Adolescence is a time of growth and change. Teens set the foundation for their future lives, define their goals, and form lifelong habits. Unfortunately, many struggle with mental health issues and substance abuse, making it difficult to reach those goals. Access to the premier adolescent co-occurring residential drug treatment center in Ames Iowa could catalyze lasting change and personal wellness.

Teens Suffering from Co-Occurring Disorders Require Comprehensive Care and Compassion. Start Here.

We support youth to overcome their struggles with mental health and substance use disorders. Providing a safe, nurturing environment where they can learn new skills and gain confidence in themselves gives them the best chance at reaching their life goals and becoming happy, successful adults.

What Is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

Co-occurring disorders refer to the presence of both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. These conditions often go hand in hand, with one condition exacerbating the other. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in 2019, 4.2 million teens reported episodes of binge drinking at least once in the past month.[1]

The most common co-occurring disorders include depression and anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These conditions can be challenging to diagnose as their symptoms overlap.

In addition, youth may be hesitant to seek help for their mental health or substance use issues due to the stigma or fear of consequences. This is why it’s crucial for individuals suffering from co-occurring disorders to receive comprehensive treatment that addresses both conditions simultaneously. It’s also recommended to use strategies that provide channels for youth to socialize and foster opportunities to practice healthy coping skills.[2]

Most Common Co-Occurring Disorders Among Teens

By understanding the most prevalent disorders and their causes, we can better equip ourselves to provide the best support and treatment for the youth who need it most.

Mood Disorders

A mood disorder – such as depression – can affect people of all ages. It is characterized by persistent sadness or emptiness, difficulty concentrating, decreased energy levels, and feelings of guilt or worthlessness.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Intrusive thoughts, compulsive behaviors, and anxiety characterize obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). People with OCD often experience recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or unwanted images that cause distress. Common compulsions include excessive handwashing, counting, checking things repeatedly, or organizing items in a certain way.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders can cause various physical and psychological symptoms, including panic attacks, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Stressful life events or environmental factors may trigger anxiety disorders.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) often occurs after someone has personally experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of trauma reminders, and emotional numbing. People with PTSD may also experience anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, and trouble concentrating.

Adolescent Co-Occurring Residential Drug Treatment 

Co-occurring disorder treatment for teens is a specialized form of residential treatment and rehabilitation that aims to help youth struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues. Inpatient treatment provides a safe, home-like environment where they receive support from experienced professionals.

It also allows them access to a supportive community of others going through similar struggles. Teens can focus on building the skills necessary to lead healthier lives by being in an environment free of distractions.

Ember Recovery is committed to holistic healing. We provide evidence-based residential treatment programs for teens that cater to their needs and challenges. Our programs are designed in an atmosphere of recovery and work towards restoring mental health and well-being.

Teen Treatment Programs for Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders are challenging for teens and their families, making inpatient rehab a vital part of the treatment process. It provides a safe, secure environment where youth can get the help they need and focus on their recovery without the distractions of everyday life.

During inpatient rehab, teens receive comprehensive trauma-informed care that includes:

  • A mental health and substance use evaluation
  • Gender-specific and inclusive residential programs for youth
  • Counseling to address the relationship between substance use and mental health conditions
  • Medication management to reduce symptoms
  • Support and education for family
  • Aftercare programs to provide ongoing support after discharge from inpatient care

Evidence-Based Therapy for Teens

Evidence-based therapy is proven effective in helping teens cope with mental health issues. Individual, family, and group therapy can help them develop healthier coping skills and build better relationships. It’s especially beneficial for youth struggling with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, or other mental health issues. By providing evidence-based interventions, therapists can help teens create positive life changes.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps teens identify, challenge, and modify their thoughts and behaviors to improve their mental health. CBT explores the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and offers insight into how teens’ beliefs influence their actions and feelings. Benefits include improved self-awareness, coping skills, emotional regulation, and problem-solving abilities.

STEPPS Therapy

Systems training for emotional predictability and problem-solving (STEPPS) combines cognitive behavioral techniques, psycho-education, and group support to help teens recognize their emotions, identify triggers, and create effective strategies for managing them. The result is improved communication skills, increased self-awareness, better problem-solving abilities, healthier relationships with others, and enhanced emotional regulation.

Trauma Therapy

Trauma therapy helps teens cope with post-traumatic stress and other mood disorders after experiencing sexual or physical abuse, domestic violence, or the loss of a loved one. It’s a short-term, cognitive-behavioral approach to help teens identify and adapt healthier thinking patterns.

Multidimensional Family Therapy

Multidimensional family therapy (MDFT) is an effective program to help adolescents with problematic substance use and behavior. This approach strives to holistically enhance communication, deepen relationships, and improve each individual’s life circumstances while considering parents, family, and community dynamics. Teens, their parents, and families can benefit from individual or group therapy sessions.

FAQs About Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

Why is it important to treat co-occurring disorders together?

Co-occurring disorders treatment is essential for long-term recovery. By treating both addictive behaviors and underlying mental health concerns at the same time, teens get better outcomes in their recovery journey.

What is the most effective approach for the treatment of co-occurring disorders?

Each condition receives intervention simultaneously by incorporating behavioral therapy, medication, and community support. This helps teens cope with addiction and manage the mental health condition that may contribute to it.

What is a common cause of mental illness in youth?

Physical, emotional, and social changes – exposure to poverty, abuse, or violence – are common causes of teen mental illness.[3]

Is Your Teen Struggling with Mental Health Challenges and Substance Use? Our Adolescent Co-Occurring Residential Drug Treatment Center Can Help.

Is your teen struggling with mental health challenges and substance use? At Ember Recovery, we are here to serve you and your family. Help is just a call away.