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How Do I Know If My Teen Has Dual Diagnosis?

September 9, 2014

How Do I Know If My Teen Has Dual-Diagnosis


Dual diagnosis, well, what is it exactly? Dual diagnosis, most commonly referred to as a co-occurring disorder, is when a person has a substance use disorder and a mental illness occurring at the same time. Some common co-occurring disorders among teens include:

  • Anxiety/mood disorders
  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 

Teens with co-occurring disorders are so common that approximately 50 percent of all people with co-occurring disorders receive diagnoses by age 14. Many teens who struggle with a mood or anxiety disorder are often twice as likely to suffer from a substance use disorder.

So What Are the Signs?

Since teens are still developing, adolescence is a vulnerable time. If your teen already struggles with a mental health disorder, stress from school, family and work could cause them to abuse drugs or drink alcohol as a way to cope. 

Your teen may have dual diagnosis, if you have noticed some of the following behavioral, psychological and physical changes:


  • Violent behavior
  • Aggression
  • Risky sexual behavior
  • Moodiness/irritability 
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depression 
  • Suicidal thoughts


  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Red/glazed eyes from getting high
  • Hangovers from alcohol abuse
  • Injuries from drug use
  • Developing or serious medical problems

If dual diagnosis goes untreated or is mistreated, symptoms can worsen over time and cause your teen to sink further and further into their illness and substance abuse, which could lead to addiction.  

The most effective way to treat co-occurring disorders is early on and at the same time.  

With a combination of therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectal behavioral therapy, Teen Treatment Center provides effective dual diagnosis treatment.  

If you think your teen has dual diagnosis, then reach out for help today and call us at (844) 319-5239.. We are available 24/7 and we will gladly answer any questions you may have.

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