We know you want to learn as much as you can about what’s going on inside your mind, body, and spirit as you navigate your recovery. We’ve compiled a wealth of articles, blogs, and other resources to help you understand the latest science and approaches to treating mental health, substance abuse, and behavioral issues. Whatever you’re struggling with, you can draw on the experience and wisdom of those who’ve gone before you.

Click the article links on this page to learn more.


Parental Controls: Teens Still See Pornography Despite Parents’ Best Intentions

Mental Health Distress in Teens Obsessed with Pornography Parenting a teenager in the internet age is challenging. Thirty years ago, it was possible to control a teenager’s access to media with relative ease. Smartphones did not exist. Most families had televisions, but most programming was PG, with the exception of cable TV, where blocking explicit […]

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Drugged Driving Rivals Dangers of Drunk Driving

Drugged driving doesn’t get as much national attention as drunk driving, but it’s every bit as dangerous. Like alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs impair teens’ ability to drive safely and are part of the reason motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death among young people. Experts warn that legalization may make the problem […]

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Real-Life Support Helps More Than Social Media, Study Says

Adolescents are social creatures who need social outlets to stay healthy. Many teens rely on social media to connect with others. It’s free, widely used, and easily accessible. And while social media is a reliable source of support for teens, a new study shows it’s less effective than real-life support. Social support provides a sense […]

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Digital Dating Abuse Among Teens

With each passing year, more and more adolescent development occurs digitally, through online and virtual spaces. This is, of course, a function of the digital age. Before adults rush to condemn the fact that for adolescents, many developmental milestones, breakthroughs, and foundational experiences occur online, we should pause, and look to our own lives to […]

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What Parents Need to Know About Wax, Dabbing, and Vaping Marijuana

This is Not the Marijuana Hippies Smoked at Woodstock After alcohol and tobacco, marijuana is the most commonly used and abused drug among teenagers in the United States. Teen marijuana use became widespread in the 70s, dipped in the 80s, and steadily increased through the 90s, the 2000s, and 2010s. When marijuana vaping products became […]

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National Culinary Arts Month: Chefs at Evolve

At Evolve, each of our residential treatment centers has an in-house chef on staff. Our chefs are an integral part of the treatment team, preparing three nutritious and delicious meals a day for our teen clients, leading Cooking Labs, and modeling the importance of healthy, balanced eating. In honor of National Culinary Arts Month this […]

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How to Introduce a Newly Identified Sense of Self: LGBTQIA+ Pride Month

The past year has been like no other. The pandemic arrived last March, and across the country – with the exception of a few states – everything changed. Schools switched to virtual. Rather than the two weeks we initially anticipated, most stayed virtual all year. Businesses closed and restaurants stopped in-person dining. Movie theaters paused, […]

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Why This Father’s Day is Different than All Others

The past year has been an unusual one, to say the least. Lack of in-person schooling and quarantines due to the pandemic means you probably spent more time with your parents than you have in years. A recent Pew research study showed that a significant percentage of parents changed their work schedules in 2020 due […]

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Can I Legally Run Away?

You hate your life and your parents. Things are bad at home – and you want to run away. You imagine a clean slate. An escape. A fresh start. Maybe you think running away will make everything better. Maybe you believe that leaving everything behind will make your problems disappear. But you’re not sure how […]

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How to Rekindle a Friendship After COVID: Advice for Teens

June 8 is National Best Friends Day. It’s a chance to celebrate the friends in your life and show them how much they mean to you. If you’re like many teens, COVID-19 has impacted some – if not most – of your friendships. The frequent shelter-in-place guidelines, virtual school, and social distancing requirements of 2020 […]

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National Running Day: Why Is Running Important for Teens?

The air whips past your face. The sweat trickles down your chest. Your shoes slap the ground, one after the other. Your legs ache, you’re getting cramps on your side, and you’re breathing heavily. Running, jogging, walking, swimming, and cycling are all examples of aerobic activities. Aerobic activity includes any exercise that works your cardiovascular […]

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What is Radical Acceptance and How Can it Help Me?

Core DBT Skills: Radical Acceptance If you’ve heard of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), then you’ve probably heard of radical acceptance. Maybe your child mentioned it, or maybe their therapist told you about it. Maybe you’ve seen the phrase as you researched DBT online. This article will give you an expanded understanding of radical acceptance, and […]

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Mental Health Awareness Month 2021: Tools 2 Thrive Phase Two

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. At the beginning of 2020, no one could have predicted where we are now, almost halfway through 2021. We faced the worst public health emergency in a hundred years: the coronavirus pandemic. Physical health and wellbeing were our first priority all year, which was critical for getting the pandemic […]

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May is National Teen Self-Esteem Month: Ten Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem

This month, May, is International Boost Your Self-Esteem Month. As many of us know, self-esteem is a vital ingredient in mental health. A positive self-view promotes emotional health and wellbeing. A negative self-concept is linked to depression, anxiety, substance use, addiction, and other mental health issues. In honor of this month, here are ten ways […]

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May 7th is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

Every year on May 7th, a committed group of private, public, and non-profit organizations join together to celebrate National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day (CMHAD). CMHAD has two primary goals: Raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health Show that positive mental health is an essential aspect of child development This year, more than […]

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May is National Bike Month

May is a great month to ride a bike. Ask a cyclist, and they’ll tell you every month is a great month to ride a bike. They’ll also tell you every day is a great day for a bike ride. But be careful. If you ask a committed cyclist about cycling, prepare yourself for them […]

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Why is Toxic Positivity Harmful to Teens?

When you’re upset, sometimes the last thing you want to hear is: Don’t worry, be happy! Just look at the bright side! Let’s stay positive! But whether you like those phrases or not, you hear them all the time, so you know how unhelpful – and annoying – they can be. When people smile and […]

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More Time on Social Media Increases the Risk of Cyberbullying

The average teenager spends seven hours online every day for entertainment. While spending more time online is a reality of modern life, it changes the way adolescents interact with one another, often in negative ways. For example, too much time on social media can increase your child’s risk of being bullied online and becoming a […]

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

This month is Child Abuse Prevention Month (CAPM). CAPM is organized and promoted by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (AYCF), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Mayo Clinic defines child abuse as “any intentional harm or mistreatment to a child under 18”. This can include physical […]

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April is Counseling Awareness Month

This month is Counseling Awareness Month (CAM). Created and promoted by the American Counseling Association (ACA) and sponsored by groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Mental Health America (MHA), April is a time to recognize the mental health counselors who work so hard every day to improve lives and help people […]

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April is National Minority Health Month

This month is National Minority Health Month. National Minority Health Month has its origins in April 1915, when Dr. Booker T. Washington instituted the first National Minority Health Month in an effort to encourage members of the African-American community to better take care of their health. He asked local health departments, schools, places of worship, […]

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National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week 2021

In 2010, scientists and experts on drug and alcohol use from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) launched a public awareness campaign to offer teenagers real facts about alcohol and drug use among their peer group. The purpose of the campaign was twofold: Present teenagers with the latest data on alcohol and drugs. Refute […]

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How the Arts Support Teen Brain Development

Most people agree that art and music are enjoyable, but a growing field of study – neuroaesthetics – shows they can also change the way the brain works. Through brain imaging tools, we know that the arts make people feel good, teach essential thinking skills, and help wire the brain for success. Exercise for the […]

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Teens After Treatment: What to Tell Friends

When you start treatment for a mental health, alcohol, or substance use disorder, you might wonder how much – or even if – you should tell your friends about what you’re going through. If you’re in outpatient or intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), the question may never come up, because many of those programs occur after […]

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Teens and Mental Health in the News: The NBC Report

It’s been a year. The vaccines are here. Public health officials, in collaboration with state, municipal, and community resources, are in the process of distributing doses to as many people in the U.S. as they can. They’re doing it as quickly as possible, under challenging circumstances. Whether this means our kids will be back in […]

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Best Mindfulness and Meditation Apps for Teens

You hear all about mindfulness these days. In case you missed the basics, staying mindful means slowing down and paying close attention to this present moment, without judgment. Deep breathing, meditation, walking, and yoga are all mindfulness practices that promote positive wellbeing and mental health. While especially beneficial to those struggling with mental health and […]

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February is Black History Month

Evolve Clinicians Share What Black History Means to Them This month is Black History Month in the United States. It comes at an opportune time: just a few weeks ago, Kamala Harris made history when she took the oath of office as America’s first Black Vice President. This month is an ideal opportunity to celebrate […]

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Children of Alcoholics Awareness Week 2021

Each year during the week of Valentine’s Day, alcoholism awareness advocates around the U.S. and the world observe National Children of Alcoholics Week (COA Awareness Week) to draw attention to the challenges children of alcoholic parents face every day. In response to the growing epidemic of addiction in the U.S., COA Awareness week now includes […]

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Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month 2021: Know Your Worth

The theme for TDVAM 2021 is about self-empowerment, self-respect, and self-esteem. This year’s message is for all teens, with a special focus on teens who have experienced dating violence and for teens who date and want to prevent dating violence. Advocates from LoveisRespect – the organization responsible for TDVAM – created the theme to remind […]

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February is Boost Your Self-Esteem Month. What Exactly is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is a phrase most of us encounter early in life. Our first understanding of self-esteem is typically a simple one. If we like ourselves and think well of ourselves, then we learn we have what the adults in our lives call high self-esteem. But if we don’t particularly like ourselves, think negatively about ourselves, […]

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I Hear Voices and I’m Embarrassed – What Do I Do?

If you hear voices, or you think you hear voices, you might be ashamed. Psychosis – particularly the prodromal symptom known as hallucination – is often connected to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or another mental health or substance abuse disorder. But we’ve got news for you. If you’re hallucinating, you don’t […]

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New CDC Guidelines on Exercise and Activity: What They Say for Adolescents

In 1996, the Surgeon General of the United States released a report that served as a wake-up call about the general state of health and wellness of people in the U.S. The Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health outlined serious issues in two areas. First, the report identified a disturbing, wide-ranging, population-level prevalence […]

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Research Report: Boost Happiness and Wellbeing by Getting Outside

The shelter-in-place guidelines that have been in effect for millions of people in the U.S. since March take their toll. Evidence shows an increase in the symptoms of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, as well as an increase in binge-drinking, consumption of recreational drugs, and opioid-related overdose deaths. Over the past year, we’ve […]

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National Hobby Month: Where do Hobbies Come From?

