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Dealing with addiction is already a challenging journey on its own, and if you're also facing a co-occurring disorder, the path can feel even more daunting. Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnoses, are when a person is struggling with both mental illness and substance abuse. This can lead to a complicated cycle of dependence, which can make recovery feel impossible. However, it's important to know that recovery is still possible, and you can achieve lasting sobriety and mental wellness.

At Gateway Rehab, we provide the best possible care to help you on your recovery journey. If you are experiencing co-occurring disorders, contact our team of dedicated health professionals to get you back on your wellness journey and on the road to recovery.

Here is everything you need to know about co-occurring disorders during your recovery.

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnoses, refer to the presence of both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder simultaneously in an individual. Co-occurring disorders can complicate recovery, as each condition can exacerbate the symptoms of the other. For example, an individual with depression may use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate, which can lead to addiction and further exacerbate their depression. Similarly, a person with an untreated substance use disorder may develop symptoms of anxiety or mood disorders as a result of their drug or alcohol use.

Addressing co-occurring disorders in recovery is crucial for a successful and sustainable long-term recovery. Without appropriate treatment for both conditions, individuals may be at increased risk for relapse, complications, and poor outcomes. By understanding and addressing both substance use disorders and mental health disorders, individuals can work towards a healthier and more balanced recovery journey.

What Causes Co-Occurring Disorders?

There is no single cause of co-occurring disorders, and they can arise for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the chronic use of drugs or alcohol can lead to the development of a mental health disorder. In other instances, untreated or undiagnosed mental health disorders can lead individuals to engage in substance abuse as a form of self-medication to cope with difficult feelings or symptoms.

Co-occurring disorders may also be rooted in complex social, economic, and environmental factors. For example, individuals with a history of trauma, poverty or social isolation may be at increased risk for both substance use and mental health disorders. Genetics may also play a role in the development of co-occurring disorders. Certain genes may make individuals more susceptible to both mental health disorders and addiction.

Ultimately, co-occurring disorders are complex, multifactorial, and typically develop as a result of a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Effective treatment of co-occurring disorders requires an individually tailored and integrated approach, that takes into consideration the unique experience and needs of each person.

How Are Co-Occurring Disorders Treated?

The treatment of co-occurring disorders is a complex and individualized process. Treatment often involves a combination of medication, therapy, and support services geared towards addressing both the substance use disorder and the mental health disorder simultaneously. A thorough assessment by a medical professional is often the first step in developing an effective treatment plan. The assessment will take into consideration the type of drugs or alcohol being used, the frequency of use, and the severity of the mental health symptoms present. Depending on the presenting issues, medications may be prescribed to stabilize mental health symptoms or to assist in addiction recovery.

Mental health counseling is also an integral part of treatment for co-occurring disorders. There are several evidence-based therapies that can be effective in treating mental health disorders including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing. Support groups such as Mutual Aid Groups or 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can also be helpful in addressing both disorders.

It is important for individuals with co-occurring disorders to receive treatment that is individualized, comprehensive and integrated to the specific needs of each person. Continued monitoring and follow-up is necessary to ensure that treatment interventions remain effective and supportive throughout the recovery process. With proper medical care, therapy, and support, individuals with co-occurring disorders can achieve and maintain long-term recovery.

Why Addressing Co-Occurring Disorders Is Important For Your Recovery

Addressing co-occurring disorders is critical for a healthy and sustainable recovery. When an individual has both a substance abuse problem and a mental health disorder, each condition can exacerbate the symptoms of the other, leading to a never-ending cycle of self-destructive behavior.  Treating both conditions together is crucial to help break this cycle and achieve a successful recovery. If one condition is left untreated, it can act as a barrier to successfully treating the other, leaving the individual at risk for relapse or other serious health complications.

By addressing both conditions from the onset of recovery, an individual can receive appropriate support, tools, and strategies to manage their symptoms of addiction and mental health disorder, ultimately improving their likelihood of attaining sustained recovery. Treatment plans for co-occurring disorders need to be tailored to the individual’s specific needs and should include a variety of interventions, such as medication management, psychotherapy, and social support.

Overall, addressing co-occurring disorders supports a well-rounded approach to addiction treatment and is essential for the promotion of long-term recovery, healing, and wellness.

If you or a loved one is struggling with co-occurring disorders or are suffering from substance abuse disorder, contact our team of clinicians and behavioral therapists at Gateway Rehab, who are dedicated to providing you with the best treatment and follow up care to help you on your recovery journey. Don't wait, schedule an appointment directly from our website today.