Treatment For Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder where a person has extreme changes in behavior, mood, and energy. In the past, this disorder was called manic-depression. Bipolar disorder is a lot more than just normal mood swings. This disorder can cause relationship problems and workplace problems. It can also decrease a person’s quality of life. Additionally, people who have bipolar disorder are more likely to commit suicide.

Anyone can develop bipolar disorder. However, there are some people who are at a greater risk of developing it than others. Studies have shown that people with bipolar disorder may be genetically-predisposed to the condition.

Bipolar disorder may also run in families. People who have a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder are more likely to develop it than those who do not have a family history. Keep in mind that it is possible to develop bipolar disorder even if you do not have a family history of it. Additionally, having a family history does not mean that you will develop bipolar disorder.

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary depending on whether a person is in the manic or depressive phase. When a person is in the depressive stage, they may experience foggy thinking, self-destructive behavior, memory problems, appetite changes, and fatigue. If a person is in the manic phase, they may experience poor judgment, racing thoughts, high levels of energy, and an inflated sense of pride.

It is common for people to engage in risky behaviors during the manic phase. This includes things such as driving too fast or fighting. Bipolar and addiction are linked. In fact, it is estimated that 56 percent of people with bipolar disorder have used drugs and alcohol at some point.

Alcohol is the main substance that people with bipolar disorder abuse. When a person suffers from a mental health problem and an addiction, this is referred to as dual diagnosis. Living with a mental health problem can make it more difficult to recover from an addiction. That is why both of these conditions have to be addressed.


How Bipolar Disorder is Diagnosed

It is important for bipolar disorder to be diagnosed properly. This is the key thing that must be done in order for a person to get the proper treatment. People will need to see a physician. The physician will rule out serious medical conditions and confirm the diagnosis.

The physician may also do a complete mental evaluation. If a bipolar diagnosis is confirmed, then the physician will likely refer you to a mental health provider.


Bipolar Disorder Treatment


Most patients who have bipolar disorder will need medication in order to manage their condition. Lithium is one of the most commonly prescribed medications. It works by stabilizing mood. It may be used along with other medications.

Anti-seizure medications can also be used for bipolar disorder treatment. Topamax and Tegretol are some of the medications that may be recommended. They are often prescribed to people who are in the depressive phase.

Abilify and Risperdal are other medications that can be used to treat bipolar disorder. These medications help minimize erratic moods and thoughts. Furthermore, a patient may be given a medication to manage the physical symptoms that bipolar causes.



Most patients with bipolar disorder will need a combination of medication and therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of therapy that has been shown to be effective for treating bipolar disorder. This therapy involves helping a person change their thought patterns. A person can change their feelings by changing their thoughts. This will help people change their behaviors.

Solution-Focused Therapy is another treatment that can be manage bipolar disorder. This form of therapy not only helps people manage their mental illness, but it can also help people develop goals.


Treating Dual Diagnosis

In the past, health care professionals treated bipolar disorder and addiction as two separate problems. Today, we take an integrated approach called dual diagnosis. Many patients will need to complete a supervised inpatient rehab program. They will get a combination of medication and therapy while they are rehab.


Contact Us if You Need Addiction Treatment Services

If you need addiction treatment services, then you need to call us. Launch Centers can help you overcome your addiction and get on the right track. Our treatment model blends dual diagnosis (mental health and substance abuse) with education and vocational training.

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Dual Diagnosis: How Emotional Pain Feeds Addiction

Substance abuse and addiction problems can be hard enough to get over on their own. The fact that most substance abuse issues lead to chemical changes in the body makes overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction far and away one of life’s biggest challenges.

Unfortunately, a large number of people with substance abuse issues also suffer from mental health problems that can make overcoming their drug or alcohol issues that much more difficult. Depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and even uncontrollable stress or anxiety can greatly exacerbate substance abuse issues. In many cases, these types of mental health issues are one of the primary factors that lead to substance abuse issues in the first place.

This condition is known as dual diagnosis, and it is important to make the distinction between it and normal substance abuse issues. The fact that these individuals are dealing with not one, but two serious conditions at the same time can make it essential that they receive the proper treatment for both.

In essence, the two conditions work together to form an unending cycle on abuse and mental health issues, and the only way to finally escape is to undergo simultaneous treatment for both instead of treating them as separate, unrelated problems.


