norempinephrine followed by the activation of the parasympathetic systems activation of the ‘rest and digest’ response through the activation of the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.) and social withdrawal as in ADD/ADHD. Depression, Alzheimers, dementia, Parkinson’s and schizophrenia are different labels (diagnosis) but often have the same origin (cause).
    In testing patients classified as “schizophrenic,” Dr. William Philpott found that 92% reacted to one or more substances as follows: · Wheat – 64% · Mature corn – 51% · Pasteurized whole cow milk – 50% · Tobacco – 75% with 10% becoming grossly psychotic, with delusions, hallucinations, and, especially, paranoia · Hydrocarbons – 30%.
    A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology have established a link between Parkinson’s and the consumption of dairy.
    Korsakoff’s syndrome seems to be related to potato allergies. The undigested potato ferments in the gut producing ethyl alcohol. This leads to brain damage, particularly in the young.
    The ecology-minded practitioners like myself have found that a huge spectrum of mental and emotional symptoms can be triggered by allergies, including agitation, anxiety, compulsions, lack of concentration, brain fag, confusion, weepiness, delirium, delusion, depression, disorientation, drowsiness, epilepsy (Rolandic), hallucinations, hyperactivity, hyper-arousal episodes (i.e. palpitations, sweating, trembling), hypersensitivity, hysteria, impatience, insomnia, irritability, jumpiness, lethargy, mania, mental slowness, mental fogginess, nightmares, panic, paranoia, psychoses, rage, restlessness, and tension-fatigue syndrome.
    Dr. Randolph also states that depression, especially when associated with other symptoms of allergy, may very well be due to food allergy.
    I also like to point out that mental health issues are not caused by a lack of pharmaceuticals and therefor prescription of dangerous, allergenic and often addictive drugs to suppress symptoms is unscientific.

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