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Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders in Adolescents

When A Teen Suffers From More Than One Disorder

There are times when an adolescent’s illness may be rooted in more than one disorder. These “co-occurring" or "dual" disorders require a special understanding and corresponding treatment. Co-occurrence may be a combination of a variety of disorders. Often—though not always—there may be a combination of addiction and psychiatric disorders present. Whether this happens to be the diagnosis or not in any given patient, it is the appreciation of what that patient’s unique co-occurring disorders are and how they interact that will help drive the best treatment program.


At Silver Hill Hospital we are proud of our special expertise in the treatment of co-occurring disorders. We have 80 years of experience in diagnosing and treating psychiatric disorders and we are one of the nation's best-known addiction treatment centers as well. We have become extremely proficient at identifying the co-occurrence of multiple diagnoses and skilled in treating them simultaneously.


If the diagnosis includes addiction the patient will participate in programs both for the treatment of their addiction (which may include medically managed detoxification) and a program for the treatment of their psychiatric disorder. One of Silver Hill’s strengths is the fact that our psychiatrists are all additionally trained in the treatment of substance use disorders and many of our psychiatrists have addiction specialty boards. Patients with co-occurring disorders that do not include addiction are provided with programs to address their unique co-occurrence requirements.


All treatment is provided by a multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, social workers, nursing staff and a dietician. After admission, each patient meets their team. This includes the patient’s psychiatrist, at morning rounds. Together they will discuss the patient’s goals for treatment and begin to formulate a treatment plan and discharge plan. After that, and with the patient’s permission, the patient’s psychiatrist will call the referring clinician regarding the admission and the social worker will call the patient’s family to arrange a family meeting.


After initial treatment in the Inpatient Unit, which is a short-stay unit, patients may be offered extended treatment in our residential Transitional Living Program or may be discharged home for continued treatment by their referring clinician, often in conjunction with an aftercare outpatient program in the community. Family members are encouraged to participate in our Family Forum.


Inpatient Program

The first step on the path to wellness is usually inpatient treatment in our hospital facilities. This is the opportunity to safely stabilize the patient and allow for a thorough examination by our team of adolescent specialists to understand the patient’s combination of problems and determine the right course of treatment ahead. Our staff treats every patient with dignity and sensitivity while also providing the structure and environment necessary for stabilization.


The typical length of stay is a week to 10 days. After this additional treatment may be considered as needed. 

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Transitional Living Program

Going beyond inpatient stabilization. This is an extended-stay program where adolescents identify and begin to heal their particular combination of emotional, behavioral or addiction problems while living in a comfortable home-like atmosphere on campus.

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"We offer many things at Silver Hill, but the most important thing we offer is the hope for a better life."

- Dr. Ackerman