Dual Diagnosis

Substance abuse and mental health are often linked together, and treatment centers, like Spark to Recovery, have begun to recognize and address this. Co-occurring disorders are simply mental health disorders that occur at the same time as an alcohol or drug addiction. Certain mental health disorders, including mood and anxiety disorders, are fairly common in people who are being treated for substance abuse. Young adults in particular have a high rate of co-occurring disorders along with mental illnesses.

According to Youth.gov, between 60% and 75% of adolescents with substance use disorders also have co-occurring mental illnesses. Some specific mental disorders that frequently occur alongside alcohol and drug abuse include:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

In some cases, the symptoms of your mental health disorder and your substance abuse issue don’t always show up at the same time. You might have mood disorders that have been hidden, so you could discover new co-occurring disorders during addiction treatment. Withdrawal symptoms may also mimic or mask symptoms of an underlying mood disorder. A treatment approach that includes watching for co-occurring mental disorders can catch any potential problems before they become serious. It can also increase your likelihood of lasting recovery.

While all these mental health conditions can make it more difficult to treat the co-occurring substance abuse disorder. The good news is that drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs are often designed to handle mental health services along with substance abuse issues.  Spark to Recovery’s co-occurring disorder treatment ensures that when enrolled in our addiction programs, we address mental health as we address addiction.

Benefits of Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

Treating both disorders concurrently and in relation to each other ensures that patients do not slip back into old patterns when similar traumatic events happen in the future. The treatment of co-occurring disorders does not just aim to wean patients off the substance. The ultimate goal is to help patients develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stressors, eliminating the urge for chemical dependency. By understanding the root of the problem and developing a healthy self-image, a successful recovery can be within reach.

  • Comprehensive Treatment: Addresses both mental health and substance use disorders concurrently, providing a more holistic approach to care.
  • Improved Outcomes: Treating co-occurring disorders simultaneously can lead to better treatment outcomes compared to addressing each disorder separately.
  • Reduced Relapse Rates: Integrated treatment decreases the likelihood of relapse by addressing underlying issues that contribute to both disorders.
  • Enhanced Functioning: Individuals are better able to function in daily life when both disorders are effectively treated, improving overall quality of life.
  • Better Medication Management: Coordinated treatment allows for better management of medications, ensuring they do not exacerbate symptoms of either disorder.
  • Increased Social Support: Group therapy and support networks specific to co-occurring disorders can provide individuals with a supportive community of peers who understand their unique challenges.
  • Addressing Underlying Issues: Treating both disorders simultaneously allows for a deeper exploration of underlying psychological, environmental, and social factors contributing to the disorders.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Integrated treatment can be more cost-effective in the long run, as it reduces the need for multiple treatment episodes and emergency interventions.
  • Preventing Escalation: Early intervention for co-occurring disorders can prevent the escalation of symptoms and the development of more severe mental health or substance use issues.
  • Improved Overall Well-Being: By addressing both disorders concurrently, individuals can experience improvements in their mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

When Do You Need to Treat Co-Occurring Disorders?

If you think you might benefit from Dual Diagnosis Treatment, it's worth asking yourself these questions:

  • Have you been driven to substance abuse by trauma?
  • Does your mental health worsen when you are not using the substance?
  • Do you use the substance to achieve temporary relief from the events in your life?

It is never too late to seek help for a co-occurring disorder. The first step can be the most important step – reach out to us today.

What to Expect in Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment?

Integrated treatment is critical in treating co-occurring disorders. This targets the symptoms of both at the same time, ensuring that substance abuse does not get worse as a result of poor mental health, and that mental health is not compromised by substance abuse. Below are some common treatments for co-occurring disorders:

Why Do People Develop Co-Occurring Conditions?

Occasionally, a co-occurring condition develops because of brain changes that happen when a person uses alcohol or drugs. In other cases, the comorbidity exists before the substance use disorder develops.  

Mental illness can cause symptoms that affect everyday life, and some people turn to drugs or alcohol to ease these symptoms. Self-medicating may temporarily make the person feel better, but it can also lead to substance abuse disorders as the person becomes unable to cope with mental health symptoms in healthier ways.

What Happens During Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders?

Treatment programs for substance abuse and a co-occurring disorder can involve a combination of therapy and prescription medication. The medical director and psychiatrist lead the treatment team and work with nurses, counselors, and addiction specialists on staff to develop a comprehensive treatment program. Your treatment planning team can establish benchmarks for measuring your progress, and medical professionals on the team may prescribe medicine for any serious mental illness that responds well to medication.

How Are Co-Occurring Disorders Treated?

Drug and Alcohol Detox

Medical detox is the first step to treating substance addiction. The main goal of drug and alcohol detox is to manage the withdrawal symptoms. Medical detox is accompanied by a medical professional to make sure the individual is safe and comfortable.

Oftentimes, withdrawal symptoms can be a painful and uncomfortable process. Medical detox seeks to alleviate those symptoms and rid toxins from the patient’s body. The length of time in detox depends on the addiction type and how long the individual was addicted.

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment or inpatient treatment is a therapy process practiced in a safe, comfortable and supervised environment. It helps patients recover in a safe environment, with a medical professional available 24/7. It is useful and recommended for those with chronic addictions.

Individual and Group Therapy

Individual therapy involves a session with a professional therapist who counsels the patient on a personal level. Group therapy entails sitting in a group with other peers sharing their experiences. It helps members relate to each other and find strength in one another. They encourage one another, and it allows patients to find solace in that they are not the only ones experiencing some issues.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also practiced to help identify the causing factors that influence the user’s substance abuse. It educates patients on what triggers addiction and how to avoid or manage it.

Holistic or Alternative Treatment

The holistic treatment option concentrates not only on the disorders but also on the entire person. The addressed elements include emotional, physical, spiritual, and environmental aspects to solve the affected individual’s underlying disorder. This co-occurring treatment is aimed at making the affected patient whole.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also practiced to help identify the causing factors that influence the user’s substance abuse. It educates patients on what triggers addiction and how to avoid or manage it.

Why Choose Spark To Recovery?

When you enter a rehab program for substance abuse treatment, part of the check-in process includes assessing you for any underlying mental illnesses or issues that might affect treatment.  

Treatment programs at Spark to Recovery include a comprehensive assessment of co-occurring mental health issues and a personalized treatment plan that considers any mental health disorders that can be treated simultaneously along with the substance use disorder.

Working on both substance abuse and mental health conditions at the same time also helps reduce the risk of relapse after treatment ends. Severe mental illness can cause someone to return to substance use as a coping mechanism if the initial addiction treatment didn’t also address the mental health disorder.

At Spark To Recovery, we understand that no two patients are the same. This is why we work with you to recommend a co-occurring disorders treatment catered to your specific needs and problems. Feel at peace in our safe and supportive environment, knowing that you are getting the help you require.

Start your addiction recovery today by treating co-occurring disorders. You are welcome to schedule a consultation with us.

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