Making the Connection: Adolescent and Adult Substance Abuse and Trauma

Trauma has been shown to adversely affect many of the neurobiological systems responsible for cognitive development and regulation of emotions and behavior. In adolescents, this can manifest in delays in the developmental processes that would normally enable them to effectively evaluate the consequences of their behavior, to make realistic appraisals for danger and safety, to moderate daily behavior to meet long-term goals, and to make increased use of abstract thinking for academic learning and problem solving. This workshop will focus on the impact of traumatic stress on adolescent development and behavior, while offering assessment and treatment strategies to implement healthier ways of coping and to better manage affect arousal in teens who have historically turned to substances as a way to self-soothe.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the impact of child and adolescent traumatic stress on the development and behavior of adolescents.
  • Understand the relationship between child and adolescent traumatic stress and co-occurring disorders, including: depression; anxiety; PTSD; and substance abuse.
  • Learn about assessment and treatment strategies for adolescents impacted by traumatic stress.
  • Identify 5 creative treatment strategies and modalities to support adolescents in identifying and implementing adaptive coping methods to regulate arousal level and modulate affect.

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