Youth Mental Health MattersWe're for the developing brain -- our world's most valuable natural resource
Simply put, this website offers information about child and adolescent mental health — particularly as it relates to substance use and addiction.
Contributors to DrThurstone.com are big believers in evidence-based medicine that has practical, real-world applications — meaning science that has been subjected to the rigorous review of reputable scholars and can be used at home and throughout a community.
We do not have all the answers — but we are confident the information you find here is trustworthy enough to guide your search for them responsibly.
— Dr. Christian Thurstone, M.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado
Dr. Christian Thurstone is featured in this video produced by Mental Health Colorado, a nonprofit organization advocating for the prevention and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.
I'm humbled by the praise of my physician peers, who named me a Denver "Top Doc" for the eighth consecutive year in in 5280 magazine. To those of you who thought of me and took the time to cast this vote of confidence in my work, thank you so much. I count on many of...
I frequently hear from people around the world who have interesting perspectives about healthcare and are good at sharing what they're seeing and thinking from the trenches. Dr. Kenneth Finn has practiced pain medicine in Colorado Springs, Colo., for nearly 25 years....
What we know for sure is that the United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic that is killing tens of thousands of Americans each year. In 2016, 42,000 Americans died from heroin or opiate overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention....
Marijuana use is up in the last year among American middle-school and high-school students, and legalizing the drug likely would mean many more underage marijuana users, according to Monitoring the Future, one of the United States' largest studies of students' drug...
I am pleased to share this treatment manual, impACT: Motivational Interviewing/Acceptance Commitment Training for Adolescents with Substance Use and Co-occurring Problems. It is yours, free for the download. Though this is a guide for therapists, impACT could help a...
Prevention and Treatment for Families
Help and hope for families wanting to avoid and address problems associated with substance use and addiction.
The most important thing parents can do for their adolescent with a substance problem is to maintain a positive, warm and loving relationship with him or her because this is the most important tool parents have to shape their child's values and future directions. This...
These are common questions: If so many teens are using addictive substances such as alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, what's the big deal? Isn't it normal to experiment like this? After all, teens will be teens -- and a lot of parents had their own flings with smokes...
The May 2017 edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry includes a review of our book, "Clearing the Haze: Helping Families Face Teen Addiction." Dr. Christopher Hammond calls it "parent-friendly" and writes: "Thurstone and Tatum...
Read the book
Clearing the Haze is a guide designed to help parents determine whether their child may have a substance problem and, if so, how to begin to address it. This book includes the voices and insight of experts in substance abuse counseling, young people in recovery, and parents who have lived the nightmare of adolescent addiction.
Download the impACT manual
This is the first adaptation of Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) for adolescent substance treatment. The manual is a general guide for treatment using Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) principles.
Hot Topics, Great Resources
Many parents describe it as “just pot” until they experience firsthand a child addicted to the drug.
Find a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
Remember: Adolescent mental health extends to age 25. A great way to find a physician who understands the unique mental health needs of children and adolescents is searching the online member directory of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.