PTSD in Teens: Treating Co-occurring Adolescent PTSD and Addiction (BOOK REVIEW)

Working with teens who suffer from PTSD and have developed substance abuse problems can be truly challenging. A review on why/how this practical workbook is essential for treating these two conditions. More here.

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PTSD in teenagers

Any life threatening event or event that threatens physical harm can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, often called PTSD. These events may include witnessing or being the victim of violence, natural disasters, or accidents. And cases of PTSD are much more common than we’d like to think.

As children age, there is more opportunity for exposure to trauma, so that chances of lifetime exposure are often one third to one half higher than past year exposure. The National Comorbidity Survey Replication (Adolescent Supplement) is a nationally representative sample of over 10,000 adolescents aged 13-18. Results indicate that:

  • 5% of adolescents have met criteria for PTSD in their lifetime
  • Prevalence is higher for girls than boys (8.0% vs. 2.3%)
  • Prevalence increases with age
  • Current rates (in the past month) are 3.9% overall
  • Drug addictions and PTSD are co-morbid conditions that can be treated together

What is mindfulness based cognitive therapy for adolescents?

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy for adolescents with trauma and substance abuse disorders (MBCT-Dual) is an integrated approach that combines mindfulness practices and cognitive therapy. This therapy presents a wide array of resources and tools that can be modified and adapted to reduce trauma symptoms and build a sense of safety for clients. So while traditional psychotherapy, PTSD support groups, and alternatives like EMDR can continue to be a part of your treatment toolkit, this technique offers practical skills for teen.

During treatment, adolescents gain practice in mindfulness, which provides them with greater attention to and awareness of their current:

  • feelings
  • sensations
  • surroundings
  • thoughts

Practicing mindfulness helps teens begin to recognize their habitual patterns of thinking and acting and to respond to these thoughts and actions in more nonjudgmental, kind, and helpful ways, fostering general well-being and enhanced overall functioning. Ultimately, the goal of this method is for victims of PTSD to display self-compassion and compassion toward others.

What will you learn from this manual?

Fortuna and Vallejo present 3 strategies that you can apply in order to understand and communicate treatment of possible dual diagnosis cases in teens:

1. Psychoeducation: Providing age-appropriate information about the brain, traumatic stress, and addiction symptoms, utilizing interactive approaches and supporting motivation for treatment.

2. Practicing mindfulness and building awareness: Providing an opportunity for guided practice in mindfulness through exercises such as awareness of sounds, body scanning interspersed with movement, awareness of breath meditation, eating meditation, mindful walking, and mindfulness in daily activities.

3. Teaching cognitive strategies: Providing guidance in learning and applying cognitive skills, such as cognitive restructuring, to facilitate recovery from addiction and foster constructive, compassionate responding to trauma-related sensations, thoughts, feelings and actions.

Why Do We Recommend This Book?

“Treating Co-occurring Adolescent PTSD and Addiction: Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Adolescents with Trauma and Substance-Abuse Disorders” is an indispensable resource for all therapists who work with teens. We see how the method can help teens live stable and substance-free lives. It just makes sense.

This guide is a trustworthy tool that offers both curriculum and strategies for managing PTSD. It contains real-life, practical and helpful techniques for managing triggers, cravings and urges. Simultaneously, the method helps teens grow  their own self-confidence and capacity to respond to all life situations appropriately. And the practice of mindfulness has the power to do the change!

Wondering where you can find “Treating Co-occurring Adolescent PTSD and Addiction”? To buy, download and read the book, check this link Additionally, if you are left with any questions about this book, we ask you to post them in the section below. We also welcome your feedback if you’ve read the book, and would like to comment and share your opinion.

Reference Sources: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
About the authors: Lisa R. Fortuna, MD, is a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist with over fifteen years of clinical experience with children, adolescents, and families. She is currently on the faculty of Boston University’s School of Medicine and the medical director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Boston Medical Center.
Zayda Vallejo, MLitt, is a certified senior teacher in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) adjunct faculty at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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