Dual Diagnosis Definition: Understanding the Extent of the Problem

Understanding the true dual diagnosis definition is important in helping to explain why this issue can be so complicated and so impossible to treat unless properly diagnosed. In simple terms, dual diagnosis is when a person is clinically diagnosed with both a substance abuse disorder and an accompanying mental health disorder.

Unfortunately, there is nothing simple about these cases since it is generally necessary for the person to overcome both issues. The specific mental health disorder that the person suffers from plays a hugely important role both the type of treatment required and the difficulty and time involved in completely overcoming it. Still, it is essential that the individual gets this treatment and fully overcomes their mental issues along with their substance abuse issues. Otherwise, their ongoing mental health issues ensure that there is a very high chance that they will quickly relapse back into using drugs or alcohol.


The Importance of Learning How to Deal with Emotional Pain

Probably the biggest obstacle facing people with both substance abuse and mental health issues is understanding how their mental and/or emotional problems directly contribute to their substance abuse issues. It is also important to understand how one of these problems usually contributed to the development of the other. While knowing which of the two issues came first doesn’t really affect the overall treatment, it is still helpful to understand the full extent of the interrelationship between the two.

For some people, it was their mental health issues that eventually led them down the path to addiction, whereas others eventually begin to suffer depression or other mental health issues as a direct or indirect result of their substance abuse. Either way, the first step is to get a better overall picture of how both problems developed and why.

One of the biggest factors in successfully treating both disorders simultaneously is teaching the person how to deal with emotional pain and other emotional problems. Constant feelings of depression, anxiety, anger or worry can all be extremely difficult to deal with, and this is precisely why many people turn to drug or alcohol use in the first place.

Alcohol and drugs often serve as a coping mechanism—allowing a person to at least temporarily forget about their stress and worries. Drug and alcohol use also causes your body to release endorphins, dopamine and other chemicals that can boost your mood and quickly lead to elevated feelings of happiness and euphoria.

The truth is that a majority of people use drugs or alcohol occasionally for these reasons. Still, there is a huge difference between a clinical mental health disorder and feeling occasionally sad or overly stressed out. The problem becomes when a person continues to reach for this coping mechanism as this can quickly lead down the slippery slope to addiction in an extremely short amount of time. Without proper emotional healing, the mental health issues will continue to lead to more drug or alcohol use, and things only ever get worse over time.


Treating the Underlying Emotional Pain and Mental Health Issues

The fact that it is emotional pain that cause many people to turn to substance abuse in the first place means that this is also the first place that treatments typically start. In simple terms, focusing on emotional healing and learning how to better cope with mental problems often holds the key to overcoming both the substance abuse and mental health issues. Of course, people dealing with severe depression, bipolar disorder and other serious mental health disorders may also need intensive counseling, medication and other potential treatments.

The actual treatment method varies from person to person depending on both the type and extent of their mental health and substance abuse disorders. Still, that’s not really the point here. Instead, the point is to show you just how important it is to treat the mental health side along with the substance abuse issue in order to affect real, lasting change.


Outpatient Treatment Program in Los Angeles

At Launch Centers, we have years of experience treating dual diagnosis patients, and our knowledgeable, patient counselors will help to come up with a treatment plan that gives you the best chance of finally overcoming both your mental health and drug or alcohol issues once and for good. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re ready to get started on the road to recovery.

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The Emotional Consequences of Substance Abuse

The impact of substance abuse has far-reaching consequences. It is estimated that over 23 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol. When you consider the families and friends affected by the cycle of addiction, both directly and indirectly, the problem goes much deeper. Struggling with addiction is incredibly difficult, but it’s also difficult for loved ones who have to deal with an addict as they ride a wave of self-destruction. The emotional effects of substance abuse are widespread and the consequences are severe. Addiction is a family disease.


When people think about the harrows of addiction, the focus tends to center around the physical and economic aspects of the problem. The perception that the impoverished and homeless are the only ones suffering from substance abuse disorders needs to fade away. Being able to hold down a steady job and be functional while abusing substances doesn’t render the problem less serious. Quite the contrary. Living a double life isn’t sustainable in the long run, and often cause tremendous hurt and neglect to those around you.


