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How Does Mindfulness Change the Brain for Addicted Adolescents?

Anxiety and addiction are conditions that commonly occur together. Unfortunately, when a teen begins using drugs or alcohol to cope with anxiety, it can have lasting impacts. In such cases, a dual diagnosis treatment center is necessary. At Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center, we strive to provide treatment for both anxiety and addiction using the practice of mindfulness. This treatment is incredibly beneficial for the adolescents we treat. To learn more about how mindfulness can help your teen boy, please contact Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center today at 662.373.2828

The Prevalence of Anxiety

Today’s adolescents are alarmingly anxious. Anxiety disorders, which can include general anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, are common in teens. 25.1% of teens between 13-18 years old will experience symptoms of anxiety in their young lives. Experiencing symptoms doesn’t simply include stress about school, peers, or anxiety due to hormones. 13-18-year-olds are experiencing clinical anxiety symptoms, which, for the majority of adults who live with anxiety disorders, can be disruptive and even debilitating. Ongoing, there is an issue in America especially in which those who are struggling with the clinical symptoms of mental health disorders like an anxiety disorder do not receive treatment. As for the mental health and wellness of adolescents, this is a critical issue. According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 80% of adolescents and teens who experience clinical symptoms which qualify a diagnosis of anxiety don’t receive treatment. Untreated mental health issues like anxiety, especially in adolescence, frequently leading to the development of substance use disorders in teenagehood.

Treating Anxiety and Addiction In Adolescents With Mindfulness

A study published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology used brain imaging to examine the effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in adolescents with anxiety disorders. Participants spent 12 weeks practicing and learning MCBT. According to Good Therapy , MBCT “blends cognitive therapy, a modality, that encourages participants to recognize and alter automatic negative thoughts and behaviors, with mindfulness, the practice of slowing down and noticing things in the present moment.” Mindfulness is a spiritual practice, mental practice, and a form of meditation. Commonly practiced as meditation, mindfulness can be practiced in other ways like cognitive behavioral therapy and stress reduction. Key areas of the brain which contribute to emotional processing revealed significant changes after the 12 weeks of mindfulness. “Specifically,” lists the article, “the bilateral insula, lentiform nucleus, thalamus, and left anterior cingulate showed increased activation when participants were exposed to emotional stimuli.” Processing emotions in a healthy and successful way is a challenge for any adult who is recovering from addiction. In adolescents, the brain isn’t fully formed, making some kinds of processing especially difficult. Mindfulness-based practices help the adolescent work with their brains rather than against it. In addition to neurological changes, mindfulness practices have been shown to improve symptoms of depression, reduce stress, increase heart health, and enhance general feelings of wellbeing.

Seek Treatment at Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center

Mindfulness and meditation are practices we use as the staff at Stonewater Recovery Center. Living in recovery, we practice what we preach, showing adolescents a new way of living, founded in spiritual faith and clinical recovery. We provide a range of mindfulness practices, as well as a range of therapeutic options, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Family therapy
  • Fly fishing therapy
  • Adventure therapy

Anxiety doesn't have to rule over your teen's life. With the treatment programs we provide at Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center, your teen can recover and move into a better and brighter future. For information on our residential treatment programs, call us today at 662.373.2828 or contact us online.