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Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide

How do other mental health conditions relate to substance use in adolescents?

Drug use in adolescents frequently overlaps with other mental health problems. For example, a teen with a substance use disorder is more likely to have a mood, anxiety, learning, or behavioral disorder too. Sometimes drugs can make accurately diagnosing these other problems complicated. Adolescents may begin taking drugs to deal with depression or anxiety, for example; on the other hand, frequent drug use may also cause or precipitate those disorders. Adolescents entering drug abuse treatment should be given a comprehensive mental health screening to determine if other disorders are present. Effectively treating a substance use disorder requires addressing drug abuse and other mental health problems simultaneously.

Addiction occurs when repeated use of drugs changes how a person’s brain functions over time.

This page was last updated January 2014

How do other mental health conditions relate to substance use in adolescents?

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