While the physical dangers of addiction pose a very real threat, the mental and emotional hardships often go unaddressed. In fact, most substance abuse is a byproduct of an existing mental health disorder that can be benefited with dual diagnosis treatment. Dual diagnosis is a model of addiction treatment that treats addiction while simultaneously uncovering and treating mental and emotional issues. And the emotional stability of the addict isn’t the only issue that needs to be addressed. Family therapy can greatly benefit everyone involved by bringing to light the way a family functions as a unit.


The emotional consequences of addiction can run deeper and last longer than the physical ones. Trauma leaves a lasting mark. Not only for the addict but for their friends and family. Emotional scars can last a lifetime without treatment from trained mental health professionals. In most cases, substance abuse is an unhealthy coping mechanism that was developed as a reaction to early childhood trauma. In order to fully recover from years of substance abuse, these issues (and the damage they have caused loved ones) must be addressed. To fully recover from a substance abuse disorder, it is necessary to undergo a variety of therapies to get to the heart of the problem.


Launch Centers is dedicated to helping young adults find a path that helps them gain the tools and coping skills to succeed. Our experienced treatment team works with each individual client to design a therapeutic, vocational, and educational curriculum to meet the client where they are at, to set new goals, and reach them. If you or someone you love suffers from the emotional effects of drug or alcohol addiction, contact Launch Centers to seek immediate help.

Coping with Emotional Triggers & Addiction

Everyone reacts to and handles stress in a personalized way. Specific triggers often set off a range of emotions that aren’t always the healthiest. The ways that people deal with stress are coping mechanisms, which help manage painful, difficult, and stressful situations. Situations such as loss of a job, a breakup, or a health problem can create difficult situations where stress levels skyrocket, and it’s up to you to handle it appropriately. Those dealing with alcohol and drug addiction need to learn successful coping strategies on the way to recovery.


What Are Emotional Triggers?

You may have heard the term, but have you ever thought about emotional triggers? They are events in your brain that occur when you are facing a difficult situation. Emotions skyrocket, and you might react quickly with fear, anger, or jealousy. The reaction at the time might not be appropriate for the situation, but by the time you realize it, the damage has been done.

Your triggers depend on what you value in life and how you react to various emotions. Some people are angered easily, others get hurt or depressed, while others stay calm and collected. Each person is different, and emotional triggers vary from one to another. No two people are exactly alike. The key to handling your emotional triggers is to identify and cope with them.


Emotion-Focused Coping

Emotion-focused coping is one of two coping mechanisms you can employ when dealing with a stressful situation. The other is problem-focused coping. Emotional coping is ideal in circumstances where an individual has no control over the situation and only has the option to react to emotions such as fear, anger, embarrassment, or frustration. One way to handle the situation is to distract yourself with other thoughts or an activity. You might also choose to pray, meditate, journal, or disclosing sensitive information in an attempt to identify and cope with the emotions. Negative ways people cope with stress include drug use, overeating, alcohol use, and suppressing emotions.

A criticism of this coping mechanism is that it tends to lead to negative results. Reacting to stress ignores the reason for the stress and does little to prevent the response from happening again. It is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Women report using these strategies more than men, who rely on problem-focused coping.


Problem-Focused Coping

A problem-focused approach tackles stress and its causes at the root of the issue. Taking care of the issue, instead of reacting or ignoring it, resolves the problem and reduces stress currently and in the future. Common techniques include problem-solving, focusing on time-management, and gaining support from others. This coping mechanism is more effective and is a better way to handle emotions in most cases because it tackles the issue directly. Many men default to problem-based instead of emotion-based coping strategies to handle emotional triggers.

In some situations, such as the death of a loved one, it’s not possible to use problem-focused strategies. It’s an effective method if you can modify the source of the stress, such as studying for an exam or completing a project at work before the deadline arrives. Optimistic individuals are more likely to use this method to cope with stress, and pessimistic people turn to emotion-focused ways to deal.

Handling emotional situations and triggers requires determining what they are, how you react, and how you can change your reaction or the situation to reduce stress. Taking time to think things through can elicit a better, more appropriate response to the stressor. Before you can develop coping strategies and implement them, you must carefully scrutinize yourself and identify the areas you need to work on. Instead of pushing your emotions to the back of your mind, learn how to change how you react and gain the freedom to control how you feel.


Launch Centers

Launch Centers is dedicated to helping young adults find a path that helps them gain the tools and coping skills to succeed in life. Our experienced mental health and substance abuse treatment team works with each client to design a therapeutic, vocational, and educational curriculum to meet the client where they are at, to set new goals, and reach them.