Every year during the month of January, people in the U.S. celebrate National Hobby Month. Enthusiasts around the country share information about their hobbies with friends, try new hobbies that interest them, and dive deeper into the hobbies and activities they love. It seems like hobbies have been around forever. They’re a natural way to […]

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Five Steps to Achieve and Maintain Mental Wellness

Now that we’re well into 2021, we won’t mention why we want it to be an amazing year, or why we – at the very least – want it to be better than 2020. To be fair, we give January and February 2020 a pat on the back. For most of us, they were fine, […]

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Am I Hearing Voices? Teens and Auditory Hallucinations

If you think you’re hearing voices, you may be wondering what’s going on. You also might be a bit nervous. Are you actually hearing voices? And if so, why are you hearing them? First, know that this experience is more common than you think. Researchers estimate that between 5% and 28% of the entire population […]

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Making New Year’s Resolutions for 2021

Last year at this time we published an article about New Year’s Resolutions. What we talked about was unconventional, as far as New Year’s resolutions go. We didn’t advise making typical resolutions like learning a new skill, exercising more, being more responsible with money, or losing weight – although we think those are all great […]

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What is Drug Rehab? Myths and Misconceptions

Drug Rehab: First Encounter Taptaptap. Taptaptap. I roll over in the dark and bury my head in the pillow. The noise sounds like it’s coming from my bedroom door. Probably my mom, trying to wake me up for school. At sixteen years old, I have the set-up all my friends want: a basement bedroom with […]

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This Movement on Instagram Might Help You Stay Sober

We’ve talked a lot about social media in our blogs and articles. We’ve covered the dangers for teens and the ways it can help teens. Most content about social media and teens focuses on the negative aspects. Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat. Kik. Twitter. AskFM. On all of these sites, teens frequently glorify drugs and alcohol, partying, […]

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Prevalence of School Bullying in Santa Barbara: How Parents Can Help

Public school students in most school districts in California take the California Healthy Kids Survey every year. This is a confidential, anonymous self-report survey that asks elementary and secondary school students about safety at school, support, academic involvement, substance use, and mental health issues. Many of the questions ask students about their experiences of bullying […]

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Diwali at Evolve

Last week, our teenagers at Evolve Ojai participated in a fun and interesting diversity and cultural awareness group. This group coordinates with our gardening group and culinary creations group to introduce our teens to various aspects of the many different cultures around the world. They learn about celebrations and rituals that people hold dear. This […]

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My Best Friend Ended Their Life. I Feel Hopeless.

If your best friend recently committed suicide, it’s normal to feel a tremendous sense of loss, grief, and distress. You may feel, right now, as if you’re in a black hole and that nothing will ever make it better. There’s so much pain you wonder whether your life will ever be the same again. You […]

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Why Starting Treatment at Evolve Over Thanksgiving is a Good Idea

If your teenager has a mental health or substance use disorder, you may have considered residential treatment for them at some point in the past. If they have a mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, you understand that if they spend a period of time focusing solely on healing and recovery, […]

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How Many High School Teens in Santa Barbara Use Drugs? Where Do They Get Them?

If you’re a Santa Barbara resident – a parent, teen, or a professional who works with adolescents – the current data on substance use among high school students in your area may be of interest. The following information comes from the California Healthy Kids Survey. Officials administer the anonymous survey to every school district in […]

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November is National Inspirational Role Models Month

Each November, people across the United States recognize and celebrate National Inspirational Role Models Month. This is a month to appreciate the people in our lives who set positive examples we aspire to emulate. Role models perform a vital function: through their character, accomplishments, and behavior, they show us what’s possible in life. Although we […]

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Practicing Gratitude: Tips for Teens

November is National Gratitude Month. Please take the time to click the link above and read our article on gratitude. It contains useful information about what gratitude is, the benefits of gratitude, the research behind gratitude, and how we can practice gratitude in our lives. Thank you in advance for reading that article – we […]

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Teen Technology Use During COVID-19

Just when you thought your teen couldn’t spend more time online, COVID-19 struck. Researchers were already documenting unprecedented levels of teen screen time prior to the pandemic. Early data suggests those rates have increased significantly. In a report from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, sixty-three percent of parents reported their teens […]

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Is My Teen Addicted to Shopping?

It seems like your teen is always shopping. At the mall or the outlets, alone or with friends, whether there’s a big sale going on or not. They come home with myriad purchases that seem unnecessary and trivial. Worst of all, they never use the things they buy or get any satisfaction out of them, […]

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How to Get Over a Teen Breakup

Breakups can be traumatic. If you’ve recently experienced a breakup, you might find it’s hard to stop crying. You might feel lonely, despondent, and like nothing matters anymore. You might even experience cravings for your ex, much in the same way people with addiction problems crave drugs. When you ask your friends what you should […]

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What to Do When People Don’t Believe Your Depression is Real

You know you have depression. You might have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD). But what happens when other people minimize or discount your depression? What if they don’t believe you at all? Friends, family, peers, or even strangers may tell you that your depression isn’t real. They might say most people with depression […]

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LGBTQ History Month: Looking Back, Moving Forward

by Toby LaPlant October is LGBTQ History Month in the United States. While one month isn’t nearly enough time to learn the names of every person who marched, spoke, took action, wrote, organized, and dreamed of a better life for themselves, their friends, or their family, it’s a great chance to get to know some […]

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Is My Teen Vomiting From Smoking Marijuana?

Marijuana is popular among teens. According to the most recent Monitoring the Future Survey, 45 percent of high school seniors said they’d tried marijuana at least once, and around six percent of them use marijuana every day. That’s about one in every 16 students. The advent of new e-cigarettes, such as the Juul, which looks […]

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October is Emotional Wellness Month

Since 2004, wellness advocates across the U.S. have recognized October as National Emotional Wellness Month. This year, we encourage you to join us as we take this time to raise awareness about the importance of emotional wellness, monitor our emotional wellness, and share what we know about emotional wellness to help our friends, colleagues, and […]

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Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder in Teens

Recent statistics suggest that a growing number of adolescents struggle with alcohol or substance use disorder. The numbers are alarming: 1.3 million adolescents aged 12-17, and 5.8 million young adults aged 18-25, met the clinical criteria for alcohol use disorder. And, even more worryingly, there is a significant treatment gap for this age group, with […]

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Understanding Peer Pressure in LGBTQ Spaces

Most people understand the bullying, exclusion, and violence that LGBTQ youth sometimes face from straight and/or non-LGBTQ people in their wider community. But something many people don’t know is that the pressure to look and act certain ways that teens experience from their LGBTQ peers can be just as damaging to their wellbeing. As television, […]

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How to Help Your Teenager Make Friends

For teenagers, a solid group of friends can enrich life and make the ups and downs of adolescence a fun, shared experience. Friends can help teens manage school, romance, family troubles, sports, and everything else that goes along with being a teen. But not all teens make friends easily, and sometimes life events interrupt friendships […]

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Struggling With Mom and Dad? Try Talking To Your Aunt or Uncle

Aunts and uncles can be like a second set of parents. Lots of kids have that cool aunt or fun-loving uncle who spoils you, takes you on outings, or loves telling stories about when you were in diapers. And lots of kids can think of a favorite aunt or uncle they feel comfortable confiding in. […]

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Is My Depression Real?

If you have depressive thoughts, you might sometimes wonder if you have depression – as in clinical depression. A voice inside your head may say things like: “Is this really depression? Maybe it’s just a phase? Or maybe I’m just overanalyzing my feelings? If I was actually depressed, shouldn’t I be… XYZ?” What makes it […]

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How to Tell if a Teen Needs Residential Treatment

If you worry your teen is getting off track this fall, you’re not alone. Parents across the country understand that the stress and disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic can have a wide range of negative consequences for their teens. Shelter-in-place orders, social distancing guidelines, and virtual school all mean things teens previously took for […]

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When Should a Parent Seek Professional Help for a Teen with Depression?

Most parents understand teenagers will display the symptoms of depression – and possibly additional mental health disorders – at some point during adolescence, which child development experts define as the time between ages twelve and eighteen. Parents know and understand emotions may fluctuate dramatically during this time because they were teens once, themselves. They also […]

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Suicide Prevention Month During COVID-19

This year, Suicide Prevention Month – as well as Suicide Prevention Week and World Suicide Prevention Day – feels different than in years past. That’s because it’s taking place during a pandemic. With COVID-19 now being our new normal, many new things have become commonplace. Masks are as essential as our keys. Social distancing is […]

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How to Keep Teens Connected to the LGBTQ Community During Covid-19

This year, many teens are starting the new school year from home. While some teens benefit from the flexibility of distance learning, nearly every student worries about the loss of in-person time with classmates, teachers, and friends. For teens who identify as LGBTQ, a semester of social distancing may mean being apart from the only […]

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National Recovery Month 2020: Celebrating Connections

For over 20 years – since 1999 – the Substance Abuse and Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) organized and promoted National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) every September. The goal of Recovery Month is to spread awareness, reduce stigma, and educate individuals and families about the importance of mental health and substance use treatment and services. This […]

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Why LGBTQ Identity Labels Are Important

The list of labels people use to describe their sexual orientation and their gender looks dramatically different than it used to. Surveys on sexual orientation as recent as five years ago included options like gay, lesbian, bisexual, and straight. The acronym LGBTQ, which itself grew from the umbrella term gay, which became GLB, then LGBT, […]

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How Dogs Improve Your Mental Health

There’s a reason why people say dogs are a (hu)man’s best friend. If you own one of these furry creatures, you already know why. Dogs are usually friendly and comforting. They offer a special form of companionship. Many pet owners wouldn’t hesitate to say they love their dog, and that their dog is a valuable […]

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Is Middle Child Syndrome Real?

