Dual diagnosis assessments are a common addiction treatment practice. This method refers to behavioral disorders that influence teen or young adult drug use. You may wonder what these disorders are. More importantly, how do they affect teen substance abuse and addiction potential?

Common Behavioral Disorders

A young woman appears troubled while wondering about her behavioral disordersBehavioral disorders include anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Frequently, counselors encounter these conditions when working with people with an addiction. Many people don’t realize they have a behavioral disorder until undergoing treatment. Unfortunately, few program participants enter addiction treatment with an official diagnosis.

Overall, experts are unsure if mental illness causes addiction or if addiction is caused by mental illness. For many, substance abuse causes cognitive rewiring which is often responsible for addictive behavior. For others, chemical dependency allows mental illness symptoms to surface.

What Causes the Disorders?

Hereditary factors play a prominent role in behavioral disorder development. However, the genetic predisposition to addictive behavior doesn’t mean it always develops. However, the chances are much higher than average. Brain damage, malnutrition, and physical illnesses also contribute to mental illness disorder development.

Sometimes, outside stressors influence mental illness development as well. For example, PTSD, which falls under the anxiety umbrella, involves harrowing memories and flashbacks to certain traumatic events. Often, with frequent exposure to high stress, you may develop this disorder. For example, most people with PTSD are combat veterans or war prisoners.

What Happens If There’s No Treatment?

Behavioral problems open the door to additional fight-or-flight responses. Individuals may act out aggressively or avoid confrontation. They may internalize problems or lash out because they’re irritable. To overcome mental disorder stress, teens or young adults often begin self-medicating.

This can take the form of alcohol abuse. In fact, teens and young adults abusing alcohol frequently suffer from anxiety or depression as well. Alcohol is a depressant, so drinking can be calming and, thus, take the edge off stressors. Of course, in the long run, the drug only makes mental illness symptoms worse.

Since mental disorders and addiction cause cognitive chemical imbalance, it’s possible to suffer from multiple conditions. Unless you receive treatment, substance abuse and behavioral problems get worse. Fast-forward a decade or so, you may see broken marriages, legal trouble, and even more substance abuse. Without an immediate intervention, the problem becomes overwhelming.

Dual Diagnosis Treatments Offer Hope

Addiction treatment programs that include dual diagnoses methods provide the necessary answers. An assessment allows therapists specializing in addiction treatment to test for underlying mental conditions. For many teens and young adults, this is the first time they’ll receive an accurate mental illness diagnosis.

Once therapists understand what they’re dealing with, they incorporate dual diagnosis management to treat addiction and mental illness simultaneously. Examples of additional addiction therapies include:

  • Talk therapy including cognitive behavioral therapy and related treatments
  • Family therapy emphasizes repairing broken relationships
  • Intensive outpatient rehab ensures program participants continue work and school
  • Group therapy allows for the development of accountability in relapse prevention
  • Multisystemic therapy integrates life skills at home and school.

If your teen or young adult is self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, help is always available. At Zelus Recovery in Meridian, Idaho, therapists specialize in treating this specific age group.

Take the necessary steps to transform your life today. Stop hoping for change and take action. Reach out today by dialing 866-365-4436.