Setting Emotional Boundaries in Recovery

Setting boundaries in relationships is an important part of human interaction. But it is especially important for those in recovery. For people who suffer from addiction, it is necessary that they (and those around them) establish emotional boundaries during the recovery process. Doing so will drastically decrease the likelihood of relapse.

You may ask yourself, what is an emotional boundary? Emotional boundaries are “rules” that establish what is and what is not acceptable in a relationship. Emotional boundaries are crucial to the successful recovery of the person suffering from addiction, and their loved ones.


Unhealthy Emotional Boundaries in Recovery

Oftentimes, those who struggle with addiction have developed unhealthy boundaries with those around them. Many of their relationships (spouse, guardian, friends, etc.) are codependent. In a codependent relationship, it is common to have a difficult time saying “no” to the person with an addiction, while making extreme sacrifices (e.g. calling off work, missing bill payments) to satisfy their demands. You may even lie or hide things from others to help hide the person’s addiction. It is also likely you have learned to “keep quiet” about the person’s addiction to avoid arguments and to avoid upsetting them. All of these are signs of codependency, which is the result of setting unhealthy boundaries.


Some examples of unhealthy boundaries during recovery include:
  • Forcing opinions and beliefs on others
  • Blaming yourself for other people’s emotions or actions
  • Ignoring other people’s thoughts and opinions as being irrelevant
  • Giving up your own beliefs and opinions based on the direction of others


Unhealthy boundaries are harmful to the addicted individual and those around them. In fact, a lack of boundaries can encourage codependency; further fueling the person’s addiction. An important part of recovery is the genuine expression of feelings and opinions. Healthy boundaries promote this behavior. Unhealthy boundaries, on the other hand, encourage feelings of guilt and resentment. In recovery, it is important to eliminate unhealthy boundaries while simultaneously creating healthy ones.


Healthy Emotional Boundaries in Recovery

Creating healthy boundaries is a crucial step in the addicted person’s journey to recovery. Some examples of healthy boundaries in recovery include:


  • Being able to express yourself and your opinions
  • Respecting the thoughts and opinions of others
  • Respecting your own thoughts and opinions
  • Being able to act responsibly in all you say and do


Setting boundaries allows both parties to establish their rights within the relationship. For example, while you cannot control the person with an addiction, you do have the right to establish what the person can and cannot do within your own home, such as stating that the addict is not allowed to use under your roof. This helps to create clear expectations within the relationship that reduce the chaos that accompanies unhealthy boundaries.


Setting Boundaries in Relationships

When setting boundaries in relationships, it is important to know your own personal limits. Every person has a line that should not be crossed, and you should know yours and stick to the consequences you decide upon when such lines are crossed. However, it is just as important to remember not to act harshly when lines are crossed and to refrain from passive-aggressive types of behaviors. Words said in anger are often better left unsaid, but unfortunately, they cannot be taken back. When setting boundaries in a relationship, respect yourself and others and work to move on from the past and move forward in the journey to recovery.


Launch Centers is Here to Help

At Launch Centers, we understand the difficult challenge that setting healthy boundaries can present to those who suffer from addiction and their families. Launch Centers is dedicated to helping young adults find a path that helps them gain the tools and coping skills to succeed. Our experienced mental health and substance abuse treatment team works with each individual client to design a therapeutic, vocational, and educational curriculum to meet the client where they are at, to set new goals, and reach them.


How Drug and Alcohol Dependence are Fueled by Depression

Bad days are a normal part of life. Everyone is impacted by the emotional weight brought on by romantic relationships, work, family, or loss. For people prone to depression, the weight of emotional conflict can be a heavy burden. Ordinary setbacks are not only prolonged, they can be far more difficult to navigate. For those who regularly experience despair, depression, and feelings of hopelessness, these burdens can last for weeks, months, or even years. This type of depression can have severe side effects and requires the intervention of trained mental health professionals.


Symptoms of Depression

Over 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide. Depression symptoms can be physical, psychological, or both. The psychological symptoms of depression include lack of interest in daily activities, feeling low, decreased thinking and focus, suicidal thoughts, and feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or worthlessness.

Physical depression symptoms often include exhaustion, weight fluctuation, low energy, and sleepiness. If left untreated, depression can have a negative impact on personal relationships, job, and long-term health (mental and physical). Another common side effect to depression is the prevalence of substance abuse. People who struggle with depression often abuse drugs and alcohol in an effort to counteract low moods, isolation, or overwhelming feelings. This is referred to as a co-occurring disorder and is treated as a dual diagnosis.


