A young person’s body and brain cannot handle drugs and alcohol the same way an adult’s can. Drugs and alcohol are more harmful to teens because their brains are still developing throughout adolescence and well into young adulthood. Drinking or using mood altering substances during this critical growth period can lead to lifelong damage in brain function, particularly as it relates to memory, motor skills and coordination.
According to research, young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21. Further research indicates that marijuana use in teens (even single incidents) changes parts of the brain associated with cause and effect thinking and motivation. While non-addicted adults can tolerate these substances fairly well–there is NO amount, even small amounts–that is not dangerous for teens. With teens the earliest intervention can make a difference, as every day that they continue to use substances they are doing permanent damage to important parts of the brain.
Kokua Recovery was created for treatment of substance abuse, substance use disorder, or addiction. Absent a problem with drugs or alcohol, we are not the right facility for your teen. However, that does not mean that addiction recovery is all we do. The teens we serve have a variety of co-occurring mental health concerns including trauma, depression, anxiety, and process addictions such as video game addiction. If any of these mental health concerns are also impacting their wellbeing, we can help.
When a teen struggles from substance abuse and at least one other mental health concern we call this dual diagnosis, or having co-occurring conditions. We treat all of the presenting mental health symptoms with an integrated approach to create a path to psychosocial wellness.
Our therapists employ a variety of innovative interventions to address all the symptoms your teen is struggling with. If we don’t have our own expert in an area, we will seek consultation or training needed to improve your teen’s life.