Co-occurring issues refer to a teen or adult struggling with mental health concerns and substance use. Parents should know about recognizing co-occurring issues, staying supportive, and getting a teen the help they need. If you believe your teen is dealing with co-occurring substance use and mental health concerns, Foothills at Red Oak Recovery can help. Contact us at 866.300.5275 for more information about treating co-occurring issues at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery.
What Are Co-Occurring Issues?
Co-occurring issues is an umbrella term that can refer to many different conditions. Fundamentally, it means a teen is struggling with both a mental health condition and substance use. Some of the most common mental health concerns that teens face include:
- Eating disorders
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Bipolar disorder
- Process addictions
Teens dealing with these and similar mental health concerns may use substances to cope. Substance use can refer to full-blown substance use disorder, which involves regular substance use, tolerance, and dependence. Other times, a teen’s substance use may be irregular or sporadic.
Regardless of dependence level, if a teen is using substances while also experiencing mental health concerns, they have some form of co-occurring issues.
How to Recognize a Teen is Dealing with Co-Occurring Issues
It can be challenging for a parent to identify what their teen is struggling with, especially regarding co-occurring disorders. Different mental health concerns and substances manifest differently. Signs that may indicate your teen is struggling with co-occurring issues include:
- Evidence of substance use, such as alcohol bottles, pill bottles, pipes, or syringes
- Altered physical appearance, including weight loss and changes in pupil size
- Changes to sleeping, eating, and free-time habits
- Emotional changes, including withdrawal, isolation, or anger
- Problems at school, such as fights, poor grades, and attendance issues
- Social changes, like new friends or unsafe sexual activity
The specifics of how co-occurring issues manifest will be unique to your teen. However, if you’ve noticed many of these changes, it is time to seek professional help.
How Parents Can Help Address Co-Occurring Issues in Teens
Parental involvement and a stable home life go a long way toward helping a teen struggling with co-occurring issues. For instance, staying involved in your teen’s life and knowing specifics like where they are, who they’re with, and what they’re doing can help. Parents can also help by having clear rules and boundaries. Making sure your teen understands expectations for matters like curfew, communication, and academics can help set them up for success.
Working on communication skills can also go a long way toward helping your teen. Teens are more likely to share their emotions and ask for help if they feel a parent is on their side. Avoid blaming or shaming and work to be an understanding, compassionate presence.
In addition, try to educate yourself on co-occurring issues. Substance use and mental health are matters that require professional treatment. Getting your teen the help they need can make a life-altering difference to their health and well-being. If left untreated, co-occurring issues will continue to worsen and create significant life challenges.
Get Help for Your Teen at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
Foothills at Red Oak Recovery is a leader in mental health and substance use treatment for teen boys. Our programs provide a nurturing, supportive atmosphere in which teens can identify, understand, and overcome co-occurring issues.
Foothills at Red Oak Recovery teaches teens coping and communication skills that help them learn to manage thoughts and emotions healthily. Teens gain confidence and self-awareness through our unique combination of equine, adventure, individual, group, and family therapies.
Teens need their parents to get involved when it comes to co-occurring issues. Getting your teen help now can make a significant difference to their long-term health and happiness. Call 866.300.5275 for more information on the programs for co-occurring issues at Foothills and Red Oak Recovery.