Team discusses treatment options

Diagnosis & Assessment

Among teenagers, drug and alcohol abuse is very often a symptom of an underlying mental health disorder, behavioral disorder, or learning disability, often referred to as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. Teens struggling with these underreported (and often undiagnosed) issues frequently turn to drugs and alcohol to seek relief from feelings of poor self-esteem, worthlessness, frustration, fear, and sadness.

During treatment at Muir Wood, teens may receive comprehensive neuropsychological, cognitive, and personality testing, along with medical, psychiatric and clinical evaluations. As experts in treating dual diagnosis disorders, we use this psychological testing to:

  • Create a customized plan to treat the underlying cause of maladaptive coping strategies like substance abuse
  • Develop a strategy for medication (if necessary) based on empirical evidence, and make adjustments when necessary
  • Identify and work on interpersonal issues that might disrupt an ability to maintain sobriety

A thorough psychological test can be integral in the success of treatment. It can yield key findings such as the severity of depression or anxiety, the presence of a learning disability, academic strengths or weaknesses, causes of emotional difficulties, positive and negative coping strategies, reasons for aggression, and insight into issues such as trauma and attachment issues.

Testing is conducted by our accomplished psychologists, who use neuropsychological tests and clinical interviews designed to identify and describe the emotional, behavioral and learning problems teens may be experiencing. This valuable information is used to customize a teen’s treatment plan based on the diagnosis. It’s fully integrated into daily treatment, providing teens with the tools necessary to make real progress and sustained healing.