Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment for Adolescents in New Jersey

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment for Adolescents in New Jersey

While many people do not seek help for mental health and addiction until they are adults, these types of issues often begin in adolescence. Young people begin to experience mental health symptoms and start using drugs or alcohol to cope, which can have substantial effects on their mental health and cognitive development. If your child suffers from both a mental health condition and an addiction, they have co-occurring disorders.

According to Youth.Gov, “Estimated rates of co-occurring mental illness among adolescents with substance use disorders range from 60 to 75 percent.”[1]

When your child has co-occurring disorders, they must receive treatment for their substance use disorders and mental health conditions at the same time. Doing so will lessen their chances of relapsing on drugs and alcohol and improve the overall quality of their lives. But how does co-occurring disorder treatment for adolescents in New Jersey work?

Dual diagnosis programs integrate addiction treatment with mental health recovery services. This means your child will engage in traditional substance abuse recovery methods like medical detox and behavioral therapy while they receive counseling and medication for their mental illness.

During this article, you will learn:

  • How co-occurring disorder treatment works for youth in New Jersey
  • What to expect during each facet of dual diagnosis treatment
  • Where to find co-occurring disorder treatment for adolescents in New Jersey

How Does Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders in Adolescents Work?

Co-occurring disorder treatment for adolescents uses many of the same services as adult programs do. Teens will receive integrated substance abuse and mental health care. For example, they may participate in medical detox, behavioral therapy, medication management, and more. 

The main difference is that the language and therapy modalities are designed for younger people. Additionally, adolescent co-occurring disorder treatment focuses heavily on family involvement, as their long-term recovery depends on their parents or guardians knowing how to support them.[2] 

Co-occurring mental health and addiction treatment for youth in New Jersey consists of:

Medical Detox 

The first step in recovery from co-occurring disorders is medical detox. Before your child can focus on therapy and recovery, they will have to overcome withdrawal from alcohol and drugs. To make the withdrawal process as safe and comfortable as possible, your child may be given medications to lessen their symptoms and maintain their physical health. 

Dual Diagnosis Assessment 

Once medical detox is completed, teens are assessed for mental health issues. They will be asked questions about which mental health symptoms they may be suffering from. Once the entire assessment is completed, they will be given a diagnosis that influences the types of treatments, therapies, and medications they are provided. 

Common diagnoses for adolescents in co-occurring disorder treatment include:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Anxiety conditions like social anxiety or panic disorder
  • Mood disorders like bipolar disorder 
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Conduct disorders 

Individualized Therapy and Group Counseling 

Once your child is given a diagnosis and the assessment is complete, they will begin therapy for both their addiction and mental health condition. 

For addiction, individual therapy mainly focuses on uncovering the root causes and risk factors that lead to substance abuse as well as the development of healthy coping skills

In terms of mental health, individual therapy will be personalized based on the type of disorder your child experiences. If they have a condition like PTSD, therapy will focus on working through past traumas to lessen symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used to help adolescents recover from a wide range of mental illnesses.[3]

Group counseling is used to help young adults connect with others, develop communication skills, and learn new coping mechanisms that work for their peers. This recovery technique is effective for both addiction and mental health conditions. Your child might be placed in specialized counseling groups depending on the mental illness they suffer from. 

Medication Management 

Oftentimes, mental health conditions are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. For example, bipolar disorder causes changes in brain chemistry that lead to episodes of mania or depression. 

Medications like antipsychotics or mood stabilizers can help manage these chemical changes long-term. 

If your child deals with anxiety or depression, medication might be used short-term to help them gain stability while they undergo therapy. Once healthy coping mechanisms and emotional regulation are learned, they might be able to stop medication use altogether. 

Family Involvement 

Lastly, family involvement is an integral aspect of co-occurring disorder treatment for kids and teens. Because care will fall to the parents or guardians once treatment is completed, the adults in your child’s life must be involved in their recovery. 

Family involvement might include:

  • Participating in educational groups about addiction and mental health
  • Attending individual counseling and family therapy
  • Learning how to manage your child’s medication
  • Encouraging healthy involvement and structure 
  • Joining family support groups 
  • Knowing the signs of relapse and being prepared 

Find Help for Co-Occurring Disorders Among Youth in New Jersey

If your child suffers from co-occurring disorders, it’s time to seek help. The Living Room is here to help your child begin their journey of recovery from addiction and mental illness. We are dedicated to empowering teens on their journey to recovery. If you’re seeking intensive support for your teenager while allowing them to continue their education and personal growth, our program provides the specialized care they need.

Contact us today to learn more about co-occurring disorder treatment for adolescents in New Jersey. 


  1. Youth.Gov: Co-Occurring Disorders
  2. National Institutes of Health (NIH): Family Involvement in Treatment and Recovery for Substance Use Disorders among Transition-Age Youth: Research Bedrocks and Opportunities
  3. National Institutes of Health (NIH): Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Children and Adolescents: Challenges and Gaps in Practice

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