Conscious Children Say "No"

Cognitive behavioral therapy for adolescent substance abuse and suicide prevention

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Raising children in a modern environment filled with temptations is not easy. Fortunately, doctors specializing in adolescent behavior continue to research novel treatment to aid parents with their mental health dilemmas.

The prevalence of alcohol, recreational drugs, and suicide ideation in the lives of the nation's adolescence remains to be one of our most daunting issues, arming youth with dangerous dependencies and symptoms. In response, doctors tested a therapy in a recent study which displays positive results for children suffering from substance abuse and dark thought patterns.

"Ask your therapist about how to alleviate negative thoughts and behaviors."

Lead-researcher, Christianne Esposito-Smythers, Ph.D., professor at George Mason University, and her team explain, "I-CBT for adolescents with co-occurring AOD and suicidality is associated with significant improvement in both substance use and suicidal behavior, as well as markedly decreased use of additional health services including inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations and emergency department visits."

This study, published ahead of print, is available through the American Psychological Association's Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Researchers test a cognitive treatment for substance abuse and suicidel prevention on forty children, average age fifteen, to determine its effectiveness.

The treatment, known as integrated outpatient cognitive-behavioral intervention for co-occurring alcohol or other drug use disorder (AOD) and suicidality (i-CBT), was delivered on an experimental group while a control received typical treatment. Doctors assessed progress at start, three, six, twelve, and eighteen month periods with several accredited scales.

I-CBT also demonstrated fewer suicide attempts and police arrests, as well as less days heavy drinking or ingesting marijuana. Although initiative decreased, suicide ideation was reduced comparably to regular treatment. Days taking in alcohol remained steady among treatments as well.

The treatment, I-CBT, stems from the larger foundation of general cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT allows toxic thoughts and emotions to escape through the verbal action. A talking therapy, practitioners work with patients to systematically resolve emotional and behavioral misunderstandings which result in dysfunctional thoughts, words, and actions.

Cognitive methods have been around for decades and many mental health professionals use them. Ask a pediatrician about cognitive behavioral therapy if your child shows symptoms of substance abuse or expresses thoughts of suicide.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 30, 2011
Last Updated:
November 30, 2011