Tag Archives: young people

Mental Health Disorders: Early Diagnosis is Vital

mental health

One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 50% of youth ages 8-15 didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year.

Early diagnosis of psychological health disorders can spare individuals from experiencing significant problems in the future. Those who struggle with mood disorders at a young age must be screened and treated to prevent them from developing unhealthy coping mechanisms.

It is a fact that many people who struggle with substance use in adulthood have an underlying mental illness stemming back to their youth. Men and women who use drugs and alcohol to manage their symptoms risk developing behavioral health problems. More than half of adults living with addiction have a co-occurring mental illness like:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

While the conditions listed above can result from heavy alcohol and substance use, it is often the other way around in plenty of cases. Many teenagers begin and continue to use drugs and alcohol because they are dealing with undiagnosed psychiatric issues. Mind-altering substances can provide temporary relief from pain and suffering, but the practice only serves to worsen symptoms in the long run.

Mental illness screenings of young people are of the utmost importance. Evidence-based treatments exist, and pairing teens and young adults with mental health services saves lives. During Mental Health Month, it is imperative that parents consider prioritizing both their overall well-being and their children’s.

Diagnosing Childhood Depression

NAMI reports that one in five young people (13 to 18) suffers from a severe mental health disorder at some point in their lives. In previous posts, we have pointed out that depression is the leading cause of disability around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that some 300 million people of all ages suffer from the disorder. A significant number of youths are affected by this serious health condition.

Researchers associate undiagnosed depression with both substance use disorder and suicide later in life. The WHO reports that suicide is the second leading cause of death in those between the ages of 15 and 29. With that in mind, it’s not challenging to see the need for developing effective screening techniques.

Researchers at the University of Vermont may have found a new method for identifying anxiety and depression in young people. These types of conditions are sometimes referred to as “internalizing disorders.” The research team tested a machine learning algorithm that might help doctors diagnose mental illness in youths, according to a press release. The findings of the study appear in the Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics.

We need quick, objective tests to catch kids when they are suffering,” says Ellen McGinnis, a clinical psychologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center’s Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families and lead author of the study. “The majority of kids under eight are undiagnosed.”

The study shows that artificial intelligence can evaluate child speech patterns to detect signs of anxiety and depression. The AI singled out three speech patterns that point to the presence of internalizing disorders: low-pitched voices, repeatable speech inflections and content, and a higher-pitched response to unexpected noise.

Fast and Reliable Mental Health Diagnoses

The press release points out that typical youth mental health screenings involve a trained clinician and the child’s primary caregiver. The patient receives a 60 to 90 minute semi-structured interview. Since children do not excel at articulating their emotional suffering, screenings are time-consuming and not always accurate.

The algorithm was able to identify children with a diagnosis of an internalizing disorder with 80 percent accuracy, and in most cases that compared really well to the accuracy of the parent checklist,” says senior study author, Ryan McGinnis.

The researchers plan to embed their algorithm into a universal screening tool.

Gender Specific Mental Health Treatment

At PACE Recovery Center, we assist young men who suffer from mental health disorders. Our center offers both residential and outpatient services that can help you or a loved one facing a mood or behavioral health disorder. Please contact us today to learn more about the services we provide and our highly credentialed clinical staff.

We utilize a multidimensional treatment approach that integrates evidence-based practices from the psychological, medical, social, familial and self-help communities.

Mental Health Emergencies Among Young People

mental health

Mental health conditions affect millions of Americans. Moreover, a significant number of people struggling with mental illness are under the age of 24. How mental health disorders impact a young person varies from case to case. However, when young people ignore or fail to seek treatment for psychiatric disorders, grave complications can arise.

In recent years, public health experts and various campaigns have sought to raise awareness about mental illness. The goal is to erode the stigma that prevents individuals from finding the courage to discuss their symptoms with friends, family, and professionals. The effort to dissolve the shame around mental health has been considerable. Still, society has a long way to go in encouraging those who are suffering to seek help.

