Teen & Adolescent Mental Health Treatment in Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Rehab

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Teen and adolescent treatment for substance use disorders at Guardian Recovery is designed to address co-occurring mental health issues. Our programs provide an integrated approach comprising various therapeutic services, including evidence-based therapies, group support, family counseling, and recreational activities. These strategies are intended to promote long-term sobriety and mental wellness for teens struggling with substance use and mental health conditions.

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Addressing Mental Health in Holistic Adolescent Addiction Treatment

Our holistic treatment model for teens takes into account mental health conditions and substance use and recognizes that each disorder can contribute to a worsening of the other. Consequently, failure to treat one disorder can result in the re-emergence of the condition that was already treated.  By treating a teen holistically and effectively addressing all underlying factors, this approach provides them with a comprehensive and strategic plan for overall recovery and wellness. For most, this includes combining various therapeutic techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, trauma-informed care, peer support, and experiential activities.

Dual Diagnosis & Assessing Mental Health Disorders

Treatment for dual diagnoses (co-occurring disorders) recognizes the close association between mental health and substance use. By addressing both issues concurrently, these programs provide a multifaceted approach to treatment to ensure teens are given the tools they need to maintain long-lasting sobriety. Our dual diagnosis programs begin with a thorough assessment intended to properly diagnose and address the specific mental health issues and severity of substance use experienced by your teen. This information will help personalize their treatment plan, considering their individual needs and challenges—thereby improving the chances of a successful recovery.

The Link Between Co-Occurring Disorders & Teen Substance Use

Many teens turn to the use of alcohol or drugs as a means of self-medication to cope with underlying mental and emotional issues. It’s essential to address both simultaneously to promote a successful treatment outcome and prevent relapse. Because substance use and mental health challenges tend to perpetuate a vicious cycle in which each problem fuels the other, failure to effectively treat both problems may be more likely to lead to relapse.

How Common Are Co-Occurring Disorders Among Teens?

Research has found a significant link between mental health disorders and substance use among teens. An analysis of data gathered from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) revealed several statistics related to this topic. (1) U.S. Teen Statistics Include:
  • Nearly 11% of adolescents had a 12-month prevalence rate of having mental health issues only.
  • More than 5% reported only alcohol or drug use or dependence.
  • Approximately 2.7% had co-occurring issues.
  • Past-month behavioral health treatment among youth was 15%.
  • An estimated 22% of adolescents in the United States have a mental health disorder.
  • In a nationally representative sample, 4.6% of adolescents met the criteria for SUD.
  • Based on regional studies, between 13% and 32% of adolescents are estimated to have a mental health condition.
  • Between 9% and 13% of adolescents have a severe emotional disturbance.
  • Rates of co-occurring mental health disorders among adolescents with SUDs range widely from 50% to 71%.

The Impact of Co-Occurring Disorders on Treatment Outcomes

The treatment outcomes of adolescents with a co-occurring mental health condition and a substance use disorder is significantly impacted. Those who struggle with both of these issues may experience more intense symptoms and tend to have higher rates of relapse and difficulty sustaining long-term recovery. Moreover, co-occurring disorders can complicate the treatment process by making it more challenging to correctly diagnose and address both simultaneously. As such, a well-informed understanding of these disorders is imperative to developing a personalized treatment plan that addresses both of them effectively.

Mental Health Disorders Treated During Substance Use Treatment

A wide range of mental health conditions can be addressed while teens are receiving treatment for substance use. (2) While there is virtually no limit to the psychological issues that can be treated, there are several found more commonly among teens and adults alike that require management. Common Mental Health Disorders We Treat for Teens Include:
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety and panic attacks
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Eating disorders

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Effective Strategies & Therapies for Treating Teen Mental Health Disorders

Evidence-based therapies and approaches most commonly used to address mental health issues in teens align closely with those used to treat substance misuse. As a result, many of these strategies are used for dual diagnosis treatment, making the overall recovery process more efficient and effective.

Therapeutic Approaches We Offer Include: 

  • Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Family therapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment, if needed
  • Techniques like mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises
  • Exercise and physical activity, such as yoga
  • Proper nutrition and sleep hygiene
  • Peer support groups
  • Art, music, and other expressive therapies
  • School-based interventions and academic programs
  • Aftercare planning
  • Sober living options

The Benefits of Mental Health Treatment for Your Child’s Treatment Journey

Mental health treatment for teens offers many benefits and provides a supportive environment that allows them to explore their thoughts and feelings, increase self-awareness, and strengthen resilience. (#) 

Some Specific Treatment Benefits for Your Teen Include:

  • Symptom relief and management using effective strategies.
  • Improved coping skills, stress management, and quality of life.
  • Strengthened relationships with loved ones due to improved communication skills and emotional regulation.
  • Increased self-awareness, personal growth, and understanding of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • Reduced severity and duration of disorders due to early intervention and treatment.
  • Greater ability to handle challenges and prevent crises.
  • Increased resilience and ability to overcome setbacks and adversity.
  • Improved confidence and self-esteem. 
  • Empowerment by taking an active role in treatment and managing mental health.
  • Learned skills and strategies that can have lasting effects into adulthood.

Frequently Asked Questions

To learn more, you are encouraged to read our FAQs and contact us if you have further questions. 

How Do I Know if My Child Has a Mental Health Condition?

It can be challenging to determine if your teen has a mental health disorder, as signs and symptoms vary greatly. However, you are advised to look for behavioral changes, mood swings, withdrawal from people and activities, and persistent feelings of depression or anxiety. If you believe your teen is struggling with substance use, you are urged to consult with a healthcare professional or treatment center who can provide a clinical assessment and diagnosis.

Would Mental Health Therapy Help My Child Quit Substance Use?

Mental health treatment can provide your teen with the necessary tools and strategies they require to effectively address underlying issues that may be linked to their substance use. Therapy can help them find more effective ways of managing stress and emotions, reducing the chances of relapse due to the need to self-medicate.

Will Mental Health Treatment Help With My Child’s Behavior?

Mental health treatment can aid in improving your teen’s behavioral issues by helping them address psychological issues that may be adversely affecting their behavior. It can also help them develop better coping skills and provide a supportive environment where they can learn more effective communication skills, problem-solving techniques, and the empowerment and motivation they need to make positive changes in their life.

How Can Our Family Assist With Mental Health Treatment?

You and your family can help with your teen’s treatment by providing emotional support and understanding throughout their recovery. This includes actively listening to their concerns and acknowledging their feelings are valid. Family therapy sessions can also help everyone involved learn healthier ways of communicating and how they may become advocates for their recovery instead of enablers for their mental health and substance use issues.

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Contact Us Today To Get Help for Your Teen

If you are concerned about your teen’s mental health, you are encouraged to contact Guardian Recovery today. Our highly trained and experienced team of behavioral specialists is dedicated to providing holistic treatment and support for adolescents facing various mental health conditions and substance use disorders.

To speak to a treatment advisor and receive a free, no-obligation assessment and health benefits check, call us today to begin the journey to your teen’s long-term recovery and wellness.


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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

(3) https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/mental-health/index.htm

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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