America’s teenagers and young adults are experiencing a mental health crisis. The latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in February tells a distressing story about the health and well-being of our nation’s young people.
“As we saw in the 10 years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health among students overall continues to worsen, with more than 40 percent of high school students feeling so sad or hopeless that they could not engage in their regular activities for at least two weeks during the previous year—a possible indication of the experience of depressive symptoms. We also saw significant increases in the percentage of youth who seriously considered suicide, made a suicide plan, and attempted suicide.”
Many teenagers who struggle with mental health issues will attempt to alleviate their emotional pain by misusing psychoactive substances such as alcohol, cannabis, depressants, and stimulants. While misusing drugs and alcohol carries serious health risks all by itself, teenagers currently also face the often fatal possibility that the street drugs they purchase are tainted with the synthetic opioid fentanyl.
“There were about 1,550 pediatric deaths from fentanyl in 2021—over 30 times more than in 2013 when the wave of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids started in the US,” CNN reported earlier this month. “A surge that began in 2018 led to a nearly three-fold increase in deaths among older adolescents and a nearly six-fold increase among children younger than five. In 2021, 40 infants and 93 children ages one to four died from a fentanyl overdose.”
Recovery at Avanti Behavioral Health
There is a new treatment option for teenagers at risk in the Denver area. Avanti Behavioral Health recently launched an intensive outpatient program (IOP) for clients between the ages of 13 and 18 in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
Our mission is to provide comprehensive, holistic, family-centered, and trauma-informed care for your teen. We want to help each client find their version of what is known as “dynamic recovery.”
Dynamic recovery for teenagers can be defined as a positive approach to staying sober that involves finding enjoyment and fulfillment in life without the use of drugs or alcohol. It’s an approach that is focused on personal growth, self-improvement, and the pursuit of new interests and passions.
For teenagers, dynamic recovery can involve exploring new hobbies and interests, building healthy relationships with friends and family, and seeking out positive role models who can provide guidance and support.
“As a parent, there are few things quite as traumatic as facing the realization that your child has a substance addiction,” says Avanti founder Ed Venerable. “You feel responsible, frustrated, scared, confused, and broken. When my son entered treatment, I felt like a complete failure as a father. Through education, therapy, and group support, you quickly learn the “3 C’s” – You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it.”
The Avanti team believes that recovery from a substance use disorder (SUD) is a process that should involve the entire immediate family. We have developed an effective and highly involved method of family counseling. We focus on multiple factors involving the existing family dynamic by examining the family unit and understanding the role of each individual family member, ultimately restructuring the family dynamic into something healthy, functional, and beneficial for all involved.