Information About Co-Occurring Disorders a.k.a Dual Diagnoses

Counselor helping with dual diagnosis

Counseling Has Made Great Progress in Helping with Co-Occurring Disorders

Do you need more information on treatment options for somebody who has both an addiction and a mental illness? We will provide much of the information you need to know, and one of the key things to do is ask questions of your potential provider.

A high quality treatment team at the right treatment center will actually specialize in working with patients who exhibit co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety disorders or bipolar disorder. When you enter a treatment program, your mental health and medical history will be an integral part of the regimen of recovery that is recommended.

Recovery is possible, even if you’re suffering greatly from mental health symptoms or self-medicating an underlying mental illness. The modern approach to treatment focuses on healthy coping skills which are the most powerful tools that will help you in your journey to recovery. A professional staff will work with you to help you learn new approaches to the ongoing challenges you will face. This includes helping you cope with any negative effects of a mental illness you may have.

Co-Occurring Disorders Evolving Treatment Approach

An effective treatment program will focus on offering an integrated approach to your recovery. This means it will focus on treating “the whole person,” including challenges like depression, anxeity, or trauma.  Evidence has shown a correlation between addressing both the mental health and substance issues simultaneously and long term successful recovery.

This is different from in the past, when treatment for addiction was kept distinctly separate from any mental illness (and vice versa). Behavioral or mood disordered patients were thought to be best left to the field of psychiatry alone, rarely getting any help for any drug or addiction issues they might face. Because of this, many people struggling with substance abuse and mental illness fell through the cracks, treated for one thing or the other but rarely both.  All in all, this left many people facing co-occurring disorders vulnerable to relapse.

Recognizing and Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

Today, the field of medicine has recognized that recovery from addiction can be much more challenging if there are underlying mental health issues that do not get addressed.   Research has shown time and time again that people with mental illnesses such as anxiety, trauma, or depression tend to turn to substance abuse to self-medicate. Once the “medicine” is gone, however, the symptoms it was covering may still remain. Because of this, mental health screening is a vital part of developing a treatment approach.

According to SAMHSA’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, co-occurring disorders are fairly common among people with addiction. In 2014 alone, nearly 7.9 million adults in the US had been diagnosed with a mental illness in addition to a substance abuse disorder.

Today, all high quality treatment centers will make addressing co-occurring disorders an integral part of the recovery program. It is well known how important it is that each patient gets the right tools they need for positive change, and getting tools to cope with life’s stressors and mental health triggers are invaluable.

The Integrated Approach to Recovery Works

When recovering people have the tools they need to live a healthy, drug-free life, it maximizes the chances of long-term abstinence. For those with co-occurring disorders, this integrated approach works.

A successful recovery plan will help clients learn life-changing tools and behaviors. This helps them tackles some of the most difficult aspects of their mental health challenges, such as coping with anxiety attacks or manic episodes. If medication is necessary, the treatment provider should work with the individual to help them find relief from symptoms of their mental illness. Therapy (both one on one and group) is also an important part of this equation.   Therapeutic processes like art therapy, meditation, or even yoga can be greatly helfpul.

It is important to seek out addiction specialists who understand the challenges that clients with co-occurring disorders face, and help them learn new ways to thrive in the fact of those challenges.

What To Expect: Mental Health, Addiction, and Recovery

A treatment plan tailored to a person with a dual diagnosis will include a plan to help him or her learn to manage the symptoms of their mental illness. Because of this integrated approach, symptoms such as anxiety attacks or mood swings have less drastic effects on the recovering individual. Learning how to recognize the symptoms of these challenges and take proactive action becomes a part of an individual’s recovery plan.

We know that the thought of getting sober and getting mental health treatment may sound overwhelming at first. But a specialized treatment team can help form a comprehensive treatment plan to meet your needs. Our goal is to help maximize your chances for long-term success and help you learn to thrive, in spite of your unique challenges.

Getting Help Today

Many people with co-occurring disorders are able to start a new way of life in recovery. If you think you may are struggling with anxiety, trauma, or depression in addition to substance abuse, you’re in the right place.

Our specialists are standing by to answer your questions. It’s 100% confidential. Please call to learn more about your treatment options.