Can I use cannabis and emerge unscathed? How to talk about marijuana without sounding like your parents.

It’s complicated. This WBUR article does a really fabulous job of looking at facts and not sensationalizing an oft-sensationalized topic. I really do believe that cannabis increases the risk of psychosis for some people. My former colleague at McLean Hospital, Dr. Dost Öngür, chief of the Psychotic Disorders Division, makes a compelling case to hold off using cannabis until the age of 30.

Leading Psychosis Expert To His Students: To Avoid Risk, Hold Off On Pot Til 30

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Is AA the only choice?

If Alcoholics Anonymous or similar 12-step substance abuse programs work for you or someone you know, that is fantastic and I encourage sticking with it as long as it works. If AA does not seem to fit for you, or if it doesn’t seem to stick, this does not mean you are a hopeless case. In fact, the research data appear to favor the more behavioral approach of Motivational Interviewing, which I offer at Front Range CBT.

The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous

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Is this normal teenage stuff or is my child depressed? Also, taking away electronics will help…right?

As far as I am concerned, I will help you or your child in the same way regardless of the answer to this question: by providing skills to modify thoughts and behaviors to improve mood and overall quality of life. On the other hand, we DO want to understand severity of symptoms when considering safety (suicide, self harm, and other life-and-limb endangering behavior or urges), advisability of medication and prognosis. Also…most parents identify social media and “electronics” in general as the cause of a whole host of problems, but it is important to understand the negative and positive roles these technologies play in the lives of adolescents.

Is a Teen Depressed, or Just Moody?

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So you want to forbid drinking, but you want your teenager to tell you if she drinks?

As any parent of a teenager can tell you, navigating alcohol use in and out of the context of driving is a complicated balancing act. Parents at once want to forbid a behavior (drinking alcohol)  while also encouraging a behavior (being safe) if the forbidden behavior is engaged in. It’s enough to make one’s head spin. It turns out, it is the behavior that parents model around alcohol that is more important than what parents say about alcohol.

When Teenagers Drink, Avoiding the Risks From Driving

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Understanding OCD and OCD Treatment

The headline for this article is so misleading I don’t want it here on my blog. OCD treatment is challenging and can be frightening, but with a good therapist, clients feel safe and in completely in control when doing ERP. Other than the headline, this is a great article that describes what OCD is, why it is difficult to find treatment, and how cognitive behavioral therapy can be used in a really effective way via Exposure and Response Prevention treatment

Understanding OCD and OCD Treatment

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Do personality traits contribute to substance use and addiction in adolescents?

While I would never counsel a parent to sound the alarm if they noticed these traits in the absence of signs and evidence of substance use, it is helpful to understand the role of personality traits in the development of addiction. It allows us to develop a more nuanced understanding of why a person may abuse substances, and perhaps more importantly, it allows us to customize our intervention by specifically targeting these problem areas. The New York Times does a nice job of explaining these risk factors in this article.

The 4 Traits That Put Kids at Risk for Addiction

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The Importance of Coordinating Care in First-Episode Psychosis

Here’s an article from the National Institute of Mental health that explains the results of a large study of outcomes for young people who have had a first-episode of psychosis. While more costly in terms of time and money, comprehensive and coordinated and collaborative care results in the best outcomes. We also know that early intervention is key to good outcomes, so never hesitate to bring your child in for assessment and always insist that your treatment team communicate regularly.

Team-based Treatment for First Episode Psychosis Found to be High Value

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