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Teen Psychiatric Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Assessment

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

  • Create a customized plan to treat the underlying causes of maladaptive coping strategies like substance use
  • 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 and long-term mental well-being

A thorough psychological evaluation can be integral in the success of treatment. Many folks who struggle with substance use disorders have a co-occuring mental health disorder that contributes to the disease. Our evaluations 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 challenges such as trauma and attachment issues.

Accomplished Psychologists

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.

Determining Cause and Effect for Dual-Diagnoses

There is a stigma in this country when it comes to mental health issues. Because of this stigma, some teens who may be suffering from mental illness will do so in silence to avoid embarrassment or shame, or a perceived loss of affection from those people who mean the most to them. If this happens, they may turn to drugs or alcohol to either “treat” their symptoms or hide from their fear of the repercussions.

It is also possible that tolerance to the drugs the teen is abusing increases and addiction begins to set in. They may begin to experience such effects as:

  • Performance in school may suffer
  • A relationship with their childhood sweetheart suffers
  • The relationships with teachers, coaches, and classmates suffer
  • Your teenager’s relationship with you, their parents, also suffers

Suddenly—or gradually—the teen realizes that they have changed the course of their life and their future doesn’t look so pristine. They might develop major depression because of these changes. On the other hand, one may become so determined to set things right that they begin to panic, causing intense anxiety

So, how can you tell which came first: the addiction or the condition? Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to get to the very bottom of the situation. The good news is that a determination of sequence is not necessary to treat both conditions. In order for treatment to be effective, both conditions must be addressed simultaneously, with evidence-based therapies that can help your child overcome their challenges and return to a path towards success.

How to Find Out if Your Child Suffers From a Co-occurring Disorder

The first response to a concern that your child may be experimenting with drugs or alcohol, or dealing with an issue of addiction that has already manifested in their life, is to perform a drug test either at home or through your primary care physician’s office. If you discover that your fears are true, you might immediately think of rehab. All rehabs are not created equally, however, and it is important to determine the full extent of your teen’s condition before making any decisions. According to the experts, it is crucially important to treat all diagnoses during drug and alcohol treatment. To accomplish this, it is necessary to call upon the experience and skills of a dual-diagnosis treatment center that is well equipped to develop an appropriate and specific treatment plan, especially for your child.

Your physician can help determine whether your child is being exposed to drugs or alcohol. A psychologist can diagnose mental health issues. An experienced treatment center, such as Muir Wood Adolescent and Family Services, can blend the two and treat both the mental health issue and the addiction. We have the compassion and dedication necessary to help your child see their way through to the other side.