The Teen Brain and Addiction: Brainstorm by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel

addiction, gateway treatment centersA new book called Brainstorm by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel sets out to help adolescents and adults understand just how vulnerable the teenage brain is to addiction.

The book features new research evidencing teen drug use may alter the control of areas of the brain that regulate emotion or dopamine release. What this means is, early exposure to alcohol or drugs may in fact make a teen more vulnerable to substance abuse issues later in his or her life.

Dr. Siegel recommends mindfulness practices to help individuals support the development of their mind to better handle distressed emotions that can lead to substance abuse, such as anxiety and stress.

Mindfulness, as described by author Jon Kabat-Zinn, is: A gentle effort to be continuously present with experience…paying attention on purpose.

The key to appreciating mindfulness is twofold:

  1.  Be aware and accepting of urges, cravings, emotions, and all aspects of your experience, while not driven to act on them.
  2.  Base motivation and actions on what need to be done in order to move towards a life worth living.

Dr. Siegel believes the more people use mindfulness to generate internal education and inner life focus, the likelier they are to be able to effectively regulate their emotions and think clearly.

“It’s a broad skill you develop. You are learning literally the internal techniques of how to balance your emotions, and deal with upsetting memories, and deal with them well,” Dr. Siegel explains to TheFix.com.

At Gateway Treatment Centers, adults and adolescents can learn how to address their substance use disorder and help prevent relapse using mindfulness. To learn more, please visit RecoverGateway.org/Mindfulness.

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers
Every year Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment helps thousands of adults and teens get their life back on track and gives renewed hope to those who care about them. With 50 years of treatment experience, our specialists take the time to understand of the specific needs of each individual. We then develop a customized treatment plan with recommendations for the most appropriate care based on an individual's substance abuse and mental health history. As the largest provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment in Illinois, Gateway has 11 treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment programs are not one-size fits all, but unique treatment plans that give an individual the highest chance for a successful outcome. With insurance acceptance and a track record of success, Gateway Treatment Centers help thousands of individual’s successfully complete treatment each year, and find the hope they need to live again.

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