For those struggling with co-occurring disorders, receiving a dual diagnosis can be challenging at first. However, there is hope and plenty of help available. With the right dual diagnosis treatment center and guidance, it is possible to live a rewarding life free from the consequences of addiction or the debilitating symptoms of a mental health condition.

Co-occurring disorders and dual-diagnosis cases can be especially stressful and painful for teens. Developing minds can be impacted in the process due to drug use and mental health disorders. However, proper treatment can help a person cope with both their disorders.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis refers to the presence of both a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, and addiction, such as alcoholism or addiction to video games. These two issues often intertwine, with roughly half of all people experiencing addiction also having a mental disorder, and vice versa. As a result, it can be challenging to determine which condition arose first. The term “co-occurring disorder” is also commonly used to describe this situation.

Thankfully, there are many treatment options available for dual diagnosis in teens. However, the wide range of options available can make it confusing to find the right treatment at first. By learning more about co-occurring disorders, and exploring various treatments and resources, you or someone you love can get the help needed to manage a mental health condition, addiction, or both.

Diagnosing Teens with Co-Occurring Disorders

Diagnosing mental health disorders in teens can be a complicated process, as the symptoms of substance use disorder often resemble those of many mental health disorders. Substance use can also make it difficult to identify the underlying mental health condition, as it may mask specific symptoms or worsen others. During addiction treatment, screening and evaluation for various mental health disorders is typically a part of the process. In some cases, a teen may initially receive a diagnosis for one mental health issue, only to later receive a different or additional diagnosis. While at times confusing, this iterative process can ensure that you receive the most effective treatment plan for co-occurring disorders.

Common Disorders That Occur With Substance Abuse

There are several mental health disorders that tend to occur with drug addiction or substance use. These can be particularly problematic and can occur to teens. A few examples of these include:

  • Depression
  • Personality Disorders
  • OCD
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Co-occuring-disorder


When you or your teen receives treatment for co-occurring disorders, the initial step involves detoxification from any substances. Depending on the severity of the addiction, detoxification procedures may be carried out in either a hospital or rehabilitation center under the watchful eye of a medical expert.

As some substances can result in extremely uncomfortable or even life-threatening detoxification symptoms, monitoring is done with utmost care to ensure maximal comfort. Post-detoxification, the exact treatment regimen for mental health conditions outside addiction is highly dependent on the underlying diagnosis. Therefore, it becomes necessary to consider specific treatments that might be applicable to the individual in question.

Along with this, dual diagnosis treatment for teens includes:

  • Evidence-Based Therapeutic Modalities
  • Medication assistance
  • Support toward Lifestyle Changes
  • Alternative Therapies
  • Support Groups
  • Individualized support

When it comes to dual diagnosis therapy, a nuanced approach is required. The identification of underlying mental health issues that correlate with addiction is crucial. It is not uncommon for symptoms of addiction and mental health disorders to overlap, presenting a considerable challenge in the diagnosis and treatment of dual diagnoses. Treating individuals with this complexity calls for a unique and carefully crafted approach. Care providers need to navigate through a complex puzzle and, with precision, determine the best starting point for prompt and effective treatment.


There are several benefits to treating co-occurring disorders in teens. This is because mental health issues and addiction can have a detrimental effect on one another, potentially resulting in a worsening of both conditions. Furthermore, receiving co-occurring disorders treatment can provide additional advantages in improving one’s overall well-being.

Additionally, the benefits of our teen dual diagnosis program include improved mental and physical health, enhanced success in recovery, and a decreased likelihood of relapse. Our comprehensive approach ensures that our clients are provided with all the tools they require to achieve success in their journey to sobriety.

Getting Help at Ridge RTC

If you suspect that you or your adolescent may be experiencing co-occurring disorders, seeking immediate medical attention from a primary care physician is crucial. Our team of dedicated professionals can thoroughly evaluate you for both addictive behaviors and various mental health ailments.

It’s important to keep in mind that, if a person is struggling with addiction, it can be challenging for a specialist to accurately diagnose any mental health conditions they may also be struggling with. If you are concerned that you or your adolescent may be experiencing co-occurring mental health issues or have already obtained a diagnosis from your primary care physician, our team at Ridge RTC is here for you.

Please contact us today to learn more about how we can support you in effectively managing and ultimately overcoming these disorders. Our facility leads the way among dual diagnosis treatment centers in Maine and New Hampshire, offering multiple treatment options, personalized for each individual’s unique needs.

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