Teen Substance Use
Teenagers are caught in a world somewhere between child and adult, a place where experimentation is inevitable and in many ways normal, good, and healthy. Unfortunately, that experimentation can be dangerous, and when it involves alcohol or drugs it has the potential to move into ever higher levels of risk and addiction.
Parents trying to adjust to their teen’s need for independence often make one of three classic mistakes: overlooking signs of a problem altogether, “clamping down” with excessive restrictions that can undermine the relationship and reinforce the problem, or encouraging abuse of substances by hosting “safe” drinking events.
As with other teen counseling topics presented on this website, we recognize many teens will only be in counseling because they are mandated by school authorities, parents or the court. Our skilled Professional Counselors work carefully with reluctant teens to build a rapport and trust essential to ultimate change.
However, if you are the parent of an older teen who refuses to attend counseling, you still have some options. We find many parents benefit greatly from even brief consultation on some common issues:
- Reducing emotional intensity and focusing on constructive communication
- Determining the difference between an experimentation phase and something more serious
- Finding clear and consistent limits you both agree on
- Finding ways to maintain relationship with your teen regardless of your teen’s choices
- Finding ways to keep other family members safe
- Learning to get a balance of self-care and enjoyment back in your life
Parents often lose sight of family strengths and options for support, as hope shrivels and frustration escalates. Professional counseling will help you navigate the tricky waters of holding your family together, reducing unproductive conflicts, and finding creative ways to maintain a good relationship with your teen.
Speak with our client relationship coordinator about an initial assessment for your teen, for you as parent(s), or as a family.
Request an appointment
If your child is consistently having problems at school, relationships or at home you may have suspected ADD/ADHD. Specifically, you might notice a combination of the following symptoms:
- Often behind or under pressure in schoolwork
- Feeling inferior to peers
- Chronic disorganization
- Problems remembering simple things
- Poor grades
- Social isolation/rejection by peers
- Difficulty participating in group events or organized sports
- Anxiety or depression that comes from a compounding of these problems
An accurate diagnosis, a skilled counselor, good medical attention and patience are all critical to provide successful solutions to this problem.
Three Major Symptom Categories of ADD & ADHD
This is the most common symptom. In addition to having difficulty paying attention, people with this ADHD symptom often are unable to consistently focus, remember, and organize. They may be careless and have a hard time starting and completing tasks that are boring, repetitive, or challenging.
People who frequently act before thinking may not make sound judgments or solve problems well. They may also have trouble developing and maintaining personal relationships. An adult with severe ADD/ADHD may not keep the same job for long or may have great difficulty with impulse spending.
A hyperactive child may squirm, fidget, and climb or run when it is not appropriate. These children often have difficulty playing with others. They may talk a great deal and not be able to sit still for even a short time. Teenagers and adults who are hyperactive don’t usually have the more obvious physical behaviors seen in children. Rather, they often feel restless and fidgety, and are not able to enjoy reading or other quiet activities.
Strategies for treatment of ADD & ADHD
CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy)
CBT can help children develop coping strategies, problem-solving skills, and self-regulation techniques to manage their ADHD symptoms. It focuses on identifying negative thought patterns and behaviors and replacing them with more positive and adaptive ones.
Lifestyle changes and dietary changes
Encouraging regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and a balanced diet can positively impact children with ADHD. Exercise helps release excess energy and improves focus, while proper sleep and nutrition support overall well-being and brain function.
Medications (stimulant and non-stimulant)
Stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate or amphetamines, are often prescribed to manage ADHD symptoms. These medications can help improve attention, reduce impulsivity, and control hyperactivity.
ADHD Treatment is Not Just About Improving Quality of Life
ADHD treatment for children offers much-needed support to address the challenges associated with ADHD. Through medication, behavioral interventions, and therapy, children gain valuable tools and skills to improve their academic performance, enhance organizational abilities, and reduce forgetfulness.
