co-occurring disorders treatment
CO-OCCURRING DISORDERS TREATMENT
Multiple national surveys have found that about half of those who experience a mental illness, such as depression, bi-polar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), also use alcohol or substances. The use of drugs and/or alcohol often develops into substance use disorders and the coexistence of both a mental health illness and a substance use disorder is referred to as a co-occurring disorder.
Oftentimes, people struggling with mental health illnesses use drugs and/or alcohol to self-medicate and relieve active symptoms. Though temporary relief may be experienced, over time the substance use can exacerbate symptoms and actually cause changes in the brain that worsen the mental health condition. Conversely, the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs, has an impact on brain function and can trigger mental disorders, causing significant impairment in a person’s life.
Because of the compounding impact of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, it is essential that thorough and ongoing assessment and co-occurring disorders treatment be available to address each of the health conditions that are compromising a person’s life, relationships, and ability to thrive and fully function. The overlapping symptoms of co-occurring disorders can make it challenging to make an accurate diagnosis and many providers may overlook an underlying mental health illness due to a focus on substance use disorders and the related behaviors.
"When the symptoms of a mental health issue are overlooked or attributed to substance use alone, and vice versa, the likelihood for relapse or failed treatment response increases."
Though there are some exceptions, overall, clients experience better outcomes when co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders are treated together. When the symptoms of a mental health issue are overlooked or attributed to substance use alone, and vice versa, the likelihood for relapse or failed treatment response increases.
When looking for treatment for a loved one who is experiencing depression, substance misuse or abuse, trauma, anxiety, or prolonged grief, it is important to look for comprehensive and ongoing evaluation and assessment by experienced mental health professionals. At Amend Treatment, our multi-disciplinary team of licensed professionals employ a multi-pronged approach which, when combined with the trained continuous observational opportunities and client participation presented in residential care, reduces the chance of a missed diagnosis and increases our team’s ability to provide treatment targeted to each person’s unique needs and sustained recovery.
In the care provided by your primary care doctor, the occurrence of more than one health condition is generally referred to as a “comorbidity.” In mental and behavioral healthcare, the term “co-occurring” is typically and most often used to refer to the presence of both a mental health illness and a substance use disorder. The language can make it confusing to discuss and prioritize the need for care. Many of the families we serve know that their loved one is experiencing physical and behavioral health conditions while also struggling with depression, anxiety, or episodes of psychosis. It can be difficult to know if the symptoms of fatigue, worry, and emotional pain are caused by the mental illness, physical condition, coping behaviors, a combination of these, or all of them.
"Treatment for co-occurring disorders must address and provide remedy for the mental disorder as well as addressing the co-occurring behavioral health, substance misuse, or physical health condition."
CO-OCCURRING DISORDERS TREATMENT AT AMEND
At Amend Treatment we understand that people struggling with mental health are oftentimes also managing other health conditions. For this reason, we use the term “co-occurring” as an umbrella for the co-occurrence of mental, physical, and behavioral health conditions and disorders, and not just the co-occurrence of mental and substance use disorders. Many people suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, or episodes of psychosis turn to excessive gaming and internet use, self-harm, binging or other unhealthy eating behavior to mitigate the stress and pain, and to cope.
Treatment for co-occurring disorders must address and provide remedy for the mental disorder as well as addressing the co-occurring behavioral health, substance use disorder, or physical health condition. It is important that the person in need of mental or behavioral health treatment is physically and medically stable. Having a current health examination and authorizing communication with your physician makes for a more ideal and holistic approach to treatment and fosters a continuity of care when clients return home. Our treatment team encourages collaboration with your existing healthcare providers and/or physicians so everyone, most importantly you and your loved ones, are on the same page, and each health concern can be addressed in a customized treatment plan.