Our teen dual diagnosis treatment program in Pennsylvania addresses addiction in teens when it co-occurs with mental health conditions. This coordinated approach to addiction treatment for young people who also have an underlying mental health issue is the best and most effective way to help teens find lasting recovery and wellness.
Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC) is just the right place to seek help if you suspect that your teen is dealing with co-occurring disorders. We treat teens over the ages of 18, and while we do not treat mental health conditions alone, we do provide treatment when addiction is the primary diagnosis. Call us at 844.442.8673 or reach out using our online form to find out more and how we can help.
5 Signs that Teens May Struggle with Co-occurring Disorders
How do we know that someone is struggling with substance abuse and a challenging mental health concern that may not have been diagnosed? It is not uncommon for substance use to mask mental health challenges, in large part because drinking or drug use are often forms of self-medication undertaken because of frightening, painful, or confusing mental health symptoms.
Symptoms of a mental health disorder depend on what the illness is. Thus, there is no one way a teenager abusing substances and suffering from mental health issues will present. However, some signs may alert you to take a closer look and seek a professional diagnosis from someone with expertise in dual diagnoses.
If your teen rarely shows up the same way twice due to swings in mood, behavior, and attention, it may reflect drug or alcohol use that masks symptoms of a mental disorder. In some cases, the person is experiencing anxiety, depression, hyper-vigilance, dramatic mood swings, paranoia. Then, they suddenly shift to a calm, even lethargic, or uncharacteristically easy-going demeanor. This shift may indicate your teen is self-medicating.
2. Extreme Challenges with Daily Functioning
An underlying mental illness only exacerbates the roller-coaster ride that is addiction. Addiction alone is capable of banishing all thoughts except for where and when the next high will come. Sometimes, all-consuming thought co-exists with the struggle to cope with mental symptoms, from suicidal ideation to out-of-control mood swings or hallucinations. As a result, getting to school, cooperating with family, and even simple communication becomes nearly impossible.
3. Lack of Trustworthiness
Someone in the throes of mental health issues who is also abusing drugs or alcohol will circumvent all moral constructs to avoid detection, escape consequences, and secure a drug supply. If your teen has seemingly lost all sight of once-embraced principles of honesty and reliability, take note of what that change may indicate.
4. Emotional and Physical Loss of Control
If life with your teen has become a minefield where eruptions are constant and seemingly causeless, there is probably a cause. More than a typical adolescent angry or frustrated outburst, the emotional disfunction of an addicted teen who is struggling with severe mental health challenges can be overwhelming and even dangerous.
5. Risky and Self-Destructive Behavior
This behavior can include a total loss of control over how much the teen uses drugs or alcohol. Overdose or alcohol poisoning is a danger. Loss of perspective or failure to be grounded in reality caused by co-occurring disorders can lead to highly risky behaviors. The individual has no “normal” concept of possible outcomes.
Discover Teen Dual Diagnosis Treatment at PAATC
People with untreated mood disorders, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, among others, are at a high risk of abusing addictive substances. For example, those who suffer from anxiety are two times more at risk of addiction than the general population. Unfortunately, fewer than 10% of people addicted to drugs or alcohol with an underlying mental health condition receive treatment for both conditions. More than 50% go completely untreated for either condition. Treatment of both co-occurring disorders is critical for a full recovery. That is why PAATC is here.
We offer a coordinated therapeutic approach to those with a dual diagnosis. Our treatment options include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Family therapy
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
The recovery outcomes are far better with this kind of two-pronged treatment. Reach out today to find a caring staff member who will hear your concerns and point you in the right direction for helping your teen take the first steps to wellness and recovery. Use our simple online form or call us at 844.442.8673.