Treatment helps them develop coping strategies and self-regulation techniques crucial for managing their symptoms and succeeding in various aspects of life. With proper treatment, children experience improved focus, impulse control, and overall functioning, enabling them to navigate their daily lives with greater ease and success.
Emotional Benefits of ADHD treatment
ADHD treatment also provides comprehensive support that extends into emotional and mental health benefits. It offers children a sense of validation, helping them understand that their struggles are real and providing strategies and resources to support them emotionally. Children will develop the necessary tools to improve their emotional well-being and build positive relationships.
Treatment fosters healthy development, enhances emotional resilience, and facilitates positive connections with peers and family members, empowering children to navigate their emotions and relationships with greater success. Frustrations and self-doubt transform into hope, resilience, accomplishment, and a belief in their own capabilities.
Parental guidance with ADHD counseling
ADHD treatment not only supports the child but also provides guidance and strategies for parents to better understand and support their child’s needs.
Parents receive support in creating a structured and supportive environment at home and school, enabling their child to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. They learn techniques for setting clear expectations, implementing effective routines, and providing positive reinforcement.
Treatment equips parents with knowledge and skills, strengthening the family unit by fostering greater understanding, empathy, and cohesion. By working together, the family becomes a supportive foundation for the child, facilitating their growth and development in a nurturing and understanding environment.
Steps toward ADHD treatment
If your child is diagnosed with ADD/ADHD it is important to consider a commitment to treatment. Successful and lasting outcomes will make all the difference not only for your child but your family as a whole.
Call us. We would like to help your child succeed academically, socially and at home.
Click Here for Adult Add/ADHD
Request an appointment
ADHD in Adults
ADHD is typically considered a diagnosis given to children, but the truth is, it is a lifelong disorder. It is not a diagnosis a person grows out of; it simply evolves into different issues impacting adult responsibilities and relationships. Without treatment, the impulsivity, disorganization, lack of motivation and inability to focus can wreak havoc on an individual’s personal and professional life.
ADHD Treatment Therapy
Through proper diagnosis and counseling, individuals can learn how their brain works differently, what their ideal learning style is, and how to change their thinking about themselves and the world around them. There can be profound healing as life is put into a new perspective, making sense of lifelong frustrations.
Often times, physicians request testing prior to choosing medication management as an option. At Directions Counseling Group we conduct a comprehensive evaluation focusing on past and present symptoms; developmental and medical history; and psychiatric history including medications, social adjustment, and general ability to meet the demands of daily life. We also use the Conners’ Adult ADHD Rating Scale (CAARS) assessment tool as a standard part of our evaluation.
Ultimately, we believe individuals with ADHD can function at very high levels, enjoy their lives, and experience tremendous success in their work, family and intimate relationships. Call us today to find out more about how we can successfully help you assess and treat this issue.
Click here to learn more
ADD & ADHD Therapists
Request an appointment
We understand that the pain caused by trauma can be overwhelming and devastating. It can impact every aspect of your life, leaving you feeling isolated, helpless, and hopeless. We’re here to help.
Our therapy is tailored to each individual’s unique needs, with a compassionate and personalized approach that helps you heal and move forward. Our team of skilled therapists are dedicated to supporting you every step of the way, offering a safe and supportive space to explore your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
Our goal is not just to manage your symptoms, but to help you find a path to a more fulfilling and meaningful life. We know that the journey toward healing can be challenging, but we’re here to guide you through it.
The experience of a traumatic event can overwhelm a person for days, weeks, months, and even years. What once seemed like an ordinary life can be filled with unannounced, sudden, and powerful negative memories of an earlier traumatic event. Some describe it as a vivid flashback, others relive the feelings without the visual memory, but either way it can feel like life will never be the same.