Alfred Adler, an early psychoanalyst, and contemporary of Sigmund Freud, was the first to theorize that birth order affects personality. According to Adler, your personality is directly influenced whether you’re the youngest child, oldest child, or somewhere in between. Note that birth-order studies are mainly correlative. And – as it’s important to understand – correlation […]

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The Positive Impact of the Grandchild-Grandparent Bond on Mental Health

Everyone knows that grandparents have a special, unique bond with their grandchildren. In certain situations, this bond is sometimes deeper than the parent-child bond. But did you know that studies show being close with your grandparents – and vice versa – has positive effects on mental health? Being Close to the Grands Means Better Adolescent […]

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Teens and Driving Under the Influence: One Drink is Too Many

A hypothetical scenario: You have to drive somewhere. Maybe your parents asked you to run an errand to the grocery store or the dry-cleaners. Or, if you’re reading this after the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to get home from a party. Problem is, you had a beer. Or a glass of wine. Either at the […]

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The Trick to Avoiding a COVID-19 Mask Induced Panic Attack

In many parts of the U.S., new rules require citizens to wear facemasks whenever they leave home. The orders are meant to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives. But many teens feel wearing a mask is uncomfortable. It covers their mouth and nose. It gets hot. Now that it’s summertime, the heart make […]

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Seven Ways Teens Can Celebrate the Fourth of July During COVID-19

It’s the Fourth of July! Woohoo! Head to the beach, have a cookout, and watch fireworks with your friends and family. But this year – probably not. Obviously the situation is a little different. With coronavirus cases rising all over America, local and state officials are urging families to stay home and remember that despite […]

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Drugs That Can Cause Psychosis in Teens

Having a psychotic episode can be scary – for the teen undergoing it, and the parent witnessing it. Psychosis can best be described as an out-of-mind experience. It involves hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. While many are aware of the relationship between psychosis to mental health disorders (like schizophrenia), less is known about drug-induced psychosis. Many […]

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I Don’t Want People to Find Out I’m Going to a Teen Mental Health Treatment Center

If you have a mental health condition like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), self-harming/suicidal behavior, addiction or another emotional/behavioral issue, you may be apprehensive about going to an adolescent mental health treatment center. Many teens are nervous about going to a residential mental health treatment center because they think everyone is going to find […]

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DBT Tips: How to Apologize to a Friend

You messed up. Whether intentionally or unknowingly, you hurt a friend, a parent, a teacher, romantic partner, or someone else. How do you make it right? Alyson Orcena, LMFT, Executive Clinical Director of Evolve Treatment Centers, has practical tips that come directly from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). She’s an experienced DBT therapist and teaches DBT […]

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I Can Quit Drugs on My Own: I Don’t Need to Go to Rehab

If you live with substance use or addiction, you’ve probably thought, at some point, that you can quit using drugs on your own. Whether it’s addiction to marijuana, alcohol, amphetamines (Adderall counts), prescription painkillers (like Vicodin or OxyContin), hallucinogens, cocaine, heroin, or any other type of drug, you might think you can stop anytime. However, […]

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My Friend is Using Drugs: What Can I Do?

If your friend is experimenting with drugs or struggling with addiction, you may rightfully be concerned. Addiction – whether it’s to prescription painkillers, marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, hallucinogens, opioids, inhalants, or any other substance – can wreak havoc on their mind and body and cause irreparable damage to their short- and long-term health. Substance abuse […]

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Can My Parents Force Me to Go to Therapy or Rehab?

So- your parents are trying to convince you to attend a teen rehab center or mental health treatment center. They think you’re struggling with addiction or substance abuse. Or depression, anxiety, trauma, ODD, DMDD, ADHD, prodromal psychosis, or another mental health issue. The problem is, you don’t want to go to treatment. Whether it’s outpatient […]

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Can I Force My Teen to Go to Therapy or Mental Health/Drug Treatment?

Many parents struggle with teens who have emotional, behavioral, or substance abuse issues — like depression, anxiety, trauma, ODD, DMDD, ADHD, prodromal psychosis, or addiction. What makes it even harder is when these teens are reluctant to go to therapy or seek mental health/substance abuse treatment. There are a number of reasons why teens can […]

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Calling Transgender Teens by Their Chosen Name Reduces Suicide Risk

Recently, Starbucks – yes, the coffee shop – ran an advertising campaign in support of transgender teens. The popular ad, called #WhatsYourName, capitalizes on Starbucks’ well-known custom of personalizing each customer’s coffee cup. The short clip, which won a Diversity in Advertising Award and aired in the United Kingdom, follows a young teen throughout their […]

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June is Gay Pride Month: How it’s Happening During COVID-19

Gay Pride has come a long way since June of 1970, when the first Gay Pride Parade was held. That year, to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a small group of gay and lesbian activists got a permit to parade along a short route, from the corner of Sixth Avenue and Waverly […]

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Do All Teens Date?

If you’re a teenager, you’ve probably thought about dating. Maybe you’ve decided you don’t want to date at all, maybe you’ve decided you want to date some, and maybe you’ve decided you want to date a lot. We have some good news for you: no matter which category you’re in, you have company. This means […]

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I Don’t Want to Go to Therapy or a Teen Treatment Center

So: your parent or caregiver says you need treatment for a certain emotional, behavioral, or substance abuse problem. Perhaps they’re trying to convince you to attend a teen mental health treatment center (like a residential treatment center, a partial hospitalization program, or an intensive outpatient program) that specializes in depression, anxiety, trauma, ODD, DMDD, ADHD, […]

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How Understanding Grief and Loss Can Help During COVID-19

You don’t know anyone who passed away due to COVID-19. So how come you feel like you’re grieving? Because you might very well be. During this pandemic, many are experiencing different types of losses. Whether it’s loss of a job, social interaction, money, missing a special ceremony or milestone event, or even the loss of […]

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Help! I Got Drunk and Embarrassed Myself

It’s the morning after. Or a few days after. Or a week or two later. You got drunk – at a party, event, get-together, take your pick – and you did something highly inappropriate. Thanks to the inhibition-reducing effects of alcohol, you might have acted aggressively against a peer, said something you regret, or did […]

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Nick Loffree Talks Diet, Exercise, and Sleep

About Nick Loffree Nick Loffree leads weekly qiqong classes for teens in the Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs (PHP/IOP) at Evolve Treatment Centers. While teaching, Nick often talks about his personal journey through complementary medicine and self-healing. He first started practicing Qigong (an exercise involving meditative breathing coordinated with slow, fluid movement) after discovering […]

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How Does Buprenorphine (Suboxone) Help Treat Teen Opioid Addiction?

The most commonly prescribed medication for teens with an opioid use disorder is Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine was approved in 2002 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for adolescents age 16 and over. One qualitative study of more than twenty-thousand teens and young adults in the U.S. showed that buprenorphine […]

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Help! My Teen Relapsed During the COVID-19 Lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic has our society at a virtual standstill. But some things don’t stop for a virus. One example: recovery from an alcohol or substance use disorder. Recovery is an ongoing, life-long process that takes the work, care, and diligent attention of the person in recovery. It also takes the care and attention of […]

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Mental Health Awareness Month 2020: Tools 2 Thrive

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. At the beginning of 2020, no one could have predicted where we are now: in the middle of a worldwide health crisis, the coronavirus pandemic. Our physical health and wellbeing are front and center in everyone’s mind, which is critical for getting the pandemic under control. Everyone is doing […]

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Home Life During COVID-19: Is My Teenager Craving Drugs? How Can I Tell?

Parents of teens who live with alcohol or substance use disorders face an additional challenge during the coronavirus pandemic. On top of everything new happening, such as telework, virtual school, shelter-in-place orders, and all the details related to COVID-19 that now make up part of their lives, they’re concerned how recovery is going for their […]

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This Mother’s Day, Here’s What Your Mom REALLY Wants From You

Forget flowers, brunch, or even sappy Hallmark cards. This Mother’s Day, take a minute to think about what your mother really wants from you. Hint: it’s not Alexa, the latest book from her favorite author, or the hat/purse/jewelry/oven mitts/gardening tools/knitting accessories she’s been talking about for months. Stumped? Read on for our list of six […]

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Rumination: How to Handle Unwanted Thoughts

Someone sent you a really mean text message or email, and you can’t stop reading it. You can’t help yourself. You get all worked up. Or someone seriously hurt you in the past, and you can’t move on from the injustice of it all. You keep replaying what happened again and again in your mind. […]

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How to Talk to Your Teen About Consent

The #MeToo movement brought to light the alarming frequency of sexual assault cases in the U.S. and around the world. The phenomenon was instigated by several high-profile women who alleged equally high-profile men sexually assaulted them. Naturally, the national conversation turned to the issue of consent. Teaching Children About Consent Though teaching your teen about […]

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month: I Ask for Consent

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States. The first SAAM was organized by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) in 2001, which makes this year – 2020 – the 19th anniversary of SAAM. The purpose of the month is to raise awareness about the grim reality of sexual assault, share […]

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April is Stress Awareness Month: What is Chronic Stress?

Each year during Stress Awareness Month, we publish a series of articles about stress: what it is, why we experience it, and what we can do about it. We also offer statistics on the prevalence of stress in our communities and advice on how to handle stress that becomes chronic, toxic, or dangerous to our […]

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April 10th is National Siblings Day

National Siblings Day (NSD) was founded in 1999 by Claudia Evart, a New York resident who lost both of her siblings at an early age. She organized the first NSD at the same time she launched the Siblings Day Foundation, a non-profit organization with the sole mission of promoting and honoring NSD. The purpose of […]

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Five Lessons About Emotions Teens Can Learn from The Movie Inside Out

Sometimes a movie is so educational and entertaining that it can teach you more about a subject than a textbook. And it can do it while making you laugh, cry, or both. Great movies like that can change your perspective on the world. Inside Out, a Pixar-animated story about an 11-year-old pre-teen girl named Riley, […]

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National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week 2020 Part Three: The Treatment Gap

This year, National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week takes place between March 30th and April 5th. Organizers and advocates invite teens, parents, teachers, school administrators, public policymakers, and anyone involved in the life of teenagers to get on board with the theme for 2020: NDAFW 2020: SHATTER THE MYTHS About Alcohol and Drug Use. This […]

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National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week 2020 Part One: Shatter the Myths

In 2010, scientists and experts on drug and alcohol use from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) launched a public awareness campaign to offer teenagers real facts about alcohol and drug use among their peer group. The purpose of the campaign was twofold: Present teenagers the latest data on alcohol and drugs. Refute myths […]

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How to Handle Anxiety During COVID-19 

Wherever you live, you are likely experiencing the impact of coronavirus. Schools and non-essential businesses are probably closed. Restaurants, theme parks, libraries, movie theaters: same. As of this writing, COVID-19 has already affected the health and lives of millions of people around the world. It’s already claimed the lives of more than a thousand people […]

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COVID-19: T.I.P.P.S. for Stressed-Out Teens

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an effective therapeutic approach for teens with various emotional, mood, and mental health disorders. DBT teaches skills you can use right away to manage stress, anxiety, and uncomfortable or unwanted patterns of thought. One set of DBT skills is called The TIPP Skills. You can learn these skills quickly and […]

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I’m Embarrassed About My Depression

If you have a mental health issue like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you might try to keep it a secret from friends and family because you’re embarrassed about it. Let us come right out and say now that, contrary to what you think, this is okay. Not the part about feeling ashamed […]

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Teletherapy for Teens During COVID-19

The coronavirus outbreak has changed almost every aspect of life as we know it. California and many other states have closed all non-essential businesses. Schools are shuttered – with no confirmed date when they will reopen. Theme parks, sports events, zoos, theaters, and other entertainment options are closed – also with no confirmed date when […]

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Five Ways to Convince Your Teen to Go to Mental Health or Drug Rehab (When They Don’t Want To)

If your child is like most teens, they’re reluctant about seeking help for a mental health or alcohol/substance use problem. Even if they receive a diagnosis for a disorder like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), alcohol/substance use disorder (AUD/SUD) […]

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March Is Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Awareness Month

Each year during the month of March, advocates join to raise awareness about the phenomenon of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). Physicians and mental health professionals may refer to NSSI as self-injury (SI), self-harm (SH), deliberate self-harm (DSH), and self-mutilation (SM).  Informally, NSSI is known as cutting. The purpose of this article is to participate in this […]

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The Treatment or School Conundrum: Which Comes First?

