treating teenagers with dual diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis

Helping Teens Overcome Substance Abuse & Mental Health Disorders

Effective Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Teens

October 22, 2015

Professionals at the Elk River Treatment Program offers the best dual diagnosis treatment for young adults and adolescents by using an integrated approach where both the substance abuse problem and the mental health disorder are treated simultaneously by the same treatment team.

Elk River’s Dual Diagnosis Treatment Team includes, but is not limited to:

  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
  • Licensed Psychologist
  • Licensed Social Worker who specializes in RAD, Trauma, PTSD, Neurofeedback and Biofeedback Therapies
  • Licensed Professional Counselors and Supervisors
  • Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor
  • Medical Physicians
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Registered Nurses
  • Highly Qualified and Certified Educators

Since Elk River treats boys and girls in grades 6 through 12, the education needs of every resident are also addressed. The academic curriculum at ERTP is accredited by the largest community of education professionals in the world, AdvancED. AdvancED was created through a 2006 merger of the PreK-12 divisions of the North Central Association (NCA) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)—and expanded through the addition of the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) in 2011.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

It is difficult to find expert dual diagnosis treatment for a child that is struggling with substance abuse and mental health problems. Many programs claim to provide dual diagnosis treatment, but it’s best to investigate staff credentials and program licensing before investing in any treatment program. Elk River is state licensed and nationally accredited in behavioral health care by The Joint Commission.

Dealing with your child’s dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse is heartbreaking, exhausting and sometimes isolating. Counselors at ERTP encourage parents to seek therapeutic and emotional support at home while their child is in treatment. It is mandatory for parents to participate in Family Therapy while their child is in treatment at Elk River. If a Family Therapist is not available in your area, seek individual therapy and/or a structured support group.

Boundaries & Logical Consequences

At Elk River, discharge planning begins at admission. With that in mind, counselors encourage parents to work on a set of realistic boundaries for their child when he or she returns home. Staying within those boundaries is crucial to a continued recovery of the family. Parents should also set logical consequences for crossing boundaries. Again, it is imperative to stay consistent. For example, if a child is required to launder his/her own clothes and chooses otherwise, parents should not step in and wash clothes.

Disruptive behavior should not be tolerated, however, a child should feel safe to communicate how they feel. Even if parents disagree with the child’s interpretation of a situation, it is how they feel. So validating feelings is very important. Elk River uses group therapy on a daily basis to teach residents how to communication appropriately and effectively within a group. When the child returns home, the family is his or her group on a daily basis. Counselors work to educate parents on how to effectively listen to their children and among the recommended reading is “How to Talk so Kids will Listen and How to Listen so Kids will Talk,” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

Managing Dual Diagnosis

Parents are encouraged to be patient while their child recovers and learns to manage their dual diagnosis. The situation didn’t happen overnight and neither will recovery. It’s almost always a life-long treatment process for the entire family. Continued education is vital to success. The more you learn about your child’s illness or issue, the more you’ll understand the family’s need for continued support. Resources like are invaluable.

For more information about Elk River Treatment Program contact our admissions office: 866-906-TEEN (8336) or [email protected].