Co-Occurring Disorders Overview

At Excel, we pride ourselves on treating each one of our clients as an individual and understand that no two people’s addictions are the same.

We take every aspect of a client’s life into account so we can design a personalized treatment program. For treatment to be effective, this must include mental health. In doing this, our treatment is integrative.

Integrative treatment gives our clients the best possible chance at successful and sustained recovery. Co-occurring disorders, or dual diagnosis, is when someone experiences mental health symptoms and substance use disorder (SUD) at the same time. Although it can be a scary and isolating experience, it is more common than people think.

If you or a loved one have a dual diagnosis, it is important to get help. Substance abuse disorders and mental health conditions don’t get better on their own. In fact, they will likely get worse.

However, suffering from a dual diagnosis does not mean that we are helpless. With integrated treatment, it is possible to recover. At Excel, we believe that your past does not have to define your future. We aim to help our clients regain control of their lives by delivering customized recovery programs.

What Causes Co-occurring Disorders?

The World Psychiatric Association reports that around 50% of adults who are diagnosed with a mental health condition also abuse substances. According to SAMHSA, in 2019, 9.5 million Americans were diagnosed with both a SUD and a mental health condition.

‘Substance abuse’ is a broad term. It is characterized by the repeated use of substances, despite their harmful effects. Some substances result in a strong psychological habit, and some are physically addictive.

‘Mental health disorder’ is also a broad term, and it can refer to hundreds of different conditions. Examples of these are bipolar disorder, depression, and psychosis. While some of these disorders share symptoms, they all present differently. This is why, when choosing a rehabilitation center, it is important to choose one that can carry out a thorough diagnosis.

What Causes Co-occurring Disorders?

Substance use disorders and mental health disorders have a complex relationship. Some substance users have a pre-existing condition which they self-medicate with drugs.

Some people have an existing disorder made worse by drug use, and some drugs directly cause mental health disorders.

man in despair

Self-medication

Often, if people aren’t getting the help they need for an existing mental health disorder, they will self-medicate. This can temporarily reduce the symptoms, but it is not sustainable. In the long-term, this can lead to dependence and addiction. It can often worsen the very symptoms the person was trying to improve, and this starts a vicious cycle of use and abuse.

Alcohol and drug use can increase the risk of developing a mental health disorder. There are many causes, so it can be hard to find the exact one.

It is thought that we can be genetically predisposed to developing mental health problems. If we add substance use to this, it can be enough to cause a mental health condition to develop, reports Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

Drugs and alcohol can also interact with psychiatric medication such as antidepressants, anxiety medication, and mood stabilizers. This causes unpleasant side effects and can also reduce how effective they are at managing symptoms.

How Does Diagnosis Work?

Correctly identifying a dual diagnosis can be challenging. Mental health symptoms and drug addiction often appear together, although this doesn’t mean that they are always linked. Drugs have a powerful effect on our bodies and minds, and often they have problematic side effects and withdrawal symptoms.

These effects present as mental health conditions. For example, methamphetamine or synthetic bath salts have been known to cause psychotic episodes. Alcohol withdrawal has been known to cause anxiety. Our clinical specialists are experts in the relationship between different drugs and specific mental health conditions.

Some of the more general warning signs of dual diagnosis are:

  • You use substances to repress memories, feelings, moods, or frightening situations
  • You’ve noticed substance use affecting your mental health. For example, you get paranoid when you smoke cannabis
  • If anyone in your family has experienced drug addiction or a mental health condition
  • If your mental health has ever stopped you from receiving help for a drug problem
  • Experiencing mental health symptoms, even though you aren’t using substances

Expert Diagnosis

A correct diagnosis is very important. To deliver proper treatment, we need to make sure we are addressing the right issue. According to the journal Alcohol Health and Research World, misdiagnosis is a huge issue that affects dual diagnosis clients, and this can be a barrier to recovery.

At Excel, we treat mental health symptoms with the respect they deserve. We take care never to overlook or underestimate mental health symptoms. We look into every issue our clients have and make sure the treatment plan we offer is personalized to clients’ specific needs.

How are Co-occurring Disorders Treated?

At Excel, we believe the most effective way of treating a co-occurring disorder is with an integrated approach. This involves treating the substance abuse problem at the same time as the mental health disorder. Because these two conditions can impact each other, treatment for both is essential for a successful recovery.

We carry out a thorough assessment process. This involves asking detailed questions about a client’s background, personal history, and family history. This might seem intrusive, but it allows us to give our clients the best possible treatment. All of your information will be completely confidential.

Substance Abuse

Substance use disorders are complex conditions. They are often related to issues in our relationship with ourselves, to others, and in our family dynamics. For therapy to be effective, it should encompass all elements of our relationship health.

We offer a range of individual, group, and family-based therapies for substance abuse. The first step is usually a clinical detox. This allows the client’s body to rid itself of toxins and begin to regain chemical balance.

Mental Health

Treatment for mental health problems may include medication, individual or group counseling, self-help measures, lifestyle changes, and peer support.

Treatment will also involve medications for symptom management when necessary. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication can help the support the brain as it begins to return to a normal state of being, and creates a stronger position for effectively engaging in therapy.

Co-occurring Disorders We Treat

At Excel, our mental health services cover a broad range of mental health conditions. The conditions we treat are some of the most common co-occurring disorders seen in addiction clients.

Co-occurring disorders treated at Excel Treatment Center include:

  • Anxiety
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
  • Codependency
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Mood, Grief, Loss, and Anger Management

Why Choose Excel Treatment Center?

Our treatment and recovery programs are based on the latest scientific research regarding addiction and mental health. Our team of expert clinicians shares extensive experience in the area of mental health addiction recovery. This means that we are highly skilled in assessing and treating co-occurring disorders.

Your recovery with Excel will be supported by a fully customized, individually tailored treatment program. Treatment is provided in a safe, non-judgmental environment, and you can rest assured knowing that you or your loved one are receiving the most compassionate and supportive care available.

Many people are unaware of the presence of another mental health condition when they come for addiction treatment. We are dedicated to getting to know as much as possible about our clients’ health. This allows us to appropriately tailor a specific treatment program to best suit their needs.

It is possible to treat and recover from co-occurring SUD and mental health conditions. The most important step is that you reach out for help. Contact us today to arrange for an appointment. We can help you on your journey and support you on the next steps you need to take to achieve a successful recovery.

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