The Importance of Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

The Importance of Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

Do you know that many people with addiction also face co-occurring disorders? This is also known as dual diagnosis, a complicated health condition. Both of these need treatment simultaneously for the best treatment outcome. Leaving either disorder untreated will lead to an incomplete intervention. Consult with Laguna Shores Recovery Center for more information.

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders or Dual Diagnoses?

When a recovering individual has both substance addiction and a mental health disorder, that is known as a dual diagnosis. This is a more complex condition than a mental illness. Even though it is an old medical concept, dual diagnosis is still not widely understood. This has led to untreated diseases, failed interventions, and relapses.

A dual diagnosis poses challenges for assessment and treatment. This is because some people only focus on getting better, prioritizing substance addiction without treating their mental health problems. Some assume that when they achieve sobriety, those conditions, such as anxiety or depression, may heal on their own. But that is far from the truth. Recovery from addiction is not sustainable if co-occurring mental health conditions are not treated simultaneously.

How Does One Disorder Affect the Other?

The causation between addiction and co-occurring mental health issues can be hard to tease out. One possible scenario is that a person’s substance dependence may cause a mental illness to develop gradually. This is mainly due to the chemical changes in the brain. A second scenario explains how people with mental health needs may self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. The causal link then goes one way from mental health to addiction. Another scenario happens when trauma or stress causes both substance use and mental health illness around the same time. 

Apart from these behavioral causations, a dual diagnosis may be rooted in overlapping genetic risks or environmental risks. In short, if substance addiction or mental health illnesses alone are complex conditions, the co-occurrence of both categories can create a challenging situation for diagnosis and treatment. 

What Are Some Common Mental Health Conditions in Co-Occurring Disorders?

The top co-occurring mental health conditions with substance addiction are anxiety and depression. Almost every individual struggling with substance dependence may experience these symptoms. But long-term addiction can result in anxiety attacks and chronic depression. The following high-occurring mental health condition is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can be traced to a history of trauma. 

Substance addiction tends to cause obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and eating disorders. People who live with these conditions may use substances just to self-soothe or self-medicate. To diagnose both conditions, people must undergo an integrated screening process. 

How to Diagnose and Treat Co-Occurring Disorders?

Not every treatment facility has the expertise to assess and treat dual diagnosis, which requires a higher level of care. Both addiction recovery experts and mental health specialists must work together to conduct an integrated screening. This involves a series of assessment questions or a more comprehensive assessment for identifying co-occurring disorders.

Health professionals will try to tease out which condition came first by examining a person’s medical history. It is an essential step to sort out these symptoms before prescribing treatments. It is usually during detox that they will use various assessment tools to determine a person’s conditions and needs. When detox or medical-assisted detox is completed, they must have a treatment plan ready. 

An integrated treatment plan for dual diagnosis seeks to maintain a person’s sobriety and improve their cognitive functioning and the likelihood of independent living. Some treatment centers offer treatment via one single track to treat both disorders. This is important and usually involves an extended stay in a residential program with around-the-clock monitoring and support. Some medications may be prescribed to treat one or both conditions. 

Why Does a Whole-person, Integrated Approach Work for Dual Diagnosis?

Since dual diagnosis requires more specialized care, it means using a holistic and integrated approach. Each person’s treatment plan must be customized to address their unique needs. The treatment team will utilize various therapies to ensure healing happens physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Ignoring any of these aspects may lead to a relapse.

The toolkit of dual diagnosis often includes detox, cognitive-behavioral therapy, 12-Step group meetings, mindfulness meditation, life skills, and creative therapies. Each component plays a crucial role in restoring one area of health while balancing the entire person. The goal is to help an individual find purpose, meaning, and motivation in life without drugs or alcohol. This means improved interpersonal communication and repaired relationships. 

Upon completing the primary treatment phase, recovering individuals may utilize housing arrangements, outpatient therapies, and alumni support. There is no easy path for dual diagnosis recovery. But an integrated approach works for people who fully engage with a wide spectrum of care. Laguna Shores Recovery Center offers the best dual diagnosis support.

Residential rehab programs for dual diagnosis are a good option for those who need more monitoring and intensive care. People who suffer from co-occurring conditions may also benefit from the 24/7 medically monitored inpatient program. If you are considering effective intervention and treatment, make sure you find a residential facility that offers a wide range of integrated programs, including medical detox, individual therapy, medication management, family or couples counseling, addiction education, and life skill classes. Each of these components is critical to achieving sobriety and preventing relapses. Laguna Shores Recovery Center has helped many individuals achieve and maintain long-term recovery. We offer a wide range of treatment programs. Our approach is science-based and holistic. Call us today at (866) 774-1532.