Your parents say you need to go to a teen rehab or mental health treatment center. You have depression, anxiety, prodromal psychosis, PTSD, a substance abuse problem, or another mental health or behavioral issue. You know that. Your parents know that. The psychiatrist who assessed you and recommended residential treatment knows that. The problem is […]

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How to Get Over a Friendship Breakup

It’s never easy when friendships end. You might have been the one to decide to end it, or maybe your former friend decided to end it. The friendship might have been toxic or codependent, or it may have been totally fine and wholesome. It might have ended out of the blue, or you might have […]

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What Medications Are Used in Medication Assisted Treatment for Teens?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a way for adolescents to detox from, and overcome, their opiate addiction. By taking specific, FDA-approved, physician-prescribed drugs, teens are able to gradually taper off their heroin or opioid addiction without experiencing strong opioid cravings or the painful symptoms of withdrawal. For these reasons, MAT helps limit the risk of relapse. […]

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Brand New To Exercising? These Tips Can Help

Exercise and Recovery The evidence is in. Regular exercise can help people in recovery. Studies show that an exercise routine can help people in recovery from alcohol and substance use disorders, combat depression, relieve anxiety, decreases cravings, and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Regular exercise also offers people in recovery new alternatives to old habits, decreases […]

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Someone is Stalking Me. What Should I Do?

It is very scary to be a victim of stalking. The person stalking you might be a random stranger, a casual acquaintance, or someone you used to be close with. They might send you unwanted notes, letters or gifts, try to contact you incessantly even when you said you don’t want to talk to them, […]

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Why is Adolescent Polydrug Use so Harmful?

When an individual uses two or more substances at the same time, the practice is called polydrug use. Polydrug use is particularly common among adolescents experimenting with alcohol and drugs. How Common Is Polydrug Use in Teens? One study of teens in California, conducted by the RAND research institute in Los Angeles, found that 29% […]

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The Benefits of Play Therapy for Young Children and Adolescents

What Is Play Therapy? Play therapy was developed early in the 20th century as a way for psychiatrists, psychotherapists, teachers and other childcare professionals to help young children positively and productively handle a wide range of emotional and psychological challenges. The underlying premise of play therapy is to meet children at their own level, where […]

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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month: #1Thing

Early Roots: Protecting Families In 1981, advocates for women and children created Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) to raise awareness about domestic violence and spread reliable facts and knowledge about its prevalence and consequences. Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) is the product of that same awareness and advocacy movement. The goals of DVAM and […]

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January is National Hobby Month: Top Ten Benefits of Hobbies for Teens

Sometimes, hobbies are just fun, and nothing else. And that’s what makes them so great. They occupy a space in life that’s not work, school, or family. Everyone needs that: a part of life where there’s no pressure and very few expectations. Hobbies can be that. But hobbies can be also be much more. They […]

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January 2020: National Stalking Awareness Month

Stalking is a serious crime that can cause severe emotional damage to the person being stalked. Stalking can also be a precursor to sexual and non-sexual violence, rape, and murder. Did that sentence get your attention? Good. That’s why we wrote it: stalking needs your attention. It needs all our attention. It needs national attention. […]

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Someone Is Stalking My Teen Online. What Do I Do?

Here at Evolve Treatment Centers, our utmost priority is the safety and security of adolescents and teens everywhere. That’s why we’re committed to spreading awareness on the dangers of the dark web, unfiltered social media access, and the unfortunate reality of child sex trafficking/grooming. Grooming and stalking go hand-in-hand. Many child predators will start talking […]

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Pros and Cons of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Your teen is addicted to heroin or other opioids. You’ve been getting lots of advice. Mental health professionals have told you about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), 12-Step programs (e.g. Nar-Anon), and adolescent drug rehab centers. You’ve also heard about detoxification (often referred to as detox), and Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). For teens […]

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Can Music Help Treat Depression?

A report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017 shows that depression is one of the most common chronic diseases on earth. The numbers are staggering: around 322 million people live with some form of clinical depression. That’s close to five percent of the entire population of the planet. This is a serious, […]

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What to Look for in Friendships: Pre-Adolescents and Teens

We’ll start this article by saying the qualities of friendship we discuss here are not exclusive to people in recovery from mental health, alcohol, or substance use disorders. These qualities of friendship are nearly universal – with some cultural variation and minor differences based on social norms in various countries or regions, of course. Teens […]

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Do I Have a Psychosomatic Disorder?

Your back is always hurting. You have relentless stomach pain or cramps. Headaches. Chest pain. Pains in your limbs that aren’t going away. The thing is, while the pain is absolutely real, you’re not sure where it’s coming from. Have you considered whether it could be psychosomatic? Psychosomatic Symptoms in Teens The word psychosomatic comes […]

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Recovery Tips: How to Find an Exercise Routine You Can Stick To

When we wrote our New Year’s resolutions articles this year, we intentionally avoided talking about tangible, goal-oriented resolutions like saving money, losing weight, or picking up a new hobby, such as playing a musical instrument. That may seem counter-intuitive, because almost all New Year’s resolutions involve setting and achieving goals similar to those. Most people […]

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How Qigong Helps with Mental Health Issues Like Anxiety and Depression

Evolve is a proponent of experiential therapies, which promote mental health and prevent relapse. Experiential therapies (like equine-assisted therapy, surf therapy, music, art and more) provide fun, healthy outlets for teens, expose them to new ways of expressing themselves, and help them discover what a “life worth living” looks like for them. A new experiential […]

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Am I Being Paranoid, or is it Real?

You persistently have the feeling that someone is following you. You’re often nervous that people are gossiping about you. You wonder whether people are reading your thoughts. There are dangerous people out there to get you. Your friends tell you you’re being paranoid. Meanwhile, you’re not so sure. So you ask yourself: “Am I actually […]

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The Role of Exercise in Teen Depression Treatment

Teen depression is a complex disease that doesn’t always respond to traditional therapeutic approaches. Many mental health treatment providers use a trial-and-error approach to establish what works and what doesn’t for each client. Initially, the therapies treatment centers use include antidepressant medications and talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Complementary approaches like exercise […]

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Morning Yoga: A Tool for Recovery

In many addiction recovery programs, regular physical exercise is considered to be a top line behavior. Extensive research in exercise physiology demonstrates that exercise helps alleviate stress, increases a sense of well-being, and boosts self –confidence in those who exercise regularly. In recent years, addiction treatment centers, addiction therapists, and addiction experts have included another […]

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How People in Recovery Define Recovery

There’s a funny thing about recovery: the people who define what recovery is aren’t necessarily in recovery themselves. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re a doctor, for instance, you don’t have to have an illness to be able to identify and treat it. But it is a curious thing. It’s so curious that […]

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How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Treats PTSD in Adolescents

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious psychological disorder that develops in some teens after they’ve been through something traumatic. Traumas can include neglect or abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional). Family violence. A car accident, death of a loved one, or natural disasters. War. School shootings. Terrorist attacks like 9/11, or even just exposure to […]

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How to Support a Loved One in Recovery: Five Tips for the Holidays

If you have a friend or loved one who’s in treatment for a mental health disorder, or in recovery from an alcohol or substance use disorder, you probably want to help them in any way you can. And you should help them, if you can, because the fact you know about what they’re going through […]

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How to Navigate Recovery During the Holidays

December is here, which means we’re already in the thick of the winter holidays here in the U.S. Halloween warmed us up. Thanksgiving made it real. Now the big break is just around the corner. Kids will be out of school for a couple of weeks, families will travel near and far for vacations or […]

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My Teen has Oppositional Defiant Disorder: How Will DBT Help?

If your teen has Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or ODD, life can be a never-ending power struggle. While it’s normal to have an increase in conflicts with parents during adolescence, teens with ODD are constantly irritable, sarcastic, or aggressive (either verbally or physically). They may frequently shrug off rules and use obscenities or curse words. You […]

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How to Avoid a Holiday Relapse

For most teenagers, the winter holidays mean lots family time. If you’re a teenager in treatment for an alcohol or substance use disorder, family time can be very challenging. From Thanksgiving all the way through to New Year’s Day, you’ll go to parties, dinners, and get-togethers that bring everyone together to eat, drink, and share […]

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I’ve Met Someone Online. They Want to Meet in Person. Now What?

So, you met a guy online. Or a girl. (For purposes of stylistic ease, we are using the male pronoun here, but this person could be of any gender.) It could have been Facebook. Kik. Fortnite. He seems so nice. Flattering. Sweet. And he really likes you, it seems. He understands, accepts, and supports you […]

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Can a Teen Be Diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder?

Diagnosing a teen with Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD, is “tricky,” says Alyson Orcena, LMFT, Executive Clinical Director of Evolve Treatment Centers. That’s because some of its defining features are very common to adolescents in general. Emotional instability, moodiness, identity issues, and sensitivity to rejection are all fairly typical in teens. Historically, this is why […]

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I Caught My Teen Sexting. Now What?

You might have gotten the call from another parent, who was appalled. Or the school administrator. Or maybe you found out about it yourself. Inadvertently saw some of the photos on your teen’s phone. Read some of the racy texts. How you discovered it doesn’t matter. Ultimately, you caught your teen sexting. Help! My Teen […]

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What Causes Borderline Personality Disorder in Teens?

Borderline personality disorder in teens is marked by high levels of impulsivity, repeated self-harming and suicidal attempts, conflicted relationships with others, and high emotional sensitivity and reactivity. But what causes this disorder? Experts can’t point to one single cause of borderline personality disorder (BPD) in adolescents. Mental health professionals believe it is caused by several […]

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I Hate My Life: What to Do If You’re Really Unhappy with Your Life

You hate your life. Maybe you hate school, hate your parents, hate yourself, or all three. You wonder whether life will ever get any better, or if it will always be this terrible. Good news first: Life will get better. You won’t always feel this hopeless or helpless. Things will change. Bad news: You have […]

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What Age Should My Child Get a Phone?

