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Questions About Medications to Treat Adolescent Drug Abuse, Part 7

Questions about Medications to Treat  Adolescent Drug UseReprinted from the National Institute of Drug Abuse by Tom Wilson Counseling Center offering online substance abuse education for adults and adolescents.

13. Are there medications to treat adolescent substance abuse?

Several medications are approved by the FDA to treat addiction to opioids, alcohol, and nicotine in individuals 18 and older. In most cases, little research has been conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of these medications for adolescents; however, some health care providers do use these medications “off-label,” especially in older adolescents.

14. Do girls and boys have different treatment needs?

Adolescent girls and boys may have different developmental and social issues that may call for different treatment strategies or emphases.

For example, girls with substance use disorders may be more likely to also have mood disorders such as depression or to have experienced physical or sexual abuse.

Boys with subs…

Frequently Asked Questions about Adolescent Drug Use, Part 6

Frequently Asked Questions about Adolescent Drug Use, Part 6 Reprinted from the National Institute of Drug Abuse by Tom Wilson Counseling Center offering online substance abuse education for adults and adolescents.

12. Is adolescent tobacco use treated similarly to other drug use?  

YesPeople often don’t think of tobacco use as a kind of “drug abuse” that requires treatment, and motives for quitting smoking may be somewhat different than motives for quitting other drugs. But tobacco use has well-known health risks–– especially when begun in the teen years––and the highly addictive nicotine in tobacco can make treatment a necessity to help an adolescent quit. Laboratory research also suggests that nicotine may increase the rewarding and addictive effects of other drugs, making it a potential contributor to other substance use disorders.

Common treatment approaches like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are now being used to help adolescents quit smoking (and quit using other drugs) by help…

Frequently Asked Questions about Adolescent Drug Use, Part 5

Frequently Asked Questions about Adolescent Drug Use, Part 5 Reprinted from the National Institute of Drug Abuse by Tom Wilson Counseling Center offering online substance abuse education for adults and adolescents.

11. What role can medical professionals play in addressing substance abuse (including abuse of prescription drugs) among adolescents?

Medical professionals have an important role to play in screening their adolescent patients for drug use, providing brief interventions, referring them to substance abuse treatment if necessary, and providing ongoing monitoring and follow-up. Screening and brief interventions do not have to be time-consuming and can be integrated into general medical settings.

• Screening. Screening and brief assessment tools administered during annual routine medical checkups can detect drug use before it becomes a serious problem. The purpose of screening is to look for evidence of any use of alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs or abuse of prescription drugs…

Frequently Asked Questions about Adolescent Drug Use, Part 4

Frequently Asked Questions about Adolescent Drug Use, Part 4 Reprinted from the National Institute of Drug Abuse by Tom Wilson Counseling Center offering online substance abuse education for adults and adolescents.

7. How do other mental health conditions relate to substance use in adolescents? 

Drug use in adolescents frequently overlaps with other mental health problems. For example, a teen with a substance use disorder is more likely to have a mood, anxiety, learning, or behavioral disorder too. Sometimes drugs can make accurately diagnosing these other problems complicated.

Adolescents may begin taking drugs to deal with depression or anxiety, for example; on the other hand, frequent drug use may also cause or precipitate those disorders. Adolescents entering drug abuse treatment should be given a comprehensive mental health screening to determine if other disorders are present.

Effectively treating a substance use disorder requires addressing drug abuse and other mental health pro…