Substance use and comorbid mental health disorders are widespread in the United States. Recent data suggests that previous declines in substance use among adolescents ages 12–17 years and young adults ages 18–25 observed between 2002 and 2014 may be abating. In fact, research suggests that alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use may be increasing in response to the social distancing and isolation related to COVID-19 restrictions. Drug use contributes to overdoses, poor health status, loss of income, family violence, accidents, auto fatalities, removal of children from a home, and impaired mental, emotional, and behavioral development in children. Substance misuse, substance use disorders, and related comorbid mental health and social problems are not inevitable. Substance use prevention services focus on strengthening protective factors and reducing risk factors that put individuals, families, and communities at risk for substance abuse and related health and social consequences. The social work profession performs an important role in advancing and implementing substance abuse prevention, not only in preventing the use and misuse of alcohol and other drugs and related negative health, mental health and economic outcomes, but also in working to improve the overall health of communities through intervention programs and policies.
Peter J. Delany, Jane Sanville, and Joseph J. Shields
Tonya Edmond and Karen Lawrence
Since its inception in 1987, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy has been the subject of lively debate and controversy, rigorous research both nationally and internationally, and is now used by licensed practitioners across six continents as an effective treatment of trauma symptoms and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The aim of this entry is to provide social work practitioners and researchers with a description of the treatment approach for adults and children, EMDR’s development and theoretical basis, a review of controversial issues, and an overview of the evidence of effectiveness of EMDR across trauma types and populations.
Since the start of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pandemic, numerous biomedical advances have caused the social-work response to shift from management of a crisis to prevention of an incurable, but treatable chronic disease. About 1.3 million people in the United States and more than 33 million people worldwide are estimated to be living with HIV. Rates of incidence in impoverished, marginalized communities are highest, with the rates continuing to increase among young African American gay and bisexual men. Other communities at high risk are people who are incarcerated, engage in sex work or other kinds of exchange sex, and participate in risky injection-drug use. Minority groups are often impacted because of reduced access to quality medical care and HIV testing. Social workers in HIV prevention work are challenged to educate clients and communities on the sexual risk continuum, provide more interventions that are culturally tailored for disadvantaged at-risk groups, and implement evidence-based HIV prevention and testing programs worldwide. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy now provides structure to funding opportunities for HIV prevention programs, and there is disparate access to effective treatments worldwide for those living with HIV.
Craig Winston LeCroy
Health care practitioners frequently ignore mental health problems in teens. Adolescents’ daily functioning may be hampered as they mature and are exposed to more dangerous settings. The common behavioral and mental health issues that teenagers face is critical to understanding how to best offer prevention and intervention services. Teenage mental health treatment often focuses on developing functional abilities and identifying models of care that can lessen dysfunctional symptomatology. The latest approaches to treating and preventing teenage mental health issues are presented. The mental health field has placed increased focus on implementing evidence-based treatments. In addition to treatment models, numerous additional elements must be taken into account while developing or implementing treatment.
Jessica M. Black
Scientific findings from social sciences, neurobiology, endocrinology, and immunology highlight the adaptive benefits of positive emotion and activity to both mental and physical health. Positive activity, such as engagement with music and exercise, can also contribute to favorable health outcomes. This article reviews scientific evidence of the adaptive benefits of positive emotion and activity throughout the life course, with examples drawn from the fetal environment through late adulthood. Specifically, the text weaves together theory and empirical findings from an interdisciplinary literature to describe how positive emotion and activity help to build important cognitive, social, and physical resources throughout the life course.