Many who seek treatment at a Colorado drug rehab have co-occurring mental health disorders that need to be addressed if treatment is to be successful. While treatment professionals once thought it would be detrimental to treat mental health disorders at the same time as the addiction, it is now known to be beneficial to sobriety to treat co-occurring disorders at the same time as addiction via integrated treatment methods.
About 8.9 million U.S. adults have co-occurring disorders, which can also be called dual diagnoses. Those with mental health issues are more likely to also have substance abuse disorder, according to research. Co-occurring disorders have biological, psychological, and social components that make them difficult to diagnose. Here are some of the most common disorders that co-occur with substance abuse.
- Anxiety disorders (PTSD, OCD, panic disorder, phobias)
- Personality disorders
- Eating disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- ADHD and ADD
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Psychotic disorders (like schizophrenia)
When co-occurring disorders are not treated together, the risks of homelessness, incarceration, suicide, or early death increase. In addition to mitigating these risks, treating co-occurring disorders as part of addiction treatment is also more economical than treating the conditions separately.
Many people with co-occurring disorders engage in what treatment professionals call self-medicating behaviors. They sense that something in their body’s chemistry is unbalanced, but instead of getting treatment, they use substances that initially make them feel more balanced in some way, so they keep using the substance.
Self-medicating behaviors have only a temporary or perceived effect on those who use them, however, and in most cases, the addict is worse off than ever after the behaviors stop working or require an ever-increasing amount of the substance until the person risks overdosing.
Treatment professionals have learned how to use safe, legal medications to stabilize mental health patients and get them on the road to recovery from both substance abuse and mental health disorders. There are many possible treatments for those with co-occurring disorders.
Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders
Like stand-alone substance abuse treatment, treatment for co-occurring disorders involves counseling and psychotherapy, medications, and group therapy. Because of the greater complexity of co-occurring disorders, treatment is likely to be highly customized to meet individual needs.
The type of treatment (inpatient, outpatient, IOP) depends on the severity of symptoms for all disorders and the level of functioning experienced. Treatment can involve family members if the treatment professionals involved think it would be beneficial and family members are willing to be involved.
Because co-occurring disorders can present as more severe, it may be necessary to coordinate treatment between several entities, including primary care physicians, social workers, police officers, and of course, the treatment team on site. For various reasons, the criminal justice system tends to miss a co-occurring disorder diagnosis, so other assessment methods may be needed to make the diagnosis.
If you or any of your loved ones are struggling with both addiction and a mental health disorder, contact us at Recovery Village at Palmer Lake, a Colorado drug rehab facility that treats co-occurring disorders and can help addicts understand themselves and begin to heal.