April 21, 2021

Richard Capriola Mental Health & Drugs/Substance Abuse Expert

Richard Capriola Mental Health & Drugs/Substance Abuse Expert

Mental Health & Drugs/Substance Abuse Expert Richard Capriola discusses the warning signs for parents with teenagers who may be involved with drug/substance abuse, the often severe consequences of adult addictions, why victims of Domestic Abuse can turn to substance abuse to cope with their situation, how the Covid pandemic has negatively impacted the mental health of many people, his current book plus much more…
Richard Info:
Website http://www.helptheaddictedchild.com
Email rcapriola@yahoo.com


Mental Health & Drugs/Substance Abuse Expert Richard Capriola discusses the warning signs for parents with teenagers who may be involved with drug/substance abuse, the often severe consequences of adult addictions, why victims of Domestic Abuse can turn to substance abuse to cope with their situation, how the Covid pandemic has negatively impacted the mental health of many people, his current book plus much more…

Richard Info

Website: http://www.helptheaddictedchild.com

Email: rcapriola@yahoo.com

Transcript

Nigel Beckles: My guest for this episode is a mental health and addictions counsellor who supports people with psychiatric and substance abuse disorders. American Richard Capriola. Hi, Richard. Welcome to my podcast series. How are you?

Richard Capriola:  I'm doing great. Nigel. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me about this, uh, this issue. Well, it's a pleasure to have you here.

Nigel Beckles: So Richard, you work in the field of substance abuse and drug addiction. How did you become involved in your field of work?

Richard Capriola:  Well, have many years of experience working in the field of education as an administrator and towards the end of that tenure, I began working in a mental health crisis centre, and I would see people who came to the crisis centre who had a mental health issue, but also were struggling with a substance abuse issue. So I went back to the University of Illinois and obtained a master's degree in addictions counselling. And continued to work at the crisis centre for a while, until I was offered a job with Menninger clinic in Houston, Texas Menninger clinic is a large psychiatric hospital. And I worked there for over a decade, treating both adults and adolescents who have mental health and substance abuse issues. I retired from Menninger a little over a year ago and set about to write this book. That would be a resource for parents. I wanted to give parents a very good. Overview of adolescent substance abuse. So it's not a very long book. It's not a technical book. I wanted it to be written in a very informational type style, a conversational style. So their parents could read this book and hopefully walk away thinking, okay, I understand this issue. I've got this issue. I'm not so afraid of. So I really wanted it to be a resource for parents.

Nigel Beckles: Well, they're going to talk about your book a little bit later on. Well, your work currently, what does that involve?

Richard Capriola:  I'm retired now. I retired a little over a year ago from Menninger clinic, but while I was at Menninger clinic, most of my work was with adolescents and adults who were diagnosed with mental health and substance abuse issues. So I was part of a treatment team. The treatment team consisted of a psychiatrist. My responsibility was to assess the individual to determine the degree of their substance use disorder, whether it was mild or moderate or severe, and to get a history of their substance use and then to, uh, and then to provide group sessions for patients who had a substance abuse issue. And individual counselling. So a lot of my work was assessment group work and individual counselling.

Nigel Beckles: So on your estimation, how many teenagers or young adults does this issue affect?

Richard Capriola:  Well, it depends on the substance that we're looking at when it comes to alcohol and marijuana. Those are the two primary substances that adolescents are using, you know, a little over half of, of high school seniors. Right. Uh, say that they are drinking alcohol, about 40% of juniors will tell us the same thing about 35% of seniors will tell us that they're smoking marijuana. 28% of juniors will tell us they're smoked marijuana. So alcohol and marijuana are the two primary substances. But what we've noticed in the last few years is a tremendous surge in teenagers who are vaping. Nicotine and marijuana, which is vaping, is where they use, uh, an instrument to turn marijuana or nicotine into a vapor. And then they inhale it through a vapor pen, uh, or some other device. In the last three years, we have seen a tremendous increase in adolescents who are turning to vaping, marijuana and nicotine. To the hardcore drugs, drugs like LSD and cocaine, uh, Oxycontin. Those really are very small numbers in comparison to alcohol and marijuana in vape. Uh, LSD runs a major percent of seniors. Uh, cocaine runs 3% of seniors. So there is some use of those substances, but nowhere near the alcohol and the marijuana.

Nigel Beckles: So what's the difference between adult and adolescent addiction?

Richard Capriola:  I think there's two big differences. The first is in the area of brain development. The adolescent brain is just not developed. It's not going to move tour until the person is around 24 or 25. So the big difference is the adult. The brain is fully developed. The adolescent brain is in the process of developing chores. That's the first difference. The second difference is in the area of consequences, adults who have been addicted to drugs have many times faced catastrophic consequences. They might have lost a marriage. They might've lost a job. They incarcerated. So adults. Who are addicted to a substance, have oftentimes faced catastrophic consequences. These are not small consequences. These are catastrophic consequences. Many times our adolescents on the other hand have faced very, a few consequences as a result of the use. Their biggest consequence usually is their parents putting some type of restriction or grounding, but those are nowhere near the same type of consequences that an adult who's addicted to a substance often faces.

