If your teen is struggling with a psychiatric disorder along with substance abuse — a condition known as a dual diagnosis — integrated care is crucial to his success. At one time, the fields of substance abuse treatment and adolescent mental health were kept separate. Teens who had problems with drugs or alcohol had to go through treatment for their addiction before getting treatment for depression, bipolar disorder or a personality disorder. In many cases, teenagers who went through rehab received no treatment for their co-occurring mental illness; in fact, a significant percentage weren’t even accurately diagnosed.
Integrated care began as a reaction to the need for more effective, compassionate treatment for people with a dual diagnosis. At an integrated rehab program, treatment for substance abuse is blended with treatment for mental illness, reducing the risk of relapse and increasing patients’ chances of success.
The Importance of Integrated Rehab
Co-occurring disorders are more common than you may realize. The Partnership at Drugfree.org notes that while the rate of substance abuse among the general population is just over 16 percent, the rate of drug or alcohol addiction among people with a psychiatric diagnosis is much higher:
- 47 percent of people with schizophrenia also have a substance use disorder
- 32 percent of those with a mood disorder also abuse drugs or alcohol
- 32 percent of those with obsessive-compulsive disorder have an addictive disorder
- 23 percent of those who suffer from an anxiety disorder abuse alcohol or drugs
Integrated care addresses not just a teen’s substance abuse, but the mental illness that co-exists with addiction. In response to the need for integrated care, a credential was developed for mental health professionals who also specialize in addiction care. A Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional (CCDP) has received advanced training in both therapeutic counseling and addiction treatment.
Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment
In the past, teenagers with a dual diagnosis had to see two sets of therapists to get treatment for both conditions. This resulted in mixed messages, missed communications and inconsistent therapy. According to Schizophrenia Bulletin, an integrated care system brings resources and personnel together in one facility, so the client and his family get consistent, comprehensive treatment. The key features of an integrated program include:
- Cross-trained staff. Psychologists, therapists, counselors, and social workers have training and credentials in both adolescent addiction treatment and adolescent mental health.
- A single location. Teens in integrated rehab programs receive care for substance use disorders and mental health issues in the same facility rather than going back and forth between different clinics or treatment centers.
- Customized treatment plans. Substance abuse treatment must be tailored to the needs of a teen with a dual diagnosis in order for rehab to be effective. Teens with depression, anxiety or personality disorders may need more time and more individualized attention to succeed at recovery.
- Dedicated support groups. Peer support is a vital component of any drug rehabilitation program. As part of an integrated treatment plan, teens can attend support groups that are dedicated to dual diagnosis treatment. Twelve-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous offer dual diagnosis meetings, in which members can share their experiences in coping with both addiction and mental illness.
Teenagers who live with intense mood swings, depression, overwhelming fear, or compulsive behavior need help from supportive, compassionate professionals. Mental illness can cause problems with motivation, concentration and social development. The counselors and therapists who work with adolescent boys at Muir Wood are committed to giving these teens the very best chance at developing stable, satisfying lives as adults.
Finding an Integrated Treatment Program
In spite of the prevalence of co-occurring disorders among adolescents, there are few quality rehab programs in the US that offer specialized, integrated care for teens. Finding the right program for your son may require some research. As you compare addiction treatment facilities, ask the intake counselors these questions:
- Does the facility’s treatment philosophy include integrated care for teens with co-occurring disorders?
- Is the program tailored to the psychological, emotional and physical needs of teens?
- Does the center offer a complete psychiatric evaluation and neuropsychological testing for its clients?
- Are therapists and counselors specially trained in psychiatric treatment as well as addiction care?
- Does the facility offer a full range of activities and experiential therapies to address all of a teenager’s needs?
Muir Wood is a gender-specific treatment center dedicated exclusively to the needs of boys between the ages of 12 and 17. We emphasize integrated care, neuropsychological testing and family counseling to help our young clients succeed at the recovery process. If you’re faced with the difficult task of finding the best integrated treatment program for your son, call our central intake number at any time. We’re here to help you and your teen build a bright, positive future.