Individuals who struggle with addiction or substance use disorders and mental health disorders are diagnosed with co-occurring disorders or dual diagnoses. A dual diagnosis is an approach that allows healthcare providers to treat the whole person and not solely their addiction. This has shown to be incredibly beneficial as substance use and mental illness are often closely related. Lets talk about some treatment for co-occuring disorders.
Substance Use Disorder
Substance use disorder is diagnosed when a person’s use of alcohol or illegal drugs leads to severe mental and physical health issues. This can result in problems at work, school, or home and ruin close relationships with family and friends.
Substance use disorder often occurs with mental health issues such as depression, attention deficit disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other behavioral illnesses. It is difficult to determine if the substance use caused the mental illness or the other way around in many cases. In either case, substance use cannot be treated without considering cognitive and behavioral health disruptions.
What does substance use disorder include?
A substance use disorder includes:
Co-occurring disorders can be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms of illicit drug abuse or addiction and mental illness may mask one another, making it difficult to identify what a person is actually struggling with. Often, individuals with mental health problems do not discuss their drug use with mental health professionals because they do not think it is related to their illness. This can increase the amount of time it takes to get to a correct diagnosis.
It is not uncommon for people struggling with their mental health to turn to drug use. Anxious people may take drugs to feel calm, and depressed people may take drugs to numb the pain.
In addition to addressing the mental health problem, alcohol or other medications often prevent a person from developing successful coping skills like maintaining satisfying relationships and feeling happy with themselves. It is also important to know how drugs and alcohol impact medicines prescribed for mental illness. Dru and alcohol use, in short, makes mental health conditions worse when not properly disclosed to your healthcare provider.
People with co-occurring disorders can stop using alcohol or other substances, but as symptoms of their mental health disorders continue, they may face difficulties. To remedy both conditions, patients need a care team with an awareness of the entire patient history and experience in treatment for co-occuring disorders.
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Alcohol or drug dependence
Substance Abuse & Addiction
Though it is a fine line, some people may use drugs without becoming addicted. Addiction begins with compulsive behaviors to seek out and use drugs with little regard for the consequences. The increased drug use leads to drug abuse where a person continues to use more of a substance to chase the same high. The increased volume of drug consumption results in long-lasting changes in the brain. Some of these changes are irreversible and permanent.
Exposure to drugs in social settings is often where drug use begins. It may also start with misusing a valid prescription ordered by a doctor. As the person becomes accustomed to the feeling of using drugs, they increase the amount and the frequency in which they operate. This leads to experimenting with and abusing different drugs.
The risk of addiction varies according to the substance (controlled or illegal) and how easily you become addicted. Some medicines have a greater risk and induce dependence more quickly than others, such as opioid painkillers. Attempts to stop drug use abruptly may cause intense cravings, make you feel physically ill (withdrawal symptoms), and be dangerous if not properly supervised.
Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders
Previously, in the United States, opioid and alcohol abuse treatment was distinct from mental health treatments because there was not a broad understanding of co-occurring conditions. Care was administered using drastically different clinical methods at various facilities. Consequently, many individuals with depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, treatment for co-occuring disorders and other severe conditions never received a treatment plan for their substance abuse problems.
Treating only one condition will not cause the other to change immediately, and a siloed treatment approach will not give you lasting results. Both conditions must be treated simultaneously, in the same place, by the same care team to be successful. This is a form of integrated cognitive behavioral therapy, and it is highly effective.
About 7 million people who have received treatment for mental health still suffer from opioid or alcohol abuse. The secret to shielding this population from poverty, disease, loneliness, incarceration, and homelessness is integrated care for co-occurring disorders.
Are you someone who is looking to help your daughter, mother, sister, or friend? Are you looking for substance abuse treatment options and support groups specifically for women? Join us at the women-only treatment center, Anchored Tides Recovery.
Call us today at 1-866-524-6014 and get your loved one on the road to recovery.