Our counselors often see people experiencing negative symptoms after traumatic events like:
- Workplace accidents
- Car accidents
- Sexual assault or abuse
- Domestic violence
- Witnessing or experiencing a crime
This list is certainly not exhaustive as unexpected tragic events can happen to a person in countless ways. Fortunately there are a variety of very effective treatments available to help individuals recover regardless of when the event took place.
Signs that a loved one is suffering from PTSD
If you suspect that a loved one may be suffering from PTSD, there are some common signs and symptoms to look for. Here are several:
Re-experiencing the traumatic event
They may have vivid and distressing memories or flashbacks of the event that they can’t control or stop.
They may try to avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma, such as people, places, or activities.
They may feel on edge, irritable, or jumpy, and may have trouble sleeping or concentrating.
Negative changes in mood and thinking
They may experience feelings of guilt, shame, or despair. They may also have negative thoughts about themselves or the world around them.
They may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with their symptoms.
They may have difficulty experiencing emotions or feeling detached from others.
They may be easily startled or have an exaggerated startle response, and may constantly be on guard for potential danger.
They may have disturbing dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event.
They may experience physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or chest pain.
Changes in behavior
They may exhibit changes in behavior, such as withdrawing from social activities, becoming more aggressive or irritable, or engaging in risky behavior.
We Value Your Privacy
We value the privacy of our patients above all else. We want you to know that your confidentiality is of the utmost importance to us, and we will do everything to protect it.
Our therapists are trained to create a safe and non-judgmental space for you to share your experiences and emotions, and we are committed to upholding ethical guidelines and best practices when it comes to protecting your personal information.
We understand that your journey toward healing from PTSD is unique, and we are honored to be a part of it. We want you to feel empowered and in control of your therapy experience, knowing that your privacy is respected and valued every step of the way.
Trauma can Affect Your Overall Health
While a small percentage of the population suffers from posttraumatic memory “flashbacks” (or PTSD), a far greater number of individuals struggle on a regular basis with emotional “over-reactions.” Chronic over-reacting usually indicates a person is triggered to defend him or herself from a past event, which was very painful emotionally or physically. Unfortunately, chronic “over-reacting” can be very damaging to current relationships.
If you have troubling memories, unexpected emotional reactions, or any of the above listed symptoms that disrupt the way you want to live your life, we encourage you to call. We can help.
Request an appointment
In healthy doses, stress can be a good thing. Moderate stress can propel us to set goals and work harder. On the other hand, if our stress exceeds our ability to cope, it can rob us of health, happiness, and pleasure.
During these ‘unprecedented times’ children are home due to school closings, unemployment is skyrocketing, and political unrest is unavoidable as we watch TV or scroll through social media… the days seem very long and the end seems to be no where in sight. Some relationships are hanging on by a thread.
Recent statistics show that job related stressors can actually place some people at as great a risk for heart disease as that of cigarette smokers and those with high serum cholesterol. Stress in the work-place contributes to low morale, increased use of sick or mental health days, and reduced job performance.
Physical signs of stress include:
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Butterflies in the stomach
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Change in eating habits
Emotional signs of stress include:
- Feeling “burnt-out”
- Abnormal irritability
- Feeling helpless about your situation
- Losing interest in normally pleasurable activities, including work
The professionally trained counselors at Directions Counseling Group understand the pressures faced during these unprecedented times. Call today to schedule your first appointment and discover hope.
Request an appointment
Few emotions are as devastating as the grief that comes after a major loss. At Directions Counseling & Coaching we commonly see individuals searching for help to cope with: Aside from the well-intentioned grieving “stages” our culture has embraced, not everyone processes circumstances the same way. Your loss may have occurred recently or many years ago, but the opportunity to share those details and work through your feelings is important on many levels. The early symptoms and sometimes even long term repercussions can manifest in the following ways: While the voids left by grief can never be entirely filled, much can be done to help relieve troubling symptoms, and often also honor the people and situations where you experienced the loss. We approach issues of grief in a comprehensive manner, aware that loss can impact us in profound ways relationally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Our counselors seek to provide therapy that will help you explore these areas as they become relevant in your treatment.