Depression & Addiction

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that people who are diagnosed with anxiety or mood disorders are nearly twice as likely to have a co-occurring diagnosis that includes a substance abuse disorder. Substance abuse carries a cultural stigma misunderstanding. But medically speaking, people with depression often abuse drugs and alcohol as an adaptive strategy – self-medicating the underlying symptoms of depression. In this way, addiction is not the result of a degenerate character, but rather a unhealthy coping strategy aimed at relieving other symptoms caused by chronic emotional distress.


Long Term Effects of Substance Abuse

Self-medicating is unproductive at best and dangerous at worst. Recreational drug or alcohol abuse can lead to dependence, all the while, damaging healthy emotional regulation. Drugs and alcohol have an immediate (and significant) effect on moods. For this reason, people struggling with depression often develop a substance abuse disorder in their attempts at managing their anxiety and depression.

Additionally, addiction and depression are both characterized by feelings of hopelessness and are difficult to manage without help. The co-occurring disorder formed by addiction and depression negatively reinforce each other. This creates a devastating web of shame, guilt, and feelings of worthlessness.


Finding a Substance Abuse Treatment Plan

Dual diagnosis treatment is complex and requires trained mental health professionals. The disorders are potent in and of themselves, but can potentially intensify the symptoms of each other. An individualized treatment plan that centers around the unique needs of the individual is required. At Launch Centers, our addiction and mental health treatment programs can help you steer your life back on the right track. We specialize in treating young adults who suffer from substance abuse and mental health disorders. Our unique programs offer education and vocational training so that your life has purpose and potential after treatment. Get ready to Launch!

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Therapist Los Angeles

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Therapist Los Angeles

Most of us know someone personally who struggles with a dual diagnosis, or the presence of a substance use disorder and coexisting mental health disorder.  Battling a dual diagnosis is more complex than when just one or the other disorder is present. Treatment for co-occurring disorders requires the expertise of a specialized substance abuse and mental health therapist Los Angeles.

Certain co-occurring disorders are more common than others, and may begin to become pronounced in the late-20s demographic.  For example, alcohol dependency is often coupled with depression, and anxiety disorders often coexist with a benzodiazepine (Ativan or Valium) dependency.  Young adults trying to adjust to increasing stress and responsibility during their twenties may begin to struggle with a dual diagnosis. The “quarter-life crisis” is the term for this phase of early adulthood when mood disorders and/or substance abuse can develop in response to a crisis of confidence, identity, and one’s direction in life.

For the best recovery outcome, both disorders should be treated simultaneously. There are, however, instances when the substance use disorder may be treated first as a stand-alone disorder, followed by the treatment of the mental health disorder.  But treating just the substance use disorder or only the mental health disorder will not produce a sustained recovery. Both disorders need to be treated by an expert substance abuse and mental health therapist Los Angeles, and preferably at the same time.

What Causes Dual Diagnosis in Young Adults

Underlying the dual diagnosis is almost certainly a source of deep emotional pain that has led to these co-occurring disorders.  Emotional scars may be the result of having experienced trauma in childhood, such as being the victim of physical or sexual abuse at the hands of an adult.  Other pain sources can be the break up of one’s family due to divorce, the death of a loved one, a close family member suffering a health crisis, or a single traumatic event like a serious automobile accident or a natural disaster.  

The residual emotions associated with any suffering, be it a quarter life crisis, trauma, excess stress, etc., can fail to heal and can in a way get “stuck” in the psyche, leading to one’s leaning on drugs or alcohol to help manage the emotional suffering that results.  The substance of abuse will eventually cause further distress and will accentuate the mood disorder, causing a vicious cycle.

On the contrary, someone who begins abusing drugs and alcohol recreationally may be genetically predisposed to addiction and find themselves suddenly dependent on the substance.  Chemical dependency on drugs or alcohol can have devastating life consequences that can in turn trigger depression or anxiety.

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders in Young Adults

Treating young adults with dual diagnosis will involve an integrated approach that provides help for both disorders.  Whenever an entrenched substance use disorder is involved the individual must first get clean by going through detox and withdrawal.  Once the withdrawal symptoms subside therapy can begin.

