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Does My Teen Have a Co-occurring Disorder?

does my teen have a co-occurring disorder

Co-occurring disorders are struggles, both mental health and addiction, that are being faced simultaneously. Are you asking the question, “Does my teen have a co-occurring disorder?” If so, it is likely because you are observing a substance use disorder and fear mental health issues that may be at the root of their dependency on those harmful drugs and alcohol. If your teenager is suffering this way, on multiple fronts, do not hesitate to reach out to our compassionate medical professionals.

Contact us online or call 888.291.2309 today to discuss how the Imagine Fort Collins teen co-occurring disorder treatment can address all of your teen’s battles and help them overcome, recover, and live a happy, healthy life.

What Are The Most Common Co-Occurring Disorders?

According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, almost half of people with a serious mental illness have also engaged in drug or alcohol abuse. In a way, it is easy to understand why.

Living with mental illness can be severe and debilitating. In fact, some people will attempt to mask their intense suffering in any way possible, often with drugs and/or alcohol. Sadly, teens with their mental health are at a higher risk of developing a substance use disorder. In order to get clean, sober, and starting on a path toward a complete recovery, both the teen’s mental health and addiction issues must then be addressed. 

From teen grief and loss, to anger and low self-esteem, there are countless emotions teens experience that have the potential to lead to drug use and addiction. When it comes to answering the question, “Does my teen have a co-occurring disorder?,” it is essential to know what to look for and then address everything through teen co-occurring disorder treatment. For co-occurring disorders in teens, the most commonly diagnosed mental health issues that go hand-in-hand with addiction are:

Anxiety Disorder

A generalized anxiety disorder is the diagnosis often assigned to teens who experience frequent and recurring anxiety, panic attacks, sleep issues, and restlessness. Attempting to live with this level of intense anxiety has the potential to push teens to rely on drugs, alcohol, and prescription medication. They’ll do this as a way of coping with the pain and negative thoughts. All the while, they will continue seeming to function socially at school and with friends.

Eating Disorder

Anorexia and bulimia are common co-occurring disorders found in teens who also require treatment for an addiction. If your teen has an unhealthy relationship with food, body dysmorphic issues, and develops an eating disorder, they may turn to stimulants or diet pills, along with alcohol as a way of suppressing their appetite and increasing their confidence in social situations. You may notice dramatic weight loss or sudden changes in eating habits in your teen. If so, teen co-occurring disorder treatment may be necessary in order to treat all that is ailing your child.


It is usually kids and young adults who receive a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This disorder is identified by impulsive behavior, a lack of focus, as well as hyperactivity. Unfortunately, a co-occurring disorder can emerge when teens begin to abuse their prescription medications. At that point, they may then turn to alcohol or other drugs to self-medicate as a means of minimizing the symptoms and function socially. 

Bipolar disorder

Teens who are suffering with bipolar disorder are particularly susceptible to an addiction to alcohol and drugs. This is because the chemical imbalance in the brain causing uncontrollable episodes of depression. Consequently, this often leads to them self-medicating with substances. Teens will do this in a hopeful attempt to minimize the severity of their mania. Unfortunately, drugs will have the opposite impact, causing an increase in manic episodes and leading to severe addiction.

The teen co-occurring disorder treatment at Imagine Fort Collins is adept at addressing these multiple issues with care and compassion. Moreover, the focus is always on your teen’s long-term recovery.

How Are Co-Occurring Disorders Treated?

The treatment plan for your teen will help with their specific situation and needs. However, there are common methods of treating mental health and addiction concurrently. Our skilled medical team will work to provide you and your teen with a safe and sustainable plan to eliminate alcohol or drug abuse. At the same time, we’re also treating the underlying causes of the addiction. We do this with one or more of the following approaches:

  • Detox
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Intensive outpatient program
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Group therapy
  • Holistic treatments
  • Life skills training
  • Aftercare

Learn More at Imagine Fort Collins

If your teen is suffering from a mental health disorder and an addiction, learn how treating the co-occurring issues together at Imagine Fort Collins can start rebuilding their young, promising life. Contact us using our secure online form or call us confidentially at 888.291.2309 today to get started with our teen co-occurring disorder treatment.