Co-occurring disorders are a major problem in Washington State. It's actually quite common for people to suffer from them without realizing it. When an individual has an addiction, that addiction has a cause. More often than not, it's because of a co-occurring mental illness.
It might seem strange now, but at one time, these conditions were only treated separately from each other. That caused a lot of problems for patients. These were individuals who desperately needed help for both their addictions and their mental health conditions. Even so, they generally had to wait to get help for the mental illness while the addiction was addressed first.
To make matters even worse, the conditions were often treated at separate facilities. It was not uncommon for patients to have to wait for openings at the next facility. This made them prime candidates for a relapse, which started the cycle all over again.
Although there are some facilities that still adhere to the "old" way, there has been a lot of progress. Many addiction treatment centers have become educated on dual diagnosis. This means that patients are receiving better treatment today than ever before.
Here at Northpoint Washington, dual diagnosis treatment is something we specialize in. We understand how important it is for people to receive the treatment they need. We also know that treating the root cause of an addiction is critical for recovery.
However, you only ever received treatment for one condition at a time. It's also possible that you've never received any type of treatment before. You're looking for something that will work well for your recovery.
Understanding co-occurring disorders and the treatment that is available to you is so important. In fact, it might be the first step in helping you get the addiction treatment you need.
When someone is diagnosed with a mental health condition and a substance use disorder, that individual has a co-occurring disorder. A substance use disorder includes an addiction to any type of drug or alcohol. There are a number of different mental health conditions that someone can present with.
Of course, it's not always necessary to have a formal mental health diagnosis to have a co-occurring disorder. Many people come to addiction treatment centers for help with their addictions without a diagnosis. Some of them have lived their entire lives struggling with mental health symptoms. It just never occurred to them to get help for them.
This is very unfortunate. So many people learn the false belief that having a mental illness is just their lot in life. They may know that others don't struggle the way they do, but they view their challenges as being normal. To cope, they make the decision to start using drugs or alcohol.
Both ways are very typical, and both define what co-occurring disorders are.
It's quite possible that you're suffering from a co-occurring disorder, but you aren't sure. You've never gotten an official diagnosis, but you can sense that something isn't right. It's important for you to identify where there might be a problem. That way, you can be sure to get the help you need.
There are several different types of co-occurring disorders. Each one has its own symptoms. Keep in mind that sometimes, these disorders do overlap. It's not uncommon for people to be suffering from more than one of them at a time.
Depression is defined as a condition that involves long periods of sadness, hopelessness and worthlessness. There are several different types of depression. People who have depression often suffer from:
General anxiety, or generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by periods of excessive worry. Individuals often worry about everyday life, without reason to. Worries can be related to family, friends, finances, work, health, etc.
Symptoms of general anxiety include:
A panic disorder is different from general anxiety. It involves sudden attacks that occur without warning. These attacks can be triggered by various circumstances. However, they often occur during times of total relaxation.
Symptoms of panic disorder include:
PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs when someone has lived through a traumatic event. The disorder can begin soon afterwards, or symptoms may not begin to develop for several months.
Symptoms of PTSD include:
There are several different types of eating disorders. However, they are all characterized by having an unhealthy relationship with eating and food. For someone with an eating disorder, he or she constantly obsesses about food.
Symptoms of an eating disorder include:
People who suffer from bipolar disorder often cycle through different shifts in