Substance use disorders are complex and often have many causes. They can be intertwined with various aspects of a person’s life and consequently, may be tied to someone’s mental health as well. When this goes beyond the typical struggles of early recovery, a person may need co-occurring disorder treatment.

What is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

A co-occurring disorder refers to when someone struggles with more than one disorder at the same time. These conditions are believed to be connected with one condition exacerbating symptoms or leading to the onset of the other. This term is often used to describe people experiencing mental health symptoms alongside a substance use disorder. Because the two conditions are intertwined, treatment for co-occurring disorders includes working through both conditions and exploring their comorbid relationship.

Similarly, a dual diagnosis refers to when someone is diagnosed with two separate conditions but is often applied to conditions outside of substance use. While the two may still be connected, dual diagnosis treatment may require different treatment because it involves two separate and often equally problematic diagnoses. Dual diagnosis treatment centers typically have both addiction and mental health treatment programs for this reason.

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Some common co-occurring disorders with substance use include:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

The Connection Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse

The relationship between mental health and substance use is complex, especially when multiple co-occurring disorders may be involved.

In some cases, mental health conditions may lead to addiction. When someone does not get the mental health care they need, they may turn to drugs or alcohol to help them cope with their symptoms. While they may find relief, the feeling is fleeting, and in many cases, substance abuse will make their mental health symptoms worse. As a result, people may increase the amount and frequency of abuse until addiction forms.

In other instances, substance abuse may lead to a mental health condition. Substance use often results in isolation and various problems in a person’s life that can lead to mental illness or worsen underlying mental health symptoms.

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Regardless of how each disorder began, outpatient or residential drug treatment programs alone will often be ineffective long-term. A dual diagnosis rehab or co-occurring disorder treatment program is necessary to ensure both conditions are cared for and the individual can find lasting success in recovery. Recognizing these conditions early can also make a big difference.

Signs Someone Need Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

Unfortunately, co-occurring disorders can be progressive. When left untreated, the problems surrounding these conditions could escalate to alarming and dangerous levels. The best way to avoid these issues is to get someone into mental health and addiction treatment at the first sign of a co-occurring disorder.

Some co-occurring disorder symptoms may include:

  • Using substances to cope with negative emotions
  • Social isolation
  • Risky and erratic behavior
  • A drastic change in personality
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidal idealization

If you or someone you care about is showing these signs of co-occurring disorders, get them help immediately.

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Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment at Vertava Health Massachusetts

As a co-occurring disorder treatment center in Massachusetts, we recognize that long-term sobriety is not possible without comprehensive healing. To help our patients find lasting success in recovery, we offer integrated co-occurring conditions treatment options.

Because co-occurring disorders can be complex and everyone is unique, every patient will begin their journey with us with a full assessment to determine the best level of care for them as well as their program needs. Throughout their treatment, these assessments will continue to not only monitor the patient’s progress but can also be used to make changes to their unique treatment plan when needed.

We use evidence-based treatment modalities that can be adjusted to be more in line with the mental health needs of the patient. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one such psychotherapy technique that can be especially effective during co-occurring disorder treatment as it focuses on breaking down negative thoughts that can perpetuate addiction.

Alongside these treatment modalities, patients will also have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities and services meant to enhance the treatment journey and aid in the recovery process. This diverse curriculum of programs promotes comprehensive healing and may boost overall well-being for some patients. Together these programs can build a solid foundation for lasting recovery.

Battling both substance abuse and mental health conditions can be daunting, but it is not something that anyone should do alone. If you or you’re a loved one needs help, our Massachusetts rehab center is here. Contact us today to learn more.