Few emotions are as devastating as the grief that comes after a major loss. At Directions Counseling & Coaching we commonly see individuals searching for help to cope with:
Aside from the well-intentioned grieving “stages” our culture has embraced, not everyone processes circumstances the same way. Your loss may have occurred recently or many years ago, but the opportunity to share those details and work through your feelings is important on many levels. The early symptoms and sometimes even long term repercussions can manifest in the following ways:
While the voids left by grief can never be entirely filled, much can be done to help relieve troubling symptoms, and often also honor the people and situations where you experienced the loss. We approach issues of grief in a comprehensive manner, aware that loss can impact us in profound ways relationally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Our counselors seek to provide therapy that will help you explore these areas as they become relevant in your treatment.
Your Grief is Valid
It is important to know that your emotions are valid and real. Grief is a natural and normal response to loss, and it is essential to acknowledge and honor these emotions. It is okay to feel sadness, anger, guilt, or confusion in the wake of loss. It is okay to feel overwhelmed or to struggle with daily tasks. It is okay to need support and help during this difficult time. Your grief is unique to you, and it is essential to give yourself permission to feel and process your emotions in your way and at your pace. Your pain is valid, and you are not alone.
Seeking help and support, whether through counseling, support groups, or loved ones, can help you navigate the complexities of grief and find a way forward. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to grieve, and the most important thing is to be kind to yourself and to allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come up. Your grief is valid, and healing is possible.
Grief Can Impact Your Quality of Life
Grief is a powerful and all-encompassing emotion that can turn one’s life upside down. The impact of grief on quality of life is profound and can be felt in every aspect of a person’s existence. It can make simple tasks feel insurmountable, drain one’s energy, and diminish the joy of life. The overwhelming sadness, anger, and confusion that come with grief can isolate individuals from loved ones and make social activities unbearable.
The physical toll of grief can exacerbate pre-existing conditions or create new health issues altogether. It can make it difficult to concentrate, focus, or perform well at work or school, leading to a decline in productivity. In the wake of grief, individuals may struggle to find meaning or purpose in life, leading to a sense of hopelessness and despair. Grief can leave one feeling lost, alone, and uncertain of how to move forward.
Grief can have an Adverse Effect on your Physical Health
The impact of grief on physical health can be devastating. The emotional toll of grief can cause physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, digestive issues, and sleep disturbances. These symptoms can affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities, leading to a decline in physical health.
- The exhaustion and lack of energy that come with grief can make it difficult to exercise, leading to weight gain or loss.
- The loss of appetite or overeating can cause digestive problems and nutritional deficiencies.
- The lack of sleep can impact the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to illness.
- The physical symptoms of grief can exacerbate pre-existing health conditions or create new ones altogether.
- The impact of grief on physical health cannot be ignored, and it is essential to seek medical attention if physical symptoms persist.
The journey of grief is a challenging one, and taking care of one’s physical health is crucial to managing the impact of grief and moving towards healing.
Grief and Loss Counseling Can Help
When it comes to recovering from grief, counseling can be a lifeline of support and guidance. The journey of grief is a tumultuous one that can leave individuals feeling lost, overwhelmed, and alone. Counseling provides a safe and non-judgmental space to:
- process the complex emotions that come with grief
- navigate the challenges of daily life
- find a way forward
A counselor can help individuals develop coping strategies, set achievable goals, and manage the physical and emotional impact of grief. The guidance of a counselor can help individuals gain perspective, find meaning, and build a sense of resilience in the face of loss. The importance of counseling when recovering from grief cannot be overstated. It is a powerful tool that can help individuals heal, grow, and find hope in the wake of profound loss.