The time has come. Your child, or adolescent, is asking for a phone. But not just any phone will do, of course. They need a smartphone. Preferably the latest model.  “Everyone has one,” they’re telling you. (Which may not be 100% true, by the way.) But before you go and purchase said smartphone, you decide […]

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How Horses Can Help Teens Overcome Mental Health Issues

Equine-assisted therapy, which involves interacting with horses, is a widely used therapeutic tool, especially with adolescents. The unique sensitivity of horses, and their oft-cited characteristic of being “nonjudgmental”, helps teens develop the same characteristics towards themselves. In equine-assisted therapy (EAT), teens are required to be fully present. They need to watch for and respond to […]

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DBT, Fitness, and Depression

While exercise has not yet been shown to cure any mental health disorder on its own, there are mountains of evidence showing its benefits on mood, self-concept, and work ethic. Exercise has a huge effect on a teen’s emotional wellbeing and even improves cognition. It also has a host of physical benefits: it increases heart […]

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How Art Therapy Will Help With Trauma

What does painting have to do with mental health? Lots, actually. Art therapy is a popular intervention for those with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, low self-esteem, trauma, and more. PTSD and other childhood attachment issues like neglect are particularly amenable to art therapy. Many studies analyzing children with PTSD find that the participants in the treatment […]

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TikTok: A Ticking Time Bomb for Teens

Some call the app “digital karaoke.” On it, teens can create 3-15-second videos of themselves singing, lip-syncing, dancing, or doing anything at all – antics and silly pranks included — to background music. The videos, by default, loop on repeat, making it often addictive to keep watching. Popular TikTok videos mostly show young adolescents, often […]

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Why Am I Vomiting So Much? Do I Have CHS?

If you find yourself throwing up constantly, for no apparent reason, your doctor might ask whether you smoke marijuana. And how often. Don’t get annoyed at the doctor’s seeming nosiness. There’s actually a link between heavy marijuana use and vomiting. Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome Increasing case reports have shown that people who use marijuana often, and […]

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Hostile Aggression in Sports: What Causes Some Athletes to Fight During a Game?

If you’ve ever watched a youth sports game, you’ll inevitably see some athletes playing more aggressively than others. Certain teens will push, roughhouse, and be overly hostile to their opponents, even going above and beyond the instrumental aggression necessary to win. Two Types of Aggression Researchers identify two types of aggression related to sports: instrumental […]

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The Link Between Aggression and Male Jock Culture

In previous articles, we discussed the link between sports and aggression. We presented studies indicating that athletes in high-contact sports (like football or wrestling, for example) are more likely to be aggressive even off the playing field. However, we concluded by reminding parents that there could be several factors at play (no pun intended!) in […]

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Are Certain Sports Making My Teen Aggressive?

Note: this is just one part of our series on Sports: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, where we discuss all the ways athletic participation can influence teens. Read our previous articles here and here. The most aggressive sports player in history might arguably be Jack Tatum. Tatum was a football player with the […]

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Warning Labels on Alcohol Products: Do They Work?

Most of us grew up with warning labels on products around the house. We saw labels on things like cleaning products, bug spray, and rat poison. Some household items even had labels with the classic pirate’s skull and crossbones, letting us know that the contents were actual poison that could kill you if ingested. All […]

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The Benefits of Sports for Teens

Eight million teens played sports in high school last year, based on a survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). That was a record-breaking high. In fact, the number of high school athletes has been increasing for the last three decades. With so many adolescents playing sports, it’s worthwhile to talk […]

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This School’s Mental Health Awareness Program Tackles Real-Life Teen Stressors

Sometimes, the signs are clearly visible—people can read you like a book. Other times, no one can even guess what you’re struggling with inside. This dichotomy was the inspiration behind Colorado’s new statewide mental health campaign, “Below the Surface.” This attention-grabbing awareness campaign stemmed from a wave of student suicides in high schools around Colorado […]

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Balancing It All: Are Teens Too Busy These Days?

For adolescents juggling school, homework, extracurricular activities, social commitments, SAT/ACTs, and maybe even college applications, the day may never seem long enough. Phew…just writing out that list made us need to take a breath! Teens these days are as busy as ever. Is it Good to be Busy? Many feel that it’s good to be […]

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Mental Health in High School: Roundup of Clubs on Campus

Mental health issues in adolescents are ever-increasing. According to the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey, more than 30% of high school students around the U.S. reported “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness” in 2017. More than 17% have seriously considered suicide. And more than 13% have even made a plan. These numbers have been rising […]

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New School Year, New You: Put Your Recovery First

Let’s say, for instance, one thing you did this summer was get treatment for an alcohol or substance use disorder. It may have been a live-in, residential program, a day treatment program, a half-day program, or something else. Whatever type of treatment you received, we’re sure it wasn’t the easiest thing you’ve ever done. You […]

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How to Survive the Transition From Middle School to High School

For a teen, perhaps one of the most nerve-wracking academic transitions is the one between middle school and high school. There’s a new, bigger school building you have to acclimate to.  New peers, which mean new cliques. Brand-new teachers and classes—and many of them. A faster pace at school. Anticipating all of these new social […]

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How to Stay Sober in Your First Year of College

Most people in the U.S. see the college years as a period of life when it’s okay to experiment with alcohol and drugs. In fact, most people think it’s normal. Most people also think it’s normal that a college student, away from the watchful eyes of their parents and neighbors for the first time, might […]

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Team Sports, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and Mental Health

A story published by National Public Radio (NPR) in May caught our attention. Here’s the headline: “Playing Teen Sports May Protect From Some Damages of Childhood Trauma” Like many things we see in the media that intersect with our specialty – helping adolescents struggling with mental health and/or substance use disorders – we thought to […]

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Your Friend is Addicted to Drugs. Are You Enabling Their Behavior?

If your friend is addicted to drugs—whether it’s opioid pills like Oxycontin or recreational drugs like weed or crack—you may feel obligated to help. Whether or not your friend asks you for help, you may feel like you need to stop their dangerous cycle and get them back on track. First, we’ll be straight up […]

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How Do I Stop My Bully?

Marilyn* was getting bullied at her public school. Girls made fun of her clothes and her appearance. She didn’t drink or go to clubs or bars, and they made fun of her for that, too. They called her names, threw her hostile looks, and taunted her behind her back. Every time she walked into the […]

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What to Do When You Have Bad Friends

Sometimes, our friends are the best parts of our lives. They give us emotional support, spread cheer, and/or help us become better. Whenever we’re around them, you feel happier and a better version of yourself. On the other hand, certain friends are simply bad for you. They can be difficult to be around. They might […]

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Envious of a Friend? What They Have Won’t Make You Happy

Emily, Abigail, and Hannah were sitting together at lunch. The end of the shool year was just a few weeks away, so the three high school friends were discussing their summer plans.             “We’re going on a cruise to Alaska,” said Emily, flipping her hair over her shoulder. “My mom found this amazing cruise line […]

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How to Find the Right High School for You

By the time we’re teenagers, most of us know whether we like school or not. Some of us may be on the fence, true: we can take it or leave it. But most fall into one camp or the other. We love it or we hate it. And it’s not always about grades. Some “A” […]

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Can I Ever Be Happy? Five Things You Can Do That Will Make Yourself Happier

Our founding fathers worked tirelessly to ensure all U.S. citizens would be given the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” According to our founding documents, happiness is a core value of American society. However, America has never been so unhappy. Just look at the rate of depression in teens today: at any […]

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I Don’t Like the Way My Medication Makes Me Feel. What do I Do?

If you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health or behavioral issue, you might be on medication. Adhering to your medication regiment daily is something to be commended for. You know that medication will help you feel better, so you’re doing your job in the recovery process. However, many medications come with side-effects, which you may […]

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Breaking the Myth: Heroin is Not a Party Drug

Parents often call us when their adolescent is having substance abuse issues. Sometimes, when they mention that their teen has used heroin, they’ll follow up with a statement like, “But they say they’ve only tried it a couple of times at a party…” Unfortunately, we’re here to break your bubble: Heroin is not a social […]

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Why Benzodiazepines are Dangerous for Teens

Two years ago, popular celebrity Lena Dunham shared her personal experience with benzodiazepines, otherwise known as benzos.  Although her doctor prescribed benzos to manage her anxiety, Dunham found that she was becoming dependent on them. So much so, in fact, that she was taking the medication about every day for three years. They are only […]

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Why Are Friends So Hard?

It’s summer, and you’re away at camp. Your friend back home calls you often to talk. But you don’t always answer, because you’re busy with your camp friends, or you simply miss her calls. She’s insulted. She thinks you’re leaving her in the dust. You’re incredulous. You wonder: Is she really that insecure in your […]

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Does Anxiety Ever Go Away?

If you have an anxiety disorder, you might wonder if and when it will go away. When will you finally be cured? When will those voices in your head, those all-consuming thoughts and worries, finally give you peace once and for all? First, the bad news. Anxiety doesn’t really vanish forever. It’s just like any […]

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Help! How Can I Stop a Panic Attack?

If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you’re probably familiar with the symptoms: Your heart is pounding, hard. Your body starts shaking; your thighs might be trembling, and you can’t stop. The blood is rushing to your head, and you’re getting hot flashes or chills. Your mind feels like it’s swimming. Your breath comes out […]

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Is it Normal to Be Mad All the Time?

It’s normal to get angry at times. If someone maliciously insults you or your family, it makes sense that you’ll be angry. A classmate spreading a false rumor about you at school? That would make lots of people upset (and your school should probably discipline the bully.) You may get angry if your parents decide […]

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Gay Pride Month: Spotlight on Substance Use and LGBTQ Teens

For decades, research on rates of alcohol, substance use, and addiction in the adult LGBTQ community yielded conflicting data. Many studies showed high rates of binge drinking and illicit drug use in gay men. Others showed high rates of alcohol use disorder in lesbians. Still, other studies showed no significant differences in alcohol and drug […]

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June is Gay Pride Month

Every year in June, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, and Intersex community organizes and participates in a series of marches, festivals, celebrations, and events to raise knowledge and awareness about the presence and history of LGBTQ individuals in our society. Collectively, the events are known as Gay Pride Month. It’s a worldwide phenomenon. Gay […]

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Worried About Making Friends at Camp? DBT Can Help

If you’re going to a new camp for the first time, where you don’t know that many faces, you may be nervous about friends. While you may or may not have a bunch of friends back home or at school, camp is a whole different setting. What if nobody likes you? Nobody talks to you? […]

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The #1 Reason Why American Teens Are So Unhappy

America has never been so unhappy. In the 2019 World Happiness Report, America finished in 19th place, one drop lower than last year. It’s well below countries like Finland (#1), Iceland (#4), and Luxembourg (#14). America is one of the most established (and wealthiest) countries in the world, yet it has been undergoing a steady […]

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Why Do I Have to Take Medication for My Depression?

