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6 Signs of Co-Occurring Disorders in Teens

teenage boy seated alone on bench in remote area at sunset with his head bowed exhibiting one of 6 signs of co-occurring disorders in teens

Understanding your teenager’s mental health can feel like a complex puzzle. As parents and caregivers, it’s crucial to be aware of the signs of co-occurring disorders in teens. These are conditions where a teen has more than one mental health disorder or a mental health disorder alongside a substance use disorder (SUD). The intersection of these disorders can amplify the effects, making them harder to manage.

A professional co-occurring disorder treatment program for teens, like that offered at Imagine Boise, can help your child reclaim a healthy, happy life. Call 888.597.2807 to learn more about the signs of co-occurring disorders and how we can help.

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis, involve the simultaneous presence of two or more mental health or substance use disorders in an individual. It is a complex condition that often requires integrated services that treat both disorders simultaneously rather than independently since the disorders can affect each other.

For example, a teenager may suffer from both anxiety and depression (both mental health) or may have an alcohol use disorder and depression (SUD and mental health). The anxiety could worsen the depression, or vice versa, and the same is true with alcoholism and depression. Specialized dual diagnosis treatment is required to address the co-occurring disorders effectively.

How Co-Occurring Disorders Affect Teenagers

For teenagers, co-occurring disorders can significantly impact their daily lives, relationships, and overall well-being. They may struggle with school performance, social interactions, and maintaining healthy habits. Over time, these challenges can lead to more serious issues like chronic health problems, legal troubles, and difficulty transitioning into adulthood.

Recognizing the Signs of Co-Occurring Disorders in Teens

Here are six common signs of co-occurring disorders in teenagers:

  1. Behavioral changes – Sudden changes in behavior, such as increased aggression or withdrawal from social activities, can signal a problem.
  2. Mood swings – Unpredictable mood swings or extreme emotional reactions may indicate an underlying disorder.
  3. Poor academic performance – A sudden drop in grades or loss of interest in school could be a sign.
  4. Substance misuse – Frequent use of alcohol or drugs is often linked with co-occurring disorders.
  5. Physical health issues – Unexplained physical symptoms, like headaches or stomachaches, can be associated with mental health disorders.
  6. Neglect of personal hygiene – Neglecting personal care, like not showering or changing clothes, can be a sign of mental health struggles.

It is important to recognize these signs of co-occurring disorders and not confuse them as typical moody teenage behavior. Seeking professional help early, like that offered by Imagine Boise, can help address any issues before they worsen.

The Importance of Prompt Diagnosis and Treatment

Early intervention is critical in managing co-occurring disorders. Timely treatment can reduce the severity of symptoms, prevent the progression of the disorders, and improve the overall quality of life for your teen.

A variety of evidence-based therapies are used in the treatment of co-occurring disorders. Some of these include the following:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Family therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Trauma therapy

At Imagine Boise, our professional and compassionate team will develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses your teenager’s specific needs and recovery goals.

Contact Imagine Boise Today

If you recognize any of these signs of co-occurring disorders in teens, it’s essential to seek professional help. Imagine Boise offers comprehensive mental health services for teens struggling with co-occurring disorders. Our team uses evidence-based approaches to provide personalized care that addresses mental health and substance use issues.

Call 888.597.2807 or reach out online to learn more about our programs and services. Remember, as a parent, you’re not alone in this journey. You can navigate this challenging time and help your teen thrive with the right support and resources.