Teen substance abuse is a big problem anywhere, and many teens who start drinking or using drugs will also suffer from mental illness. 20% of teens will be diagnosed with a form of mental illness before they turn 18 years old, and for many the disorder will follow them into adulthood. Getting treatment for a mental disorder can be very difficult for adults, and teens have even fewer options. In many cases teen substance abuse starts because the adolescent is trying to manage the symptoms of the mental disorder on their own without professional help. During the teenage years adolescents want to conform and fit in, and this may prevent them from discussing any symptoms that they have with others or seeking help for mental problems that they experience.
In order to prevent teen substance abuse and all the risks that come with these issues it is essential that any mental illness is detected and accurately diagnosed as early as possible. This will allow early intervention and may prevent alcohol or drug use by managing the symptoms of the mental disorder before they become severe. Teens who have a mental illness need to receive treatment that involves the appropriate mental health therapies, such as individual and group counseling sessions, as well as any necessary medications. The key to preventing teen substance abuse is to diagnose any mental illness early on, and to seek treatment for these issues before they can grow and get worse. Parents need to be on the lookout for any symptoms of mental disorder or substance abuse with their children and seek professional help if any of these are noticed.