Diagnosis, intervention, treatment, and a program of recovery are essential for any person living with mental illness. While finding support in urban areas is relatively simple, those who live in rural America have a challenge finding resources. Primary care physicians can help people in less populated areas to a degree. However, new research highlights a lack of mental health training and screening expertise among primary care physicians, as a whole.

Perhaps most concerning, a recent study shows a dramatic rise in visits to the emergency department (ED) for mental health problems. The increase is unusually high among younger demographics – ages 6 to 24 – according to HealthDay. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health report a 28 percent rise in psychiatric visits among the age span between 2011 and 2015. The findings appear in the journal Pediatrics.

Why are More Young People Seeking Help for Mental Health?

Determining the etiology of mental health trends is not a simple task. Many factors require consideration. The study reveals that more suicides and the addiction epidemic in the U.S. play a significant role. Study author Luther Kalb, Ph.D. points out that "the ER plays a critical role in treating overdoses." Kalb, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, also states that it’s likely that social media contributes considerably.

Dr. Susan Duffy, in an editorial accompanying the study, lists a number of other factors influencing the increase in ED mental health visits. More young people landing in the ED for mental illness, according to Dr. Duffy, is linked to:

  • Poverty
  • Violence
  • Child and parental substance abuse
  • Social media’s influence on depression, isolation and anxiety risk
  • Information overload

On the upside, expanded insurance coverage across the country means that more people can seek help. Conversely, a lack of psychiatric training among primary care providers means that more people turn to the ED for mental illness. Duffy, a professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, says the trends are clear and that the findings "should not come as a great surprise."

Data suggests that over 20 percent of adolescents aged 13 to 18 have experienced a debilitating mental health disorder," Duffy said. "For the past 10 years, there has been an increasing trend in children's, youth and young adult mental health visits, and increasing recognition that the resources do not meet the need for care."

Mental Health Training is Lacking

More 6 through 24-year-olds seeking mental illness assistance from EDs is alarming and must be addressed. But, it is also worth noting the 28 percent increase rose even higher when analyzing specific demographics. The researchers found a 54 percent increase among adolescents, black youths, and young adults. Between 2011 and 2015, there was a 90 percent increase in mental health-related ED visits among Latinos.

What’s more, Professor Kalb said he is "surprised at how few saw a mental health provider" after presenting to the ED, the article reports. The researcher did find that practically all young people consulted with a physician, at least. Still, without mental health training and screening expertise patients face the risk of being underserved.

Kalb notes that many hospitals across the country lack the resources to staff mental health providers. He adds that, “This could be changed by increasing mental health staff in the ER, creating special intake settings that deal just with mental health, using new technologies such as tele-psychiatry, and cross-training providers."

Mental Health Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we have the expertise to assist young men struggling with mental illness. Our facility offers clients residential treatment, intensive outpatient programs for mental health, and dual diagnosis outpatient. With the assistance of doctorate and masters-level clinicians, male clients set realistic treatment goals and see them come to fruition. PACE’s highly credentialed specialists are a phone call away.

Prospective clients are also invited to submit a confidential online inquiry.

Alcohol Use Disorder Prevention and Recovery

alcohol use

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that an estimated 16 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder. In 2015, 9.8 million men, 5.3 million women, and an estimated 623,000 adolescents (12–17) had AUD. You can see that alcohol use is affecting the lives of far too many people; and given that most people who are struggling with mental illness, like addiction, do not receive the care required for recovery—their lives will only get more chaotic. Opioids are the primary focus of lawmakers and health experts when it comes to substance use and abuse these days, and for more than a decade now. If you consider that far more people succumb to alcohol-related illness each year than opioids, you may find yourself wondering why we are not having more conversations about alcoholism?

Research appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2017 indicates that more than 2 million Americans are grappling with an opioid use disorder (OUD). It stands to reason that this number will continue to grow before it shrinks unless more significant efforts are taken to educate people about the risks (addiction and overdose) of prescription painkillers and to use any form of opioid narcotic. There are more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2016, but an estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men) die from alcohol-related causes annually.