Dual diagnosis can be treated at either an outpatient or inpatient program, depending on the severity of the diagnoses.  For mild to moderate cases an outpatient treatment program that specializes in treating co-occurring disorders can be highly effective, while providing the flexibility for the client to continue to work or attend school during treatment.  Each client will have a customized treatment plan that will outline the best forms of treatment—which medications and therapy modality—for their specific needs. Individual talk therapy and group therapy, as well as adjunct therapies, will round out the treatment plan.

Young adults with a dual diagnosis will benefit from an outpatient program that, in addition to medication management and therapy, can guide them towards identifying new goals and purpose.  This is especially helpful for twenty-somethings who are in the midst of a quarter life crisis and dealt with it through substance abuse. Helping them create a new life plan will put them in control of their own destiny.

Launch Centers Substance Abuse and Mental Health Therapist Los Angeles

Launch Centers is an outpatient treatment program for young adults ages 18-28 that emphasizes life skills, vocational preparation, and goal setting.  For more information about our team of substance abuse and mental health therapists Los Angeles, please contact Launch Centers today at (310) 779-4476.

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Failing University Because of Depression

Young Adults Failing University Because of Depression

One of the more challenging phases of life is the transition young adults experience when moving from the parental home to college life.  With all the hoopla generated about career paths, college preparation, and college admissions during the high school years, landing in the dorm room on a late August day can trigger feelings of angst.  This is the part no student is really prepared for.

Unfamiliar feelings, such as being homesick while surrounded by strangers in a new setting, can be destabilizing.  Suddenly solely responsible for juggling academic, social, and work obligations can be overwhelming to a young adult.  The impact of these fears and emotions can result in the symptoms of depression, including lethargy that leads to missing classes and receiving poor grades.  Sometimes poor academic performance itself may trigger the symptoms of depression.  In either case, young people are increasingly failing university because of depression.

Why Are Young Adults Failing University Because of Depression?

The adjustment to living away from home can be surprisingly difficult for young adults.  The college campus may be miles away from one’s hometown, and can lead to a deep sense of loneliness or feeling like one doesn’t belong in their new surroundings.  Attempts to make new friends may feel forced and uncomfortable, especially if social anxiety is an existing issue.  In addition, universities have their own unique culture, rules, and academic expectations that may take time to adjust to.

When persistent feelings of sadness, fatigue, worthlessness, and despair begin to overwhelm the college student, academic performance will likely suffer.  This becomes a vicious cycle, as poor grades only add to the feelings of worthlessness.  Feeling like one isn’t measuring up to other students, or even one’s own potential, can cause a crisis of confidence, exacerbating the depression.  

Worries about the parents reaction to the poor grades, or potentially losing a scholarship, puts even more pressure on the student to perform.  But the depression leaves them powerless and immobile.  Depression can cause sleep disturbances, including excessive sleeping with no energy to even get out of bed.  Others with depression will have difficulty getting enough sleep due to insomnia, impacting their ability to concentrate.  

Young adults with depression may begin to abuse alcohol or drugs in an effort to self-medicate, only to make the depression that much worse.  If these symptoms go untreated, the student will end up failing university because of depression and may potentially develop a substance use disorder.  In fact, according to data reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 6.4 million young adults aged 18-25 had a mental illness in 2012, with 2.2 million, or about 30% of them having a co-occurring substance use disorder.

Steps to Take When Failing University Because of Depression

College students experiencing depression should take advantage of campus counseling or outpatient professional therapy.  The therapist may end up referring the student to a medical doctor who can prescribe antidepressants.  Ongoing counseling in combination with the medication may provide relief from the symptoms of depression.  At the very least, the counselor offers the student a safe, supportive place to share their fears, insecurities, and emotions as well as receive some advisement regarding school options.

If the depression occurs during the early weeks of the semester, there are options available.  Withdrawing from the classes by the deadline, versus failing them, can save the GPA and allow the student to take some time to get therapy, rest, and reboot to move forward.  The student may also opt to take a semester off and return home for some time to mature and heal before returning to school the next semester, or to reassess life choices.

Young Adults Need Goals and Purpose

A common source of pain in young adults is the sense that they have no real purpose in life.  They may feel they are going through the motions of what is expected of them, without feeling any ownership over their young adult years.  Some feel they are just being carried through this phase on a wave of “shoulds” and a sense of duty toward parents and loved ones, but their heart just isn’t in it.

