It’s difficult enough if your teen or young adult is struggling with a substance use disorder, but what if they also are struggling with a mental health disorder, like depression or anxiety, at the same time?
Formerly referred to as “dual diagnosis,” someone struggling with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time has a co-occurring disorder. 30% – 45% of adolescents and young adults with mental health disorders have a co-occurring substance use disorder, and 65% or more of youth with substance use disorders also have a mental health disorder. Often, it can be challenging to determine which one came first – a sort of ‘chicken or egg’ situation – and how to treat the symptoms and underlying causes of each.
In collaboration with Child Mind Institute we created Substance Use + Mental Health in Teens & Young Adults: Your Guide to Recognizing & Addressing Co-occurring Disorders. What may be behind a young person’s change in behavior is often hard to pin down, particularly when substance use and mental health are both factors. But understanding how these challenges can manifest in a child’s life, and sometimes entwine to create new problems or complicate treatment, is essential to keeping kids healthy.
When I first realized my daughter was struggling with depression as well as vaping and drinking, I wasn’t sure what to tackle first. After a lot of false starts, I learned that integrated care addressing both her mental health and substance use was needed to help her.
Mother of daughter on a new path to wellness