Opioids are and should be a critical concern across the nation; although, we must never lose sight of the dangers of using other mind-altering substances, especially those that are legal to use under federal and state law. Permission to use isn't an endorsement for safety; mental illness pays no mind to the often arbitrary laws of humankind.

Alcohol Awareness Month

Education is the most significant tool for preventing alcohol use. Even though young people are pretty much guaranteed to flirt with alcohol at some point during adolescence, teaching them about the dangers of heavy and continuous use could lead many to make more responsible choices. Having all the facts can spare people from forming unhealthy relationships with substances and prevent countless people from developing a use disorder.

It is equally vital that steps are taken to encourage individuals who are already struggling with alcohol use disorder to seek assistance in the form of treatment. The stigma of addiction has gone on for far too long, at a terrible cost to millions of families. Let it be known, whenever possible, that alcohol and substance use disorder is not a moral failing, a deficiency in willpower, or a lack of a constitution. There is no fault to place on people, any more than you would blame a person with diabetes for having too much sugar in their blood. What’s more, addiction, like diabetes, has no known cure but can be managed provided that people are given the resources to do so in an effective manner.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. The event is sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD). For more than 30 years, organizations and addiction experts have taken the opportunity to support public awareness about alcohol, reduce stigma, and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. If people are better able to identify the signs of addiction and understand that treatment can spare them from unnecessary heartache and physical harm, they are far more likely to seek help. When society views individuals with compassion rather than stigma, they are more apt to reach out for assistance.

NCADD Message to Parents

Alcohol Awareness Month is also relevant to teenagers, as well. It is not that uncommon for alcohol-related problems to arise during adolescence or a little further down the road in young adulthood. It is crucial that parents do everything in their power to prevent their children from forming unhealthy relationships with alcohol; that includes doing away with the misguided notion of parental provisional alcohol use. There is no evidence that parents supplying teens with alcohol leads to responsible use, but there is evidence to the contrary.

The theme of Alcohol Awareness Month this year is “Changing Attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage.’” Local, state and national events aim to educate parents about the vital role they can play in helping their children understand the impact that alcohol can have on their lives. If you would like more information on events this April, please click here.

Alcohol and drug use is a very risky business for young people,” says Andrew Pucher, President and CEO of NCADD, “and parents can make a difference. The longer children delay drinking and drug use, the less likely they are to develop any problems associated with it. That’s why it is so important to help your child make smart decisions about alcohol and drugs.

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

If alcohol is impacting your life in negative ways and you find it seemingly impossible to abstain for any length of time, there is a high likelihood that you meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder. At PACE, we specialize in the treatment of young men caught in the vicious cycle of self-destructive and self-defeating behaviors that typify alcoholism. Please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about how we can help you begin the process of healing and learn how to lead a productive life in addiction recovery.

A Clean Break for Recovery this Spring

clean break

Unless you live in the Southwest or Southeast, there is good chance that you are feeling the chilling effects of winter weather right about now. If that is the case, it is likely you are already pining for warmer weather which, thankfully, is not far away with the beginning of February knocking on the door. But, for young people who have been hitting their textbooks all winter—the end of the school term, and with it warmer weather, might seem like forever.

Every Spring, thousands of young adults make a pilgrimage in search of more tropical climates, i.e. South Florida or Mexico. For many, the reprieve from studies and less than desirable weather, is needed (borderline mandatory), if they are expected to trudge through to the end of the semester. Those planning to take a week off in the company of better weather, usually do more than just bathe in the sun. Spring Break is notorious for young adults consuming copious amounts of drugs and alcohol.

Naturally, being in an environment surrounded by peers partying all week, would be considered not the best idea for young people working a program of addiction recovery. The temptation to use or imbibe may be too strong to resist, the risk of relapse is extremely high. If you are a young male or female working a program, you may be thinking that you are not able to take part in any sort of Spring Break? Lest you put yourself at risk of relapse.

