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7 Common Dual Diagnosis Disorders in Teens

Person pondering dual diagnosis in teens

Adolescents struggling with mental health disorders can have a tough time coping with the added stress caused by their conditions. Dealing with a substance use disorder (SUD) at the same time can be frightening and overwhelming. This situation is called a dual diagnosis, meaning there are co-occurring disorders. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to treat co-occurring conditions without professional help. Recognizing when your teen is struggling with a mental health disorder and a SUD is essential. Managing long-term recovery is possible only with the treatment of both co-occurring disorders simultaneously.

Beginning a treatment program at a mental health treatment facility is the first step toward healing. Our staff at Imagine Fort Collins offers treatment programs for SUDs and other mental health issues, including those for teen dual diagnosis cases, explicitly designed to address the needs of adolescent patients. If you have observed your child using drugs and alcohol and are worried that a mental health condition may be the root cause, do not hesitate to contact our mental health professionals at 888.291.2309. Someone from our team would be more than happy to walk you through how our dual diagnosis treatment for teens can give your child a fresh start.

7 Common Co-Occurring Disorders for Cases of Dual Diagnosis in Teens

If a teen has a SUD and is dually diagnosed with a mental health disorder, the symptoms of each impact the other. Adolescents have the best chance of recovery with the proper treatment of both conditions simultaneously. Seven common mental health conditions can co-occur with SUDs in teens.

1. Depression

Depression in young adults and teens can increase the likelihood of developing SUDs. Adolescents may turn to substance use to get relief from the symptoms of depression. However, long-term drug and alcohol use can negatively affect a teen’s health.

2. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD can cause intrusive memories and flashbacks of a traumatic event. It can also cause reckless behavior, such as addictive substance use.

3. Bipolar Disorder

Those struggling with bipolar disorder experience extreme mood swings. The feeling of being out of control can be stressful for teens, causing them to use drugs and alcohol to regain a sense of control.

4. Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders have been linked to drug and alcohol abuse and an increased likelihood of relapse after treatment. There are several different anxiety disorders, including:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Simple or specific phobias
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Medication-induced anxiety disorder

PSTD was once considered an anxiety disorder but is now part of a new category in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The category that now includes PTSD is called trauma- and stressor-related disorders.

5. Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Managing ADHD can be difficult, especially for teens who do not receive the support necessary to cope with the symptoms of ADHD. This specific disorder is also linked to increased impulsivity, which may cause adolescents to begin taking drugs and alcohol.

6. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Because BPD severely impacts a teen’s ability to regulate their emotions, they may be at an increased risk of developing a SUD due to the heightened emotions that they experience. Teenagers struggling with BPD are also more prone to impulsive actions and unstable relationships. This situation can cause them to use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism regularly.

7. Eating Disorders

Significant health problems are associated with eating disorders. When they co-occur with SUDs, they can be particularly dangerous and challenging to treat. Teenagers may turn to substance use as a means of self-medication or as a way to facilitate their eating disorders. Some adolescents struggling with disordered eating have even been known to refrain from eating to increase or speed up the effects of alcohol.

Get Help for Co-Occurring Disorders at Imagine Fort Collins

The treatment for co-occurring disorders requires an intensive, committed, and compassionate focus on the patient’s mental health. At Imagine Fort Collins, all our mental health professionals are dedicated to delivering the best care possible for your children. If your teen is battling a mental health condition and addiction at the same time, we are ready to help. To learn how our co-occurring disorder treatment program can guide your teen on the journey towards a happier, healthier life, contact us at 888.291.2309.