Home » Blogs » Sext, Text & What's Next: Teens, Young Adults & Technology » Smoke, Vape, Fear, Fate: Why Teens Need More Help than Ever

Smoke, Vape, Fear, Fate: Why Teens Need More Help than Ever

september 11 photoThese days, teens come to therapy before during and after college with concerns that appear more chilling than ever.

On this day, 9/11/19, we think about how the world has changed.  While my husband has been sounding the alarm for several decades about where our country is headed, I have put my head in the sand, preferring to help one kid at a time.  But we must stand together and fight for something bigger than ourselves: hope and the democratic process.  Both of these have been lost on a generation, my kids’ generation, and that makes me mad.  No wonder they are turning to substances in record numbers.

I also believe in the legalization of marijuana.  I didn’t always. But it seems to me in clinical practice over 30 years that alcohol is way more toxic than anything else I have seen.  Obviously for at-risk teens, no substance — including even coffee — is a good substance. Which reminds me, do you have any idea how many of our kids drink upwards of ten plus coffees a day and then wonder why they are anxious and can’t sleep?  If you are a therapist to this population, please ask these questions on intake! You will be amazed at the easy fix that comes from backing off of everyday items like vape, coffee, sugar and green tea!

Here’s what the current thinking is on weed for anxiety and insomnia, two of the biggest roadblocks for young adults:

  • The problem with self-medication is that even though the use of marijuana is becoming more acceptable, not enough is known about the efficacy of the drug for particular medical conditions as well as its long-term consequences.
  • Furthermore, they conclude: Scientists at Washington State University published a study in the Journal of Affective Disorders that found that smoking cannabis can significantly reduce self-reported levels of depression, anxiety, and stress in the short term. However, repeated use doesn’t seem to lead to any long-term reduction of symptoms and in some individuals may increase depression over time.
  • And finally, symptoms of anxiety are treatable. Studies show that psychotherapy and medication are effective for most individuals, whereas the long-term effects of self-medicating with marijuana have yet to be clearly established.

So people, please use caution.  A good therapist, with insight, curiosity, wisdom and patience is a better substitute than a vape pen for the empty feelings of our current post-9/11 lives.

Some of you are too young to remember.

I remember.

I was on maternity leave with my second baby. I watched with my naked eyes the second tower fall, from my small town library up the Hudson, where I happened to stop by after dropping her at daycare.  I remember looking through the long lens of a local photographer who happened to also pass by. We couldn’t believe our eyes. We ran home to the TV. My husband called from his work in midtown. Happened to be an Israeli company. They knew immediately who did it.  My dear friend lost her brother. The shock has never left us. Because the world became a fear-based place.

Together, let’s find some new hope, new leaders, new attitudes, new openness, new support for young people, so we can make this a less anxious world again.   

Smoke, Vape, Fear, Fate: Why Teens Need More Help than Ever

Donna C. Moss

Donna Moss was a blog contributor at Psych Central.

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Moss, D. (2019). Smoke, Vape, Fear, Fate: Why Teens Need More Help than Ever. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Nov 2019
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.