In a normal Spring Break setting, you would be right to be fearful of beach activities with people not working towards the goal of abstaining from drugs or alcohol. However, over the last 8 years more than 1,000 young people in recovery have been able to enjoy Spring Break without drinking or drugging at what are known as Clean Break events.

A Clean Break This Spring

It may seem premature to discuss Spring Break when February has not even begun. Although, tomorrow is the deadline for you and your recovery peers to RSVP for Clean Break. Every week in March, young people in recovery will be staying at The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach, FL.

If you were thinking that you would have to lay low while everyone else in college heads to tropical weather for a week, that is simply not the case. The Clean Break experience is affordable, fun and puts recovery first. No matter when your school schedules Spring break, you and your friends can head south between: March 6-11, 13-17, 20-24 or 27-31st. The organization states:

A week at Clean Break provides a solution for the college student in recovery who would have to choose between isolating on an empty campus or tagging along with friends who are not sober and hoping they don’t use drugs or alcohol. Clean Break is an affordable peer based recovery event for college students during Spring Break, that creates new relationships, supports recovery, provides new ideas for sober fun, all in a safe group setting." recovery

Enjoying Life in Recovery

On page 132 in the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, it states, “...we aren't a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn't want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life.” There is a lot of truth to be found in those words. Addiction recovery is not about turning your back on fun, turning into “shut-ins.” If that were the case, it would seem, that few would be able to stay the course. Alternatively, much of recovery is about building and maintaining healthy relationships with people working towards a common cause. Relationships that are not contingent on drugs or alcohol.

At PACE Recovery Center, we understand the value of having fun in recovery. We are a proud sponsor of Clean Break, and strongly encourage young adults to take advantage of these types of opportunities. If you decide to attend, there is a good chance that your program will become stronger as a result, on top of making friends who you would have otherwise been unable to meet.

Young People In Recovery – The Sky’s The Limit

recovery, young peopleYoung people, who find that they have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol, often discover themselves in a position that can be hard to believe or accept. They know that help is required, but they say to themselves, “I’m a young person, how can I live the rest of my life free from all mind altering substances?” When a person forms a relationship with a chemical substance, like any serious relationship that is unhealthy, it is extremely painful to break that tie, even though their future depends upon it. Recovery, if it happens, occurs at different times in people’s lives. Some people do not address the problem until they are middle aged, while others’ addiction progresses so quickly that intervention is necessary much earlier. Young adults in need of addiction treatment often find it unfair that they cannot use drugs and alcohol in the same way that “normal” people do; that is mind altering substances are all consuming for them. What’s more, it can be difficult for them to believe that anything is possible as long as they refrain from using drugs and alcohol - that the sky's the limit. It is often said in programs of recovery, “Don’t leave before the miracle happens;” unfortunately, the reality is that many young people will relapse before that are able to enjoy the gifts of addiction recovery, and it can take years for some to turn to recovery again. Thankfully, that is not always the case, young people can recover, maintain their sobriety for years and years to come, and achieve what they would of once thought was impossible. Michael Botticelli, is a perfect example of a person who battled with the demons of addiction as a young adult, found recovery, and went on to achieve great things. For those who may not be aware, Botticelli went from alcoholic to the President’s “drug czar,” the Director of National Drug Control Policy. Yes, that’s right; the person in charge of how we, as a nation, address addiction is himself in recovery. Botticelli has been alcohol free for 27 years, after a driving under the influence arrest. The judge gave him the option of treatment or jail - he chose the former. Now, he manages a $26 billion budget across 16 government agencies, CBS News reports. Botticelli believes that we need to bring addiction out of the shadows, breaking the stigma and changing the language.
Director Michael Botticelli
Director Botticelli
Please take a moment to watch an interview with Director Botticelli on 60 Minutes. His personal story is remarkable. PACE Recovery Center is an exclusive, gender-specific, extended care, alcohol and drug rehab for men struggling with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. Please contact PACE if you or a loved one would like to like to learn about our inpatient or outpatient programs. The miracle of recovery is real.

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