Reclaim Your Life
Grief can be an isolating experience, leaving individuals feeling disconnected from their social support networks. However, counseling can provide individuals with the tools and strategies to reclaim their life. A counselor can help individuals identify and overcome the emotional barriers that may be hindering social engagement, such as guilt, anxiety, or fear of judgment.
They can also provide practical guidance on how to navigate social situations that may trigger emotional responses, such as gatherings or anniversaries. Counseling can help individuals build new connections or rekindle old ones, fostering a sense of community and belonging.
By providing a safe space to express emotions and process the challenges of grief, counseling can help individuals regain confidence, self-esteem, and trust in others. The impact of counseling on social life can be transformative, providing individuals with the support and guidance needed to rebuild meaningful relationships and reclaim joy in life.
Do Not Suffer In Silence. Seek the help of a grief counselor now
Our grief counselors are here to help you navigate this difficult time with compassion and understanding. Our trained professionals have years of experience helping people process their grief and find a way forward. Whether you have recently experienced a loss or are struggling with unresolved grief from the past, we are here to support you. Don’t suffer in silence – take the first step towards healing by contacting us today to schedule a session.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will my grief last?
The duration of grief is a common concern for those experiencing loss. The truth is that grief has no timeline or expiration date. Grief is a deeply personal and unique experience that can vary widely in length and intensity from person to person. The pain of grief may come in waves, with good days and bad days.
It is important to acknowledge that healing is not a linear process, and there is no set timeline for when you should feel “normal” again. Instead, it is essential to give yourself permission to feel your emotions fully and to take the time needed to grieve in your way and at your pace. Seeking support from loved ones, a grief counselor, or a support group can help you navigate the challenges of grief and provide you with the tools to move forward.
Remember, grief is a journey, not a destination, and with time, self-care, and support, it is possible to find a sense of peace and healing.
How do I know if I am grieving normally?
The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to what is considered “normal” grief. Grief is a personal experience that is unique to each individual, and the process can vary widely based on a variety of factors such as the nature of the loss, personality, and coping mechanisms. It is essential to understand that there is no right or wrong way to grieve and that everyone has their own way of processing their emotions.
How can I take care of myself while grieving?
When you are grieving, it can be challenging to prioritize your own well-being. However, taking care of yourself is essential for your physical, emotional, and mental health during this difficult time. Self-care can look different for each person, but some tips that can help include:
- allowing yourself to feel your emotions fully
- practicing mindfulness or meditation
- reaching out to a trusted friend or family member for support
- engaging in physical activity or exercise
- getting enough sleep and proper nutrition
- seeking professional help if needed
It is also important to be gentle and patient with yourself and to give yourself the time and space needed to process your emotions. Remember that healing is not a linear process and that it is okay to have good days and bad days. Taking care of yourself during grief is not selfish, but rather an act of self-love and an important step towards healing.
How can I manage overwhelming emotions during grief?
One helpful way to manage overwhelming emotions is to practice mindfulness or meditation. By focusing on your breath and staying present in the moment, you can help calm your mind and ease intense emotions. Journaling or creative expression can also be a helpful way to process and release emotions.
Additionally, reaching out to a trusted friend or family member for support, or seeking help from a grief counselor or support group, can provide you with the tools and resources needed to manage intense emotions. Remember that it is okay to ask for help and that seeking support does not make you weak. It takes strength and courage to acknowledge your emotions and to take steps toward healing.
How can I know when I am ready to move forward after a loss?
Moving forward after a loss is a complex and personal journey, and there is no set timeline for when you should feel ready to do so. It is essential to give yourself permission to grieve at your own pace and to honor your feelings throughout the healing process.
While it can be challenging to know when you are ready to move forward, there are some signs that may indicate that you are starting to heal. For example, you may find that you are able to think about the person or thing you lost without feeling overwhelming sadness or pain. You may also find that you are able to engage in activities that you used to enjoy or feel more connected to others around you.