And their lives. So the two big changes, brain development and consequences. In your view, how has the pandemic impacted teen mental health and compulsive behaviours? I think the pandemic has had dramatic impacts for both adults. And adolescence, and we are just now beginning to scratch the surface on the mental health needs for both adolescents and adults coming out of this pandemic, the centres for disease control has already noted that there has been a 24% increase in emergency revisits by grade school children. And there's been over a 30% increase for teenagers who are urgently in need of mental health. Care. So this pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the mental health of both adults and adolescents. And I think we're just beginning to see the start of this. We're only scratching the surface of wing to see probably for years to come. The pandemic has affected sleep behaviours, eating behaviours, school ends, excess of worry. Anxiety irritability, aggression. And I think these are all signals that we are headed for a major time in dealing with the mental health crisis as we come out of this pandemic.

Nigel Beckles: What type of warning signs should parents look out for if we suspect a child is using drugs or abusing substances?

Richard Capriola:  That's a great question, Nigel. Uh, in my book, I list warning signs for parents to be aware of there's warning signs for a child who may use alcohol there's warning signs for a child that may be using marijuana. I've also included warning signs for a child who might be developing an eating disorder, or might be self-harming because these two can accompany a child using alcohol and drugs. So I have warning signs throughout my book, but as a general rule, what I advise parents to do is pay attention to the changes they see in their child. You know, your child. So pay attention to those changes that you see in your child. Don't assume that the changes that you're seeing is just normal adolescent behaviour. They may very well be, but they also may be a signal that there's something else going on underneath the surface. For example, you may have a child who was earning very good grades, and now the grades start to decline. You may have a child who enjoyed participating in sports no longer wants to participate in sports. You may have a child who was very outgoing and social now is becoming more isolated. You may have a child who entered it. You show to their friends, you knew who their friends were. You knew who the parents of their friends were. Now. It was very secretive about their friends. These are all signals. So these are all warning signs. And the more of these changes that you see in the child. The more concerned you should be as a parent and you should follow up with some type of an assessment or an investigation.

Nigel Beckles: So in terms of domestic abuse, someone who's suffering abuse, is it likely they would turn to substance abuse possible?

Richard Capriola:  Many people who are using substances, whether it's an adult or an adolescent, um, many times they're using that substance to medicate an underlying feeling, an intolerable feeling. So if, if a person is a victim of domestic abuse, they're dealing with a lot of emotional issues that can become overwhelming. It wouldn't be surprising to see them turn to a substance, whether it's alcohol or marijuana or some other drug. To help medicate that, that intense, underlying feeling in that struggle that they're dealing with.

Nigel Beckles: Well, Richard, you mentioned your book. What is it about and what areas does it cover?

Richard Capriola:  The title of the book is ‘A Parent's Guide for Adolescent Substance Abuse’, and it covers a number of issues, all in very short, concise chapters. There, there is a chapter on the overview of alcohol and drugs. There is a chapter on the neuroscience of addiction. I mean, by that is it helps parents understand how drugs work. There is individual chapters on street drugs that children might be getting into. So the parents are aware of the drugs that are out there. So there's a very brief series of chapters that helps parents become more aware of the street drugs. There's a chapter on assessments, what assessments and tests should a parent get done on their child? If they think there's a problem, because there are a number of tests that need to, and there's an addictions test, but there are several other tests that are outlined too, so that you get a comprehensive overview.

And then there are chapters that help parents understand what resources are available for them. If they needed. And what type of treatment options are available? Everything from outpatient to inpatient to residential treatment programs are explained. So in this book, which only runs a little over a hundred pages, parents have very concise chapters that give them the important information they need.

Nigel Beckles: To be able to understand this topic, this issue, and if needed to be able to deal with, and your book certainly sounds like a great resource. So Richard, how can people contact you?

Richard Capriola:  The easiest way is to go to the book's website, which is www help the www.addicted child.com. That's www help the addicted child.com. And once you get to the site, you can read about the book you can read about the parent book that's available. You can read endorsements and book reviews, and there's a link where you can go directly to Amazon to buy the book it's available in both a Kindle version, as well as a paperback version. And the link we'll take you directly to Amazon where you can order the book. There is also a link. Where you can send me a message, or if you want to make a comment or ask a question, you can contact me through the website.

Nigel Beckles: Richard in Houston, Texas. Thank you very much for your time much. Appreciate it.

Richard Capriola:  Thank you, Nigel. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. Thank you very much.