If you’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression, you might have been prescribed medication in addition to therapy. There are a number of different medications that treat depression. The most common class of drugs is called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), which include Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, and Lexapro, to name a few popular ones. Oftentimes, many […]

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What You Need to Know if You’re Trying to Make Friends

Picture the scene: you just started high school, and you barely know anyone. Or you moved, and you’re starting over completely. Or perhaps you’ve been at school for a while but haven’t yet managed to form any close relationships. In each of these situations, making friends can feel like a terrifying challenge. For one thing, […]

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Am I Normal?

Have the following thoughts ever occurred to you? How come everyone around me seems to be functioning well—if not perfectly—and I’m the only one who isn’t?   Everyone else seems to be doing okay in school, having normal relationships with their families, their friends, breezing through life. Why am I not?  Am I normal? Am […]

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Summer Sobriety Tip: How to Survive the Backyard Barbecue

When you quit drinking, lots of unexpected little things come up. During treatment, you tend to focus on the big things first. You learn to manage your emotions and recognize your triggers. You spend time learning about the science of addiction, and you may even be able to pinpoint exactly when and why you developed […]

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Sobriety Tips for Summer: How to Say No

Funny thing about no. It’s probably the first word you ever learned: “No.” You don’t remember it, but we can guarantee your parents do. Want cereal? No! Want cake? No! Want to play with Sally the Stuffed Seal? No! Toddlers love saying no. They’ll say no to anything and everything, just because. No one is […]

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12-Step Programs: Do They Actually Work?

Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Codependents Anonymous…If you’re a teen who has struggled or is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug abuse, or other mental health issues, you’ve probably heard of the 12-step approach to recovery. These mutual-help groups, as they’re known, operate under a set of 12 guidelines that encourage self-searching humility, faith, and honesty as […]

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Thinking of Running Away From Home? Here’s What You Can Do Instead

You hate your life. You’re thinking of running away. First, we’re first going to be a little honest here. It may be really, really difficult to run away from home for good. While the idea sounds great in theory, reality may be wildly different than what you’re imagining. For one thing, living on the streets […]

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Teenage Jobs: The Pros and Cons

Preparing to Launch Most parents agree that one of the primary objectives of raising a child is preparing them for life in the real world. After teaching basic moral ethical behavior – be kind, be honest, always say please and thank you – the next thing parents do is strive to instill some sort of […]

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Sniffing Heroin: Not a Big Deal Compared to Injecting, Right?

Everyone knows that injecting heroin is objectively dangerous. In addition to the damage caused by the substance itself, using a syringe and needle increases your risks of overdose, in addition to getting an infection. Those who use heroin intravenously have a higher risk of death than those who use heroin by other means. That’s why […]

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The Dark Web: What It Is, and Why It’s Bad for Your Teen

You may have heard of the dark web. It’s the underground Internet that you can only access through special software, and it’s full of nefarious activity. The dark web hides your location and identity. As such, it is frequented by teens who want their digital activities to stay hidden. On the dark web black markets, […]

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My Friend Told Me They Want to Die. What Should I Do?

You’re a teen, and you’re having a late-night DMC with your friend. In the midst of the conversation, he or she admits they’ve thought about dying. It may have come out as a casual confession or a tearful admission. Whatever it is and however it came out, it’s clear to you they’re thinking about suicide. […]

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Do I Have Anxiety?

It’s common to worry from time to time. Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences at some level. In certain situations, anxiety even helps us achieve goals. For example, you need a healthy measure of anxiety to motivate you to write a good report or study for a test (you don’t want to fail, […]

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Does Your Teen Have a Finsta? The Dark Side of This Secret Instagram

You may have heard of Insta. It’s short for Instagram, a popular social media photo-sharing app that’s a favorite of teens and adolescents around the world. But Finsta? What is it? Finsta is a combination of two words: Fake and Instagram. It’s a secret account that can only be accessed if you know someone has […]

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Teens: How to Evaluate Your Year

You’ve heard the saying before: Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. It’s attributed to the writer/philosopher Georges Santayana. Originally wrote went like this: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. It’s survived the test of time because it’s wise. And true. But there’s something in the […]

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Why Am I Always So Sad? Do I Have Depression?

If you’re a teen, it’s normal to have days when you’re feeling down. The everyday stresses of school, parents, friends, social media, exams, extracurricular activities, and more—they’re real. They loom large. And they can occasionally cause you to break down crying, make you want to lock yourself in your room and sleep the day away, […]

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Summer Jobs for Teens: All the Legal Details You Need to Know

You’ve read our article about the pros and cons of teenage jobs and made your decision: you’re getting a job this summer. You cleared it with your parents and you’re good to go. You’re stepping up your game, getting out into the world, and learning what it’s like to work to make money. Or at […]

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Los Angeles Area Teens: Plan Your Summer Before Your Parents Do

The official calendar for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) says the last day of the 2018-19 public school year is June 7th. That’s less than a month away. The official LAUSD calendar says the first day of the 2019-20 school year is August 20th. That means you have 74 days to fill between […]

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Where is Your Teen Going This Summer?

International Summer Programs for Teenagers International summer travel programs for teenagers have been around since the early 1960s. The first programs were organized by summer camps and private schools whose administrators realized that some of their students, particularly those between the ages of 14 and 17, were at a crossroads. They didn’t need a summer […]

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Summer Planning for a Troubled Teen

When the teenage years arrive, behavioral issues become far more difficult to manage than when your kids were younger. Things once black and white become confounding shades of gray. When a teenager experiences emotional distress, you can’t always fix it with a hug. When they display disturbing behavior, simple behavior management strategies – like taking […]

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I Don’t Believe in God. Are the 12 Steps For Me?

If you’re a teen who has struggled or is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug abuse, or other mental health issues, you’ve probably heard of the 12-Step approach to recovery. The 12 Steps were originally founded in 1935 to treat alcohol addiction—hence the start of Alcoholics Anonymous. Now, myriad groups and organizations have adopted their tried-and-true […]

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I Think I Have ADHD…What Do I Do?

You have trouble sitting still in class. It’s hard for you to do homework, study, read, or pay attention for long periods of time. When you have a long conversation with someone, you zone out. So, do you have ADHD—attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? First of all, it’s important to consider environmental or lifestyle issues. Before […]

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When You Feel Like Punching a Wall, Read This First

Remember when the San Francisco Giants were playing the Miami Marlins in the summer of 2018?  Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland blew a save—essentially causing his team to lose the game. In frustration, he punched a wall. He fractured his right hand in the process and couldn’t play for weeks on end. Punching things, breaking things, […]

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In the News: The Link Between Cannabis Use and Psychosis

A study posted on March 19th, 2019 by the U.K. medical journal The Lancet – “The Contribution of Cannabis Use to Variation in the Incidence of Psychotic Disorder Across Europe” caused quite a stir in the U.S. media in the weeks following its publication. The headlines generated by several high-volume, high-exposure media outlets trended toward […]

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I Can’t Focus. Do I Have ADHD?

Maybe you’re trying to read, but your thoughts keep wandering to your weekend plans. Perhaps you’re trying to listen in class, but your thoughts wander to what happened in the latest episode of Game of Thrones. You’re in a serious conversation with someone, but you keep zoning out. If you’re an adolescent, it’s normal to […]

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Alcohol Awareness Month: Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow

In 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) established Alcohol Awareness Month. Their goal was to reduce stigma around alcohol and alcoholism by reaching out to the nation each April with facts about alcohol, alcohol abuse, and recovery. In the beginning, a primary purpose of Alcohol Awareness Month was countering the idea […]

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Transgender Teens: A Parent’s Guide

Adolescence is a time of radical transformation. Teens develop physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. They form their own identities, distinct from their parents. They engage in an evolving, instinctive process of trial and error to learn about themselves and find their place in the world. Through a series of successes, failures, and everything in between, […]

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Military Families, Military Teens: Unique Families, Unique Challenges

The 21st century news cycle keeps our attention piqued all day every day. Scandals pop up and disappear before our eyes. Issues come and issues go. During this incessant media rollercoaster, regular citizens of the U.S. could not be blamed for missing the fact that we’re living through a period in history that our children’s […]

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Exercise: A Quick and Easy Way for Teens to Deal With Stress

Exercise and You If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: a regular exercise regimen keeps you healthy, strong, emotionally balanced, and adds years to your life. Experts recommend at least an hour of activity a day for children, teenagers, adults, and people of retirement age. No matter how old you are, […]

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In the News: The Link Between Adolescent Depression and Social Media Use

If you check online news feeds regularly, you’ve probably noticed a trend over the past three months: there’s been an abundance of headlines in national media outlets linking social media use with depression in adolescents. When we see these types of headlines, we take them with a grain of salt. Online news media survives by […]

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National Single Parent’s Day

Some people say parenting is the hardest job on earth. If that’s true, then single parenting is in a category all by itself. And if that’s true, then being the single parent of teenage children – well, let’s just say anyone doing that job alone deserves special recognition. This post will focus on them. But […]

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Why Is My Teen so Mean to Me? Part 2: Causes of Adolescent Behavioral Issues

In part one of this series, we discussed the difference between normal teen defiance and behavior that necessitates serious help. While some noncompliance is normal during adolescence, chronic verbal or physical aggression is not. In this article, we’ll explore why some teens develop serious behavioral issues that involve temper tantrums, verbal aggression, and/or physical outbursts. […]

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Adolescent Self-Injury: An Overview

In honor of Adolescent Self-Injury Awareness Month, which occurs annually during the month of March, we’re helping raise awareness about this important topic by posting useful information here on our blog, on our Facebook page, and on our Twitter account. This post offers a brief history of Adolescent Self-Injury Awareness Day and Month, then moves […]

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What To Do If You’re A Victim of Teen Dating Violence

The first thing to do if you’re the victim of teen dating violence – or any intimate partner violence, no matter how old you are – is this: know that violence, anger, or controlling behavior is not a sign of how much someone loves you. Rather, it’s a sign something inside the angry, violent, or […]

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What is the DBT House of Treatment?

With every passing year, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is gaining more and more exposure in the mental health world. Parents and therapists recognize DBT’s remarkable value in helping teens with emotional dysregulation, self-harming behavior, suicidal ideation, and other mental health and/or behavioral issues.   But even if you’re familiar with DBT, did you know that […]

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How Can Parents Tell If a Teen Is a Perpetrator of Dating Violence?