It is important to remember that healing is not a linear process, and it is okay to have setbacks or to take steps forward and backward. Trusting your instincts and allowing yourself to take small steps toward healing can help you determine when you are ready to move forward. Seeking support from a grief counselor or support group can also help provide you with the tools and resources needed to navigate the complexities of grief and move toward healing.
Remember, the healing journey is unique to each individual, and it is possible to find peace and happiness again with time, self-care, and support.
Request an appointment
How depression affects our lives
Many suffer needlessly with depression when help is available. The personal toll of depression can be devastating, affecting every aspect of one’s livelihood: family, job, finances, friendships, and spiritual life.
You may be experiencing a depressive illness if some of these symptoms describe you:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- Fatigue or decreased energy
- Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, including sex
- Appetite and weight change (not due to dieting)
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism about the future
- Chronic feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Thoughts of death, “accidents,” or considering, planning, or making a suicide
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Chronic aches or pains not due to a known physical illness
- Significant change in sleep patterns
Seeking depression treatment
If you or a loved one are experiencing some of these symptoms, it is recommended that you seek professional evaluation and treatment. If you are experiencing any suicidal thoughts or impulses, please go to your nearest hospital emergency room or call Netcare Access at (614) 276-2273.
Help is available and relief from depression is possible. Call us at (614) 888-9200 to schedule an assessment with a therapist.
Request an appointment
For the parent of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) the world as they know it has changed completely. Parents often struggle with their child’s diagnosis, the behaviors associated with the disorder, the intensity of recommended treatments, the financial burden and maintaining a “normal” life. Parents of children with ASD may greatly benefit from individual and/or marriage counseling.
If you are a parent of a child with ASD looking for support options, please call, and we will be glad to tell you more about what we offer as well as connect you to local community resources.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) affect the entire family, including the siblings of the individual with ASD. Siblings may feel neglected because of the amount of attention their special needs sibling receives. Some siblings will take on adult responsibilities in order to help the family. At times, siblings are caught in the middle of peer interactions and must choose whom to side with: friends or family. Siblings may withdraw or act out in anger and frustration at the difficulties they face when dealing with their brother or sister diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
If you are concerned about how your children are handling ASD in the family, we can help. We offer family and individual counseling to help siblings creatively adapt, cope and thrive in spite of the inevitable challenges. Call us at 614.888.9200 to learn more about our sibling support services.
Request an appointment
Eating Disorder Overview
We all get a little funny from time to time about what we will eat, how much, and when. However, for someone struggling with an eating disorder, food and controlling or restricting food intake become preoccupations that begin to damage relationships, mental health, and especially physical well being. Eating disorders are complex. Often people don’t understand that it isn’t just a simple preoccupation with being skinny or losing weight. Contributing factors can include brain and body chemistry, family influences, cultural influences, self-esteem, and erroneous beliefs about oneself.
Eating Disorder Symptoms
If you notice some of the following symptoms in yourself or a loved one, we recommend obtaining a professional assessment as soon as possible:
- Constant dieting on low-calorie or high restriction diets
- Preoccupation with food that gets in the way of important daily activities
- Obsessive use of exercise
- Fear of not being able to stop eating once you start
- Seeing one’s body image differently than others see it
- Using body weight or image to determine one’s worth
- Ceased menstruation (or never started even when age appropriate)
- Binge eating
- “Purging” by vomiting
- Use of laxatives
Eating Disorder Treatment
Unfortunately, all eating disorders have serious physical, mental, and emotional risks. It is common that the individual, as well as the other family members will put off talking to a professional, which can give more time for the disorder to progress in severity. Early intervention and treatment are extremely important, and possibly the difference between life and death. Don’t put off an evaluation if you are in doubt. Call our client relationship coordinator and you will sensitively and promptly be scheduled for a professional assessment.
Request an appointment
1480 Manning Pkwy, Powell, OH 43065
6797 N. High Street Suite 350
Columbus, OH 43085
Monday – Thursday | 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Friday | 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday | 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.