Young adults sometimes need help in exploring their passions and determining what it is they want to do with their lives.  Examining their interests and skills, they may arrive at a realization that takes them on a polar opposite path than the one they are currently on.  Identifying purpose is very empowering to a young adult, and may go a long way in easing depression.

Launch Centers Outpatient Program for Young Adults Treats Depression

Launch Centers is an outpatient program serving young adults aged 18-28 in Los Angeles, California.  Launch Centers offers a multi-level program that combines therapeutic services, educational planning and assistance, and vocational goal setting and preparation.  For more information about the young adult outpatient program, contact Launch Centers today at (310) 779-4476.


Depression Outpatient Treatment Centers

Young Adult Depression Outpatient Treatment Centers

Young adulthood, those individuals aged 18-35, can be a particularly challenging period of life for many.  Societal expectations seem to be continuously ratcheting upward—are you attending the “right” college, are you embracing the “right” career path, is your social media presence impressive enough?  On and on, the incessant parade of culturally imposed standards runs through the young adult’s head, causing doubt and confusion that often results in major depression.

In California alone, 347,000 young adults reported having at least one major depressive episode in 2010, according to statistics reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, table 26).   Nationally, the prevalence of major depression affects nearly 10% of the young adult population, as reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry.  The quarter-life crisis, that development phase of young adulthood featuring feelings of doubt, stress, insecurity and diminished self-worth, has become ubiquitous.

While there are many theories as to why the occurrence of depression is prevalent in today’s young adults, some possible factors include a lack of family acceptance and support in childhood and teen years, social media itself, genetics or family history of depression, trauma or abuse, grief and loss, and substance use disorder.  Regardless of the origin or causal factors, access to depression outpatient treatment centers is key in treating the mood disorder.

Symptoms of Young Adult Depression

The transition between adolescence and adulthood can be packed with challenges.  Young adults are adjusting to college life, roommates, living away from home and feeling homesick, juggling heavy academic loads, and encountering temptations such as recreational drugs, alcohol, and casual sex.  A certain percentage of young adults have more pronounced difficulty during this phase of life and can become clinically depressed. The symptoms of depression can include:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and despair
  • Irritability or frustration
  • Sleep disturbances, either insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Angry outbursts
  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating, focusing, and remembering things
  • Slowed thinking and movement
  • Changes in eating habits, either substantial weight loss or weight gain
  • Feelings of worthlessness and self-blame
  • Fatigue
  • Falling behind academically
  • Unexplained physical symptoms, such as recurrent headaches or back pain
  • Suicide ideation or obsessive thoughts of death

Treatment for Young Adult Depression

If the young adult is living away from home it can be difficult for parents to recognize the symptoms of depression.  However, if it becomes apparent through texts, phone conversations, or occasional visits that your young adult is exhibiting some of the symptoms of depression, the sooner they receive treatment the better.  Timely intervention for depression helps to decrease the likelihood that the young adult will progress further into the mental health disorder and/or high-risk behaviors.

Young adults can get help at a depression outpatient treatment center that provides a multi-dimensional approach.  Core treatment elements will include antidepressant medications prescribed with individual psychotherapy and group therapy sessions.  Treatment for depression related to the 18-35 year old demographic should also include guidance toward defining purpose and setting life goals, as well as life skills training.

Co-occurring Substance Abuse Disorder with Depression

In a significant number of cases of depression among the young adult population, a co-occurring substance use disorder is present.  This dual diagnosis reflects the tendency for an individual to attempt to self-medicate the uncomfortable emotional pain of a mood disorder, such as depression.  According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug use and Health, rates of adults with past-year serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders were highest in the 18-25 year old age group (35.4%).

When a young adult has a dual diagnosis it is imperative that both disorders are treated at the same time.  The depression outpatient treatment centers are equipped to treat and manage co-occurring substance use disorders as well as the depression.

Launch Centers Young Adult Depression Outpatient Treatment Centers

Launch Centers is a unique outpatient treatment program that serves young adults aged 18-35 in Los Angeles, California, and features an emphasis on life skills and goal setting.  Launch Centers provides ongoing outpatient treatment for mood disorders, substance use disorders, and dual diagnosis through a structured and systemic program that empowers the young adult toward becoming a confident, productive individual.  For more information about the program, please contact Launch Centers today at (310) 779-4476.