Teen Dating Violence: One Part of a Bigger Problem  Relationship abuse is an issue that eats at the very core of our society. The long-term consequences of abuse are almost too many to list: PTSD, alcohol and substance use disorders, depression, difficulty forming healthy relationships – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In […]

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Physical and Sexual Dating Violence Among Teens – Are You at Risk?

Are You at Risk of Dating Violence? Take the Quiz The following questions are adapted from The Teen Violence Dating Quiz published on the website Teen Violence Statistics. If you think you or one of your friends is in a dangerous or risky relationship, use the following questions to determine if the problem is real. […]

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DBT: 20 Ways for Teens to De-Stress & Keep Calm on the Go

Adolescents encounter stressful situations every day. Whether you’re at school and a friend seems to be avoiding you… Or a teacher just assigned another 15-page paper in addition to the five other assignments you have due this week… Or you’re waiting for a response to a really sensitive text you sent, and none is forthcoming… […]

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So, You Don’t Want to Go to Teen Rehab

So, you just heard you need treatment at a teen mental health or addiction treatment center. Your first thought is No…No way. That’s understandable. Maybe you don’t think you need treatment. Maybe you can’t imagine your life being any better, or don’t think going for treatment will even help. Perhaps you’re embarrassed of the “stigma” […]

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Teen Dating Violence: Eleven Signs to Watch For

Teen Dating Violence Warning Signs in Victims Unexplained bruises or injuries Discoloration, pain, or bleeding in, on, or around genitals Pain during urination or bowel movements Symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases. Visit the CDC website for a fact sheet on STDs. Abrupt changes in academic performance Increase in anxiety Mood swings Symptoms of depression: persistent […]

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Stalking Awareness Month: Stalking Among Teens

This post follows up on our recent article National Stalking Awareness Month: Know the Facts About Stalking. That piece outlined the basic facts everyone needs to know about stalking: the legal definition, what types of behavior constitute stalking, and offered five steps to take if you think someone is stalking you. For your convenience, we […]

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Drug and Alcohol Facts Week: The Latest Data on Adolescent Drinking

In 2010, a group of scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) launched an important initiative. Their goal: teach teenagers the real facts about drug use and drug addiction. By real facts, we – and the scientists who began the initiative – mean those facts supported by research, backed by data, and published […]

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Five Steps to Take if You’re Being Stalked

The first thing to know is that stalking is a crime in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and on all Federal land. Here’s the legal definition of stalking: “A pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.” If someone is calling, texting, showing up, posting […]

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Top Hobbies for Teens (That Aren’t Sports, Computers, or Gaming)

Data from the American Time Use Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows that most teenagers have about five hours of spare time on any given weekday. That’s after school, homework, and eating. The best way to fill that time? A hobby, of course. But what if you aren’t interested in typical […]

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Are New Year’s Resolutions Even Worth Making?

At this time every year, about forty percent of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions. That’s roughly one hundred thirty million people. On one level, this is encouraging. It shows that in general, we’re optimistic about the future. We want to change something in our lives for the better and have plans to put that change […]

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What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

If you have the winter blahs, they might be more than just a personality quirk. They may well be a specific sub-type of depression. According to the well-known psychiatrist who coined the phrase in 1984, they could be a legitimate psychiatric disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of […]

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Five Tips for Managing Holiday Triggers

Family Time: Triggers Everywhere Holiday time is family time. For people in recovery – especially those toward the beginning of their recovery journey – the holidays can be a minefield of triggers. Why? If you’ve been in treatment, therapy, or support group meetings, chances are you’ve heard someone say this: “Of course your family knows […]

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Community Support for Teenagers

Drug and Alcohol Help for You If you’re a teenager and you think you may have a problem with alcohol or drugs, don’t despair: you have options. You probably know the first option is to tell your parents. They will most likely make an appointment with a mental health professional, get you a full addiction […]

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Homeless Youth Awareness Month: Debunking Myths

Facts About Homeless Youth in the United States  November is Homeless Youth Awareness Month. We’re going to share facts and statistics throughout the month about homelessness, homeless families, and homeless youth. We’ll start this effort by acknowledging that homelessness is a problem we all need to address together. Local, state, and federal agencies, in cooperation […]

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Addicted to E-Cigarettes, Vaping Nicotine, or Juuling? Take the Test

if E-cigarettes, vaping nicotine, and Juul pods are all the rage. You can buy them in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. While most teens know they contain nicotine – that’s the reason they use them – some think they’re harmless, fruity flavored fun. That’s not quite the case. E-cigarettes contain nicotine, and one Juul pod […]

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Common Sense Media: Teen Social Media Use 2012-2018

The researchers at Common Sense Media deliver again: this time, with an in-depth look at social media use among adolescents. The report “Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences” examines answers to salient questions that adults – including parents, educators, mental health professionals, and public policy makers –  want to know about teen social […]

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I’m Too Old to Trick-or-Treat: What Should I do for Halloween?

You might be too old to go trick-or-treating, but you’re not too old to have fun on Halloween. No one is too old to have fun on Halloween. Still, though, you’re personally done with trick-or-treating. The first thing we recommend – if you want to go trick-or-treating but feel weird about it because you’re sixteen […]

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Halloween Costumes: Perpetuating Negative Stigma

While researching ideas for articles to share with you for Halloween, we came across something that hadn’t occurred to us: the fact that many Halloween costumes reinforce negative stigma attached to mental illness. An article in Psychology Today points out that some of the most respected and widely-read news outlets in the nation, including the […]

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Is My Kid the Bully? What Should I Do?

Every parent has a list of phone calls they don’t want to get from school. It’s a basic list. If you’re a parent, here are the top three things we know you don’t want to hear when the phone rings and your caller ID tells you it’s the school: Your child is sick or has […]

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For Teens: Five Ways to Reduce Stress

Are you stressed out? First round of mid-terms got you all in a twist? Worried a bad grade might ruin your chances at getting into a good college? We can’t eliminate stress from your life, but we can offer these five easy things you can do to manage it. Five Simple Tips for Reducing Stress […]

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Mindfulness and Recovery: One Person’s Journey

Mindfulness: The Heart of Recovery by Anonymous  [Note: Typicaly we post topical, third-person articles on subjects related to addiction and recovery. For this article, we make an exception. It was written by one of our colleagues. We think it may help anyone struggling with alcohol or substance use disorders, because it connects the dots between […]

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Know the Signs and Symptoms of Drug Overdose

We’re sure you’ve all heard of the opioid crisis. It’s been in the news for the past several years for good reason: the number of deaths due to overdose and the rates of opioid addiction are impossible to ignore. Part of this is due to the increase in prescriptions for opioid pain relievers, which often […]

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The Common Sense Census Part 1: A Report on Media Use by Tweens and Teens

In November 2015, Common Sense Media published a large-scale study that examines the way young people in the United States use media and technology. The study, conducted over six weeks in the early spring of 2015, included 2,658 children age eight to eighteen. Tweens were defined as children age eight to twelve. Teens were defined […]

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Suicide, Addiction, and School Shootings: What Teens Can Do

Take Care of Your Friends Over the past year, there’s been a great deal of electronic ink spilled on a variety of topics relevant to teens. Suicide is in the news. Opioid addiction is in the news. School shootings are in the news. All the time. These topics – from what we can see, at […]

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CRAFT: Family-Based Approaches to the Treatment-Resistant Adolescent

Intervention. Obviously a scary word. It’s also a word most of us associate with another relatively scary word. Or phrase, rather. Tough love. We all know what tough love is. Tough love is when you tell someone you care deeply about something they don’t want to hear. For example, tough love can be trivial, between […]

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Are You at Risk of Dating Violence? Take the Quiz

Physical and Sexual Dating Violence Among Teens Teenagers date, have significant others, have romances, and have flings – but you know that, because you’re a teenager and you see it every day. Not that you need a CDC study to confirm what you already know, but here it is anyway: a large-scale, national report shows […]

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LGBTQI Youth at Evolve

The entire staff at Evolve Treatment has a message for all our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, and Intersex Clients. We want to thank you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for letting us help. We’re honored you let us in.  We’re proud to be part of your family. We understand that as an […]

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Find the Right High School for You

There’s a simple lesson most of us learn by the time we hit adolescence: we either like school or we don’t. Sure, some of us are on the fence about school. We can take it or leave it. But most fall into one camp or the other, and it’s not always about the academics. Some […]

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Summer Sobriety Tip: How to Say No

It might be the first word you ever learned. Just ask your parents how much you loved saying it when you were a toddler. Want another cracker? No! Want more juice? No! Want to play with your sister? No! We know, we know. You don’t remember a thing from when you were two years old. […]

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Marijuana Decriminalization: Effect on Use in Teenagers

Back in 2012, when citizens in the states of Washington and Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana use, critics predicted doom and gloom. People who see marijuana as a gateway to harder drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine were convinced things would go haywire. Legal pot would mean easier access for everyone, not just the […]

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Summer Sobriety Tip: Survive the Backyard Barbecue

When you first quit drinking, there are a lot of unexpected little things that come up. Rehab and treatment tend to focus on the big things first. You work on coping skills to identify and handle your triggers, recognize and manage your emotions, and get yourself through the first few weeks of sobriety sane and […]

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Looking Back Over Your Year: How Did it Go?

See, What Had Happened Was… We’re sure you’ve heard some variation of the phrase, Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. It comes from writer and philosopher Georges Santayana. In its original form, it read, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. It seems wise. And it […]

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What Do You Want Your Parents to Know About Your Online Activity?

An article published in the Washington Post in January called What Teens Wish Their Parents Knew About Social Media got us thinking: what do teens really want their parents to know about what they’re doing online? Everything? Nothing? Somewhere in between? The article’s author interviewed teens about these very questions. But what we’re more interested […]

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Teenage Guys: #youtoo?

STOP NOW. JUST STOP. Hey, you. Teenage boy. Yeah, you. Are you the reason teenage girls are saying things like this? “Every single guy I meet online and start texting always asks ‘do you send nudes.’ I say no of course. But they won’t stop bugging me. It’s like I can’t have a real guy […]

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L.A. Teens: Plan Your Summer Before Your Parents Do

The official calendar for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) says the last day of the 2017-18 public school year is June 8th. That’s in less than a month. The official LAUSD calendar says the first day of the 2018-19 school year is August 14th. That means you have 66 days to fill between […]

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Summer Jobs: Legal Details Teens Need to Know

You’ve read our article The Pros and Cons of Teenage Jobs and made your decision: you’re getting a job this summer. You cleared it with your parents and you’re good to go. That’s great: you’re stepping up your game, getting out into the world, and learning what it’s like to work to make money. Or […]

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Teens: Are You a Perfectionist? Is That a Good Thing? Take the Test

To Perfect or Not Perfect In our society, we place a high value on personal achievement. That’s one of the things we’re taught about U.S. culture from a very young age. You work hard, you get ahead, you succeed. You live the American Dream. For many of us, hard work means working hard until what […]

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Understanding Adolescent Development

The Time of Change Anyone involved in the life of a child knows that there’s only one constant: change. Children come to us as infants, move through toddlerhood, the preschool years, middle childhood and pre-adolescence. All the transitions from one developmental stage to the next involves major change, but there’s one thing that’s common to […]

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Deciphering the Code: 21st Century Teen Slang

What are They Even Saying? We’ll start this post by reminding all the parents out there of the first rule of teen slang: It’s for teens.  Try it out at your own peril. At worst, your teens will roll their eyes and groan, and at best, you might score one or two hipster points. Which […]

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Teens: Cool to be Smart, or Smart to be Cool?

This article is about peer pressure. Not your typical peer pressure, though. We know there are kids in your school who urge you to break rules large and small: skip class, get high, and game the system by sharing test answers ahead of time or crowd-sourcing homework assignments, projects, and papers. They get in your […]

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Teens: Before You Dab, Get the Facts on Wax

Marijuana is the most commonly used and abused drug in the United States. In teenagers, marijuana comes a close third after alcohol and tobacco. In their 2017 survey Monitoring the Future, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published a set of self-reported statistics from teenagers across the country. The report estimates that: 1% of […]

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Teens in Addiction Treatment: Why Aftercare Matters

We know you may not really enjoy your time in treatment. It may be the hardest, loneliest, most challenging period in your life. Maybe you’re counting down the days until your discharge. Maybe you’re even counting down the hours, minutes, seconds, nanoseconds, and picoseconds. To that we say, where’d you get such a fancy watch? […]

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I’m Underage – What Happens if I Get A DUI in California?

We’ll skip the standard admonishments: You shouldn’t be drinking in the first place. If you do drink, you definitely shouldn’t drive. You could hurt yourself. Or someone else. You could end up on probation, doing community service, in real adult jail, or in juvenile detention. It’s expensive. You can end up paying ridiculous amounts of […]

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International Summer Travel Programs for Teenagers

What’s Your Teenager Doing This Summer? Parents of teenagers face a decision at the end of every school year. What am I going to do with my teen over the summer months? It’s not a simple question. While it’s true that students do need a break from the rigor of day-to-day academics, it’s also true […]

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Teens Want to Know: Do I Have an Alcohol Problem? Take the Quiz

Let’s get something out of the way right from the start: you’re the one reading this article. Only you. Not your parents, not your teachers, and not your friends. Just you. So there’s no reason to be anything other than completely honest. We mean honest with yourself, in your mind, as you read what we […]

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Long-Term Effects of Cyber and Traditional Bullying

The Negative Effects of Bullying The first scientific studies on bullying began to appear in the 1970s. Since then, the negative effects of bullying for both bullying victims and the individuals engaging in bullying behaviors have been well documented. A landmark study published in Children & Schools: A Journal of the National Association of Social […]

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Treatment Spotlight: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) at Evolve

Here in the Parenting Tips and Advice section of our website, we share articles designed to increase awareness and understanding of issues relevant to parents of adolescents experiencing behavioral challenges or emotional distress. We focus on topics related to the treatment of and recovery from significant mental health issues such as substance use and mood […]

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My First Sober Spring Break: I’m Scared of Relapse

Spring Break. Those two words are all it takes to conjure images of wild beach parties, outdoor concerts, and the youth of the U.S.A. cruising beach towns in convertibles with music blasting, looking for creative ways to have fun, let loose, and do what everyone is supposed to do on Spring Break: PAR -TAY! Our […]

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Teens in Treatment: Five Good Reasons to Try Yoga

Treatment for alcohol and substance use disorders has come a looooong way in the past few decades. Rehab used to be a miserable, brutal experience. Ask anyone your parent’s age, and they’ll tell you horror stories about what their friends went through. You’ll hear stories about the cold, unfriendly, hospital-like conditions, one-size-fits-all, punishment-based approaches, or […]

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Teens in Treatment: What is Mindfulness and Why Should I Care?

Mindfulness, self-care, stress reduction, self-efficacy, coping skills, triggers, letting go, minding your side of the street…if you’ve been in therapy of any kind in the past decade, you’ve heard every one of these words or phrases too many times. And if you’re in treatment for drugs or drinking, we can guarantee you’ve heard that first […]

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I’m Going to Drug Rehab: What Should I Expect? Part III: A Typical Day

Let’s recap the first two installments of this blog series on what to expect when you’re heading to a residential treatment center to address a mental health issue such as an alcohol use disorder, a substance use disorder, or an emotional disorder: Part One gave the you the heads up that the biggest thing that’s […]

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I’m Going to Drug Rehab: What Should I Expect? Part II: Day One

Part One of this blog covered something not too many teenagers realize before going into rehab: the biggest thing to expect is that you’re going to change the way you think. You’re going to change the way you think about rehab itself – you’ll end up calling it treatment – and you’re going to change […]

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Is My Anxiety Normal? How Can I Tell?

Everyone gets anxious. Children, teenagers, adults – no matter who you are or where you are in life, things can get under your skin and make you worry. Young kids worry about getting in trouble with their parents and how things are going with their friends at school. Adults worry about paying bills, work issues, […]

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Why Do I Feel So Much More Depressed During the Holidays?

The holidays are here. School’s out and you have plenty of free time. You’re supposed to be happy and cheerful. You’re supposed to enjoy good food and enjoy your family. And you’re supposed to give and receive gifts. But wait – there’s more. You’re supposed to be grateful for everything you have. Plus, you’re supposed […]

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Is Watching Porn Really All That Bad (Or Are My Parents Just Tripping)?

If you’re a teenager reading this article, the chances are you’ve already watched porn. It may have been on your phone, laptop, tablet, or – as the classic response goes – you happened to maybe see some pictures on your friend’s phone that one time. Whatever the case may be for you, research shows that […]

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FML: I’m So Depressed

How many times have you said this to yourself or one of your best friends? Probably about a thousand. Or more. The numbers aren’t all in yet, and it’s still early. By tomorrow it may be two thousand. It all depends on what happens. The thing is, there’s depression, and then there’s depression. Real depression […]

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What If My Parents Are Addicts?

We know teenagers hate cliches. You hate tired platitudes. And supposedly-wise adages make you want to scream. But we’re going to open this blog with one of them anyway: “Kids are more likely to do what you do than do what you say.” You may be thinking, “Tell that to my parents, not to me.” […]

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New Town, New School, New You: Same Recovery

You went through treatment and you’re on the road to recovery. Maybe you spent part of the summer in a residential program, or maybe you did an intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, or day treatment program. You spent long, tough hours uncovering the issues that led you to addiction or substance abuse, and then you spent […]

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Back to School after Rehab

As summer winds down, teenagers around the country head back to school. Some start in the beginning of August, while some start later, around Labor Day. In the Los Angeles area of Southern California, where Evolve offers substance abuse and addiction treatment for teens, high school tends to start in the middle weeks of August. […]

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How Therapists Can Help Parents Accept the Need for Teen Residential Treatment

Therapists who treat teenagers struggling with mental health problems, addiction, and/or substance abuse disorders tend to encounter resistance from their clients at some point during the therapeutic process. Typically, resistance comes from the individual in question – the teenager – but if you’re a therapist working with adolescents on these issues, be prepared: parents may […]

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I’m Afraid to Talk to My Parents

Something happens when you grow up: you stop talking to your parents about everything in your life. When you’re little, your parents are the first people you want to tell when anything at all happens. Maybe you don’t remember, or maybe you were brought up by your grandparents or an aunt, uncle, or someone else. […]

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Am I the Only One Who Feels This Way?

The short answer: no. Right now, at this very moment, there are thousands of teenagers across the country – and the world, for that matter – asking themselves this same question. And that’s probably a low estimate, because there are a lot of teenagers in the world. Probably way more than you realize. Let’s take […]

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Facts About Secondhand Marijuana Smoke

Dangers of Secondhand Smoke First, let’s talk about cigarettes. Secondhand cigarette smoke is a huge health risk: nothing new there. That’s why restaurants, bars, and even nightclubs across the U.S. are smoke-free. If you’re a teenager reading this, you might not know it used to be perfectly legal and socially acceptable to smoke cigarettes virtually […]

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Why Can’t I Quit? There May Be More Than One Problem

What is Dual Diagnosis? Do you ever have bad days? Do you have lots of bad days in a row? Do they build up until you can’t stand it any longer? Until you need a release? Until you need something to numb the pain? Everyone has a bad day now and then. Some days, you […]

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Conquering Addiction: Pro Surfer Tom Carroll

Hall of Fame surf pioneer Thomas Victor Carroll was Born in 1961 in New South Wales, Australia. To say his career was impressive is an understatement: he won the world championships in 1983 and 1984, twenty-six world tour stages, three trophies in the legendary Pipeline Masters competition, and was the first surfer to secure a […]

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Am I Moody, or Do I Have a Mood Disorder?

The teenage years are filled with ups and downs. Some days you feel great, while others lead to nothing but drama, drama, drama. You feel as if you’re on a hormonal roller coaster. That roller coaster makes it almost impossible for you to tell the difference between typical teenage moodiness and an actual mental disorder […]

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Parental Controls: Teens Still See Pornography Despite Parents’ Best Intentions

Mental Health Distress in Teens Obsessed with Pornography Parenting a teenager in the internet age is challenging. Thirty years ago, it was possible to control a teenager’s access to media with relative ease. Smartphones did not exist. Most families had televisions, but most programming was PG, with the exception of cable TV, where blocking explicit […]

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Drugged Driving Rivals Dangers of Drunk Driving

Drugged driving doesn’t get as much national attention as drunk driving, but it’s every bit as dangerous. Like alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs impair teens’ ability to drive safely and are part of the reason motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death among young people. Experts warn that legalization may make the problem […]

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Real-Life Support Helps More Than Social Media, Study Says

Adolescents are social creatures who need social outlets to stay healthy. Many teens rely on social media to connect with others. It’s free, widely used, and easily accessible. And while social media is a reliable source of support for teens, a new study shows it’s less effective than real-life support. Social support provides a sense […]

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Digital Dating Abuse Among Teens

With each passing year, more and more adolescent development occurs digitally, through online and virtual spaces. This is, of course, a function of the digital age. Before adults rush to condemn the fact that for adolescents, many developmental milestones, breakthroughs, and foundational experiences occur online, we should pause, and look to our own lives to […]

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