Little Creek Behavioral Health offers comprehensive co-occurring substance abuse treatment for children and adolescents ages 12-18. Features of care at our co-occurring substance abuse treatment center in Conway, Arkansas, include personalized residential programming and specialized services for young people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Understanding Co-Occurring Addiction
Learn about mental health concerns and co-occurring addiction among children and adolescents
Many young people who are experiencing a mental health concern also struggle with addiction. In clinical terms, this additional substance use disorder is known as a co-occurring disorder.
The following are common co-occurring addictions that we treat among children and adolescents who have a primary diagnosis of a mental or behavioral health disorder:
- Alcohol use disorder
- Cannabis use disorder
- Cocaine use disorder
- Methamphetamine use disorder
- Heroin use disorder
- Opioid use disorder
- Stimulant use disorder
- Tobacco use disorder
In certain cases, the anguish of a mental health challenge may push a young person into substance use, while in others, the pain of addiction can spur the onset of a mental health concern. At Little Creek Behavioral Health, we treat children and adolescents who have a primary diagnosis of a mental health challenge who may also be suffering from co-occurring addiction. The following are among the more common mental health disorders that we treat at our facility in Conway, Arkansas:
- Depressive disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Conduct disorder
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list of the conditions we treat as a primary diagnosis. All admissions decisions at Little Creek Behavioral Health are made on a case-by-case basis based on what’s in the best interest of each child or adolescent after a thorough examination of their background, needs, and goals.
Statistics about mental health concerns and co-occurring addiction among children and adolescents
The following statistics about addiction among children and adolescents come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):
- Among 12th–graders, nearly two in 10 reported using prescription medication without a prescription.
- Approximately 13% of high school students reported that they had four or more drinks in a row (if they were female) or five or more drinks in a row (if they were male) within a few hours at least once within the past 30 days.
- In 2015-16, 3% of adolescents ages 12-17 reported that they needed but did not receive treatment for illicit drug use.
- For those who start drinking by age 14, 15.2% will become addicted to alcohol, compared to just 2.1% who wait until they are 21 or older.
- Among adolescents in treatment, more received professional help for cannabis use (65.5%) than alcohol use (42.9%) in 2011.
Causes & Risk Factors
Possible causes of co-occurring addiction among children and adolescents
A child’s or adolescent’s risk for developing co-occurring addiction can be influenced by several genetic and environmental factors. The following are among the more common:
- Early aggressive behavior
- Abuse and neglect as a child
- Family history of substance use
- Lack of parental supervision
- Drug availability among peers
Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms of co-occurring addiction among children and adolescents
The signs and symptoms of a young person who has a co-occurring addiction may vary, but, generally speaking, they may display the following:
- Loss of interest in activities once considered important
- Academic struggles
- Stealing or selling belongings
- Shifts in peer groups
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Shakiness or generally seeming unsteady
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
- Anxiety or depression
- Mood swings
- Impaired judgment
Potential effects of co-occurring addiction among children and adolescents
No matter how minor a co-occurring addiction may seem, if left untreated, it has the potential to have seriously negative ramifications for a child or adolescent who is already struggling with a mental health concern. Impaired mental processes, physical symptoms, and behavioral changes resulting from addiction can lead to catastrophic effects, such as:
- Academic struggles or risk of dropout/expulsion
- Damaged relationships with friends and family
- Increased risk of physical violence
- Unplanned pregnancies
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Trouble with law enforcement that leads to incarceration
Mental health concerns among children and adolescents that are often accompanied by co-occurring addiction
Many children and adolescents who develop mental health concerns also struggle with addiction. The following are among the many mental health disorders that can increase a young person’s risk for co-occurring addiction:
- Bipolar disorder
These are just some examples of behavioral health concerns that can co-occur in young people who are battling addiction. At Little Creek Behavioral Health, we treat these mental health disorders and others as a primary diagnosis along with co-occurring addiction.
Why Seek Treatment
How Little Creek Behavioral Health in Conway, AR, can help children and adolescents who are struggling with mental health concerns and co-occurring addiction
At Little Creek Behavioral Health, we understand how challenging it can be to choose care for a child or adolescent who is struggling with a mental health concern and co-occurring addiction. That’s why we take into account each young person’s unique needs, recovery goals, and medical history to formulate a treatment plan that sets them up for the best outcomes and a more successful future.
With educational services to keep children and adolescents up to speed academically, extended length-of-stay options, and a specialty track designed for young patients who are hard of hearing, our facility offers evidence-based practices to help any child experience continued success long after their time with us is over.