Treating Concurrent Substance Use and Mental Disorders in Children and YouthNovember 11, 2007
Substance use disorders (SUDs) are conditions involving a maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to adverse consequences. Children and youth with SUDs also frequently display mental disorders.
Mental disorders are significant disturbances in behaviours, mood or thought processes which are associated with distress and impairment. The term concurrent disorder identifies individuals diagnosed with an SUD along with a coexisting mental disorder. Mental health problems such as conduct, anxiety and depressive disorders are particularly common and frequently co-occur with SUDs. Poorer treatment compliance and worse short- and long-term outcomes are associated with concurrent disorders. Both prevention and treatment are important elements for a public policy response to concurrent disorders in children and youth.