A new study by Case Western Reserve has shown that social activities may help with relapse prevention from teen substance abuse. The right social activities can help addicted teens recover and make a successful transition back into the real world. The study was performed by Maria Pagano, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry, and it involved a group of around 200 teens who had been admitted for residential substance abuse treatment in the northeastern part of the USA. The adolescents involved in the study had displayed moderate to severe social anxiety issues for a year or more before the teen substance abuse started. Around 42% of the participants studied admitted to severe social fears, and around 15% of the study participants met the criteria for a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder.
Professor Pagano discussed the study on relapse prevention and teen substance abuse, saying “Drinking and drug use relieved a pervasive sense of not fitting in for many youths addicted to alcohol and illicit drugs, and hypersensitivity to criticism is common. The incidence of higher rates of heroin use among young adults living in this region is distressing. A sense of belonging is important to live sober and to thrive, and 12-step service offers a venue for those impaired by social anxiety. Low-intensity service is a more gentle way for youths to feel like they belong and to connect with other people who are facing similar challenges. Getting active in helping others through AA motivates them to stay long enough to benefit from other AA activities and increase their chances of turning their life around toward a positive life trajectory.”
teen substance abuse, traumatic brain injury
A traumatic brain injury will increase the risk of teen substance abuse according to a new study performed at St. Micheal’s Hospital, which is located in Toronto, Canada. The study results show that traumatic brain injury can increase the risk of teen substance abuse significantly, making the individual 2-4 times more likely to drink alcohol or use drugs. The study results have been published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, and it can help physicians and other medical care providers screen patients more effectively. The lead study researcher, neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Cusimano, explained “Overall, a teen with a history of TBI is at least twice as likely as a classmate who hasn’t suffered a brain injury to drink alcohol, use cannabis or abuse other drugs. But when you look at specific drugs, those rates are often higher.”
Teen substance abuse is a serious problem in Canada and the USA, and traumatic brain injury can play a role in this problem. Dr. Michael Cusimano, who also holds a position at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science as a researcher, stated “On top of the other health consequences, substance abuse increases the odds of suffering an injury that could result in a TBI. And using some of these substances may also impair recovery after injury.” Cusimano also explained “Some people think of concussions as a less alarming injury than a mild TBI but this is wrong. Every concussion is a TBI. People should take every brain injury seriously because, as this research shows, the immediate and long-term effects can alter lives.”
teen substance abuse, teen alcohol and drug use
1. Talk to Your Teen- Talking with your teens can help prevent teen substance abuse. Discuss teen alcohol and drug use with your adolescents, even if it seems like they are not listening to you. Studies have shown that the message does get through even if you do not think you are making a difference.
2. Research Early Prevention Programs- Early prevention programs can drastically reduce teen substance abuse. Many programs show the positive side of staying sober, and this can help combat social media posts and other pro substance abuse messages that teens may come across.
3. Set a Good Example- The old saying do as I say not as I do does not work. Set a good example for your teens by showing them how to have fun and be responsible citizens without engaging in teen alcohol and drug abuse by avoiding these behaviors yourself. If you drink or use drugs then this sends a message that this behavior is acceptable.
4. Set Clear Rules and Consequences- Let your teens use you as a scapegoat against peer pressure. Set very clear rules, and make sure that your teens understand the consequences if these rules are broken. This gives them an out when friends are trying to pressure them into teen alcohol and drug use, and you can be the bad guy with their peers so they save face.
5. Look for Signs of Teen Substance Abuse- Stay vigilant and watch for any signs of possible teen substance abuse. Many parents perform home drug screens on their children so that any teen alcohol and drug use is discovered as early as possible.