Therapy session with adolescent boy

Psychiatry & Medication Management

Many people with substance use disorder (SUD) have co-occurring mental health issues. Frequently, those mental health problems are significant drivers of substance misuse, as the affected person seeks relief from anxiety, depression, or trauma.

The presence of co-occurring disorders is also referred to as dual diagnosis. Mental illnesses that frequently coincide with substance use disorder include schizophrenia, antisocial personality disorder, panic disorder, anxiety, various phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and bipolar disorder. 

Many of these conditions need to be treated with prescription medications. Common medications for such cases include antipsychotics, which are used to treat schizophrenia, antidepressants, used to treat depression or bipolar disorder, and alcohol use disorder medications. People with addiction and mental health issues should seek dual diagnosis treatment.

Although people with mental health issues often use psychoactive substances to seek relief, misusing drugs or alcohol can make an underlying mental illness actually worse. In the case of dual diagnosis, both conditions need to be treated effectively which may require the continued prescription of psychiatric medications. 

Muir Wood has experienced medical doctors on staff who can help teenage teens with their substance use issues and address any co-occurring mental issue at the same time. Our team of medical professionals includes Dr. David Smith, a recognized national leader in addiction medicine, and a team of psychiatrists including Nicholas Reeves, MD. 

Dr. Reeves is an expert psychopharmacologist—the person other psychiatrists turn to for psychopharmacology advice. While Reeves is an advanced psychopharmacologist, he also believes in utilizing medications only when necessary and always monitors individual cases to determine whether a medication needs to be continued or can be stopped. He is highly skilled in selecting medications with a minimum of long-term side effects.

Dr. Reeves is also careful in prescribing medications only after careful evaluation and consideration. At Muir Wood, we are concerned about the overreliance on medications, especially with teens, to treat mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Medications can be a valuable tool, but inappropriate prescribing can cause harm. Most teens who enter Muir Wood on medications typically discharge on fewer medications or no medications at all. Our goal is to utilize cognitive behavioral therapy, family-based therapy, and other evidence-based treatments in lieu of medications when indicated.