What are Common Co-Occurring Disorders?

What are Common Co-Occurring Disorders?

In 2017, it was estimated that 8.5 million adults over the age of 18, or about 4 percent, were struggling with co-occurring disorders. This is a significant part of the population. Luckily, much research has been done on treating co-occurring disorders because it is so prevalent. There is an understanding of best practices for co-occurring disorders now, allowing individuals struggling with these disorders to have hope for long-term recovery.


What are Co-Occurring Disorders?


Co-occurring disorders are known as the presence of a set of diagnoses from two different diagnostic categories, specifically mental illness and substance use disorders. Commonly co-occurring disorders include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. The most common substances abused that co-occur with these mental illnesses include alcohol, tobacco, opioids, stimulants, marijuana, hallucinogens, and prescription drugs. Co-occurring disorders are significant because the symptoms in one diagnosis can exacerbate the symptoms in the other diagnoses. 


What is the Best Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders?


Mental illness and substance use disorders have been treated separately in the past. However, as they have received more attention in research, it has been found that better outcomes come with integrated treatment. This means that rather than treating them separately, the mental illness and substance use disorders are treated simultaneously within the same treatment plan. This approach has many benefits, including reduced or abstinence from substance use, improved mental health symptoms, increased chance at successful treatment and recovery for both disorders, improved quality of life, decreased episodes of hospitalization, reduced medication interactions, increased housing stability, and fear arrests. 


The programs that offer these many benefits are often referred to as dual diagnosis programs. These programs often include medication management to stabilize mental health symptoms. They also provide medication-assisted treatment if it is clinically appropriate for the individual. In addition to medication, individuals receive individual and group therapy using behavioral techniques that have been found to work well with substance use disorders and mental illness. Examples of these therapies include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Assertive Community Treatment, Therapeutic Communities, and Motivational Interviewing. 


What to Look For in a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center


  • Choose a program that offers integrated treatment to ensure that you receive the best care for both diagnoses. The symptoms of both diagnoses often exacerbate the other, so integrated care of them both is important.
  • Ensure that the treatment you are receiving is individualized. You want to make sure that the professionals helping you view you as an individual rather than a number or just another patient. If they give you time, seem genuine, and include you in the treatment planning process to make decisions, then it’s likely that they are creating an individualized plan for you.
  • Choose a program that utilizes evidence-based practices. These practices, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and others listed above, have been found through research trials to treat mental illness and substance use disorders effectively. 
  • Choose a program that offers the services that you will need. Many services are available in different substance use programs, so you have options. Some services include group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, skills development, recovery coaching, support groups, and more. Find out what you want in your treatment program to help you decide. 


Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Chicago, IL


Brightside Recovery has over 25 years of experience working with clients with addictions issues and mental illness. We understand the barriers that you face in day-to-day life when it comes to your addiction. We are prepared to help you every step of the way. We offer different types of therapy and treatment programs to tailor your treatment plan to you and your specific needs. We have individual therapy, group therapy, and medication-assisted treatment available through our programs. Brightside is unlike other treatment programs because we recognize that relapse is part of the recovery process. We will not discharge clients who have relapsed. Instead, we will be available to support you through that stage of your recovery. Additionally, we understand that your mental health diagnoses are just as important to treat as your addiction. We offer individually tailored treatment plans to address both substance use and mental health during your treatment here. 

Contact us today to schedule an immediate appointment so you can get the help you deserve.

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