Caring for Teens’ Substance Use and Mental Health at Roots Recovery

Caring for Teens’ Substance Use and Mental Health at Roots Recovery

Many adolescents and teens experience mental health issues and substance use disorder (SUD). Unfortunately, most of them do not know where to turn to for help. Seeking help can also bring about feelings of guilt, shame, or embarrassment. These feelings can hinder teens from reaching out and talking about their issues or concerns.

However, seeking guidance, therapy, and/or treatment is necessary when these problems arise. With the right help, creating a prosperous life outside of substance use or mental illness is possible for this age group.

At Roots Recovery, our teen program exists specifically to care for adolescents.

Mental Health and Teens

Especially in today’s world, adolescents are experiencing more mental health struggles than in previous generations, particularly depression and anxiety. These mental illnesses can reveal themselves through some of the following signs:

  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Sleeping problems
  • Panic attacks
  • Difficulty with decision making
  • Feelings of emptiness or grief
  • Anger, irritability, or restlessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Constant worry

Teens may also experience family hardships, social discrimination or withdrawal from peers, loss of interest in hobbies, lack of productivity, poor time management, recklessness, school refusal, and suicidal tendencies. All these symptoms can signal a mental health issue.

Childhood trauma can also impact a teen’s mental health. The signs and symptoms can fall into any of these categories:

  • Attachment
  • Physical
  • Emotional regulation
  • Behavioral control
  • Cognition
  • Self-image

Teens often find themselves facing emotional distress due to the modern world and its unique hardships. Difficulties navigating life, developing relationships with others, adapting to change, using appropriate coping mechanisms, meeting their needs, and developing skills can all impact young adults’ mental health.

At Roots Recovery, we encourage teens to seek and reach out for help is encouraged. Similarly, parents and other loved ones are encouraged to reach out if a teen is struggling. 

Treating Mental Health for Teens at Roots Recovery

Roots Recovery implements mental health treatment and therapy for teens with depression, childhood trauma, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. Additionally, part of our program includes engagement with teens to discuss the impact of social media and technology.

Childhood trauma and the stresses of the modern world can manifest in mental illness in teens. Teens may have experienced acute, chronic, or complex trauma earlier in their lives. These experiences can carry into adolescence and adulthood, especially when they go unnoticed or unaddressed. At Roots Recovery, we address childhood trauma to prevent the negative effects of trauma from carrying into adulthood. 

One of the main therapies we use for teens is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps clients explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a safe space with a therapist. Exploring these things allows clients to recognize their self-destructive thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs. Then, they work with their therapist to restructure their thinking to develop a healthier lifestyle. 

Substance Use Disorder and Teens

When trying to cope with hardships in young adult life, teens often turn to drugs or alcohol. However, this behavior can turn into reliance on or abuse of the substance, and eventually lead to SUD. 

The accessibility and availability of substances may encourage teens to turn to substance use. Unfortunately, using substances can impact teen growth, physical and mental development, extreme risk-taking behavior, and adult health problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure. 

SUD is not a light matter. Teens or their loved ones should reach out if they are experiencing any signs of addiction.

Treating Teen Substance Use Disorder at Roots Recovery

Roots Recovery implements programs to help teen clients with SUD, as well as co-occurring disorders. Co-occurring disorders happen when someone has a combination of both SUD and mental illness(es). 

Teen substance abuse is cared for by Roots’ intensive outpatient program (IOP) tailored to this young group. Our long-term form of care helps clients uncover underlying issues and encourage developing healthy coping strategies. The program helps teen clients manage stress and difficult emotions while learning how to cope with them in healthier ways than substance use and destructive behaviors.

In IOP, teens get help from trained clinicians to come up with a timeline and schedule for their treatment program. CBT and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) are two options that can be incorporated into the program. We combine these with experiential groups like music or art group therapies. Creative groups help teens express themselves nonverbally, helping them develop a greater connection with themselves and others. IOP runs for three hours five days every week.

Roots Recovery uses a whole-person approach, especially with young adults. This approach to therapy and treatment considers all factors that influence SUD and mental illness. Uncovering underlying causes helps teen clients develop resilience and healthy lifestyle habits. In turn, these skills provide them with coping mechanisms to use on their own. For teens, this approach is important as they learn to develop greater self-esteem and skills and to support long-term healing and health. 

Here at Roots Recovery, our teen program provides mental health and substance and alcohol use services to adolescents struggling with SUD or mental illness. We implement a whole-person approach with our teens to help them foster a fulfilling and prosperous life. In our teen program for mental health, we focus on exploring emotions and difficulties with the teen to reconstruct their thinking and encourage healthy behaviors. We often implement cognitive behavioral therapy to help teens with childhood trauma, depression, and anxiety. For SUD, our IOP focuses on managing stress and difficult emotions as they relate to substance use and self-medication. To learn more about our programs, call us at (562) 473-0827

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“I am so grateful to be an alumni of Roots. Roots took me from my darkest of places, to the brightest and most beautiful part of life I've ever lived. They genuinely care about their clients. You will not be a number or a paycheck here. After discharging in February, I still receive help and words of wisdom whenever needed. Roots helped me battle things I'd been struggling with for over 14 years and finally put them behind me. I love roots with all my heart, and always will.”


“Just got 365 days sober today all thanks to these people at Roots. And saved my marriage.”


“It's great to see such a high quality of care program in Long Beach! The entire staff shows great care and compassion for their clients. The therapists are among the best around. Their admissions and case management is compassionate and driven to help you succeed! If your looking for help with trauma or substance abuse, this is the place for help!”


“Very serene setting, you feel right at home when you walk in. The staff are super nice and really care about their clients.”


“The most compassionate and knowledgeable staff! Roots Through Recovery offers the best addiction care and treatment available. They use multiple disciplines to cater to a wide variety of clients. Music therapy, art name it, Roots has it! Do yourself a kindness and check them out. You'll be glad you did.”