When a person is admitted into treatment for substance abuse, a medical professional assesses. This evaluation, in most cases, reveals that the patient has another mental disorder that initiated or intensified their compulsive use. Addressing these co-occurring disorders (or dual diagnoses) improves the outcome of treatment.
Dual diagnosis is common in addiction, with over 30% of addicts who have a mental illness. Half of them do not receive sufficient help for either condition, usually because of the prohibitive cost. Co-occurring disorder treatment requires more intense intervention, with most therapists advocating for residential treatment. Without insurance or solid financial background, this treatment is almost inaccessible. The connection between co-occurring disorders and substance abuse was first established in the 1980s. More research revealed that around 50% of people with one condition are highly predisposed to acquiring the other throughout life. These disorders occurring together worsen each other.
The prevalence of co-occurring disorders is attributed to genetics and environmental factors. Trauma therapy centers also report exposure to trauma as a contributing factor. Patients with mental illness might turn to substances to alleviate symptoms or self-medicate. Long-term substance use induces changes in the brain. These changes impact the regions of the brain responsible for anxiety, mood, and impulse control, increasing the probability of developing a mental illness.
Given the overlap, the lines between addiction and mental illness are blurry and sometimes indistinguishable. A patient must undergo detox and be sober for a while before a doctor makes an accurate diagnosis. A co-occurring mental health treatment center can identify some of the symptoms of the conditions, including:
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Loss of appetite or unusual eating habits
- Disinterest in hobbies and activities
- Irrational fears
- Poor personal care and loss of personal hygiene
- Cognitive distortion
- Suicidal ideation
- Risky behavior such as promiscuity or drug abuse
- Difficulty coping with reality when sober
- Difficulty at work or school
- Loss of time due to long periods of substance use and long recovery periods for the same
The similarity of risk factors and symptoms makes assessing co-occurring disorders inherently difficult. A co-occurring disorder and diagnosis treatment center in New Jersey will screen for mental illness and substance abuse when checked in for either.
An integrated treatment program is the best intervention for patients with a dual diagnosis. This treatment allows the use of both pharmacotherapeutic regimens and therapy to manage the symptoms and help patients rebuild a life free from the burden of both disorders. Some of the techniques used in the program are withdrawal management, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement, mutual support groups, and contingency management.
This integrated care model has statistically yielded more favorable outcomes, making it ideal for family system co-occurring treatment. Participants in the program stay sober for longer, are less symptomatic, more independent, better adapted to society, and ultimately happier. It has become the standard, with one in two treatment centers in New Jersey adopting it for co-occurring illnesses.
CTRLCare behavioral health has helped many people overcome their mental health and wellness problems. Please call us at 609-237-0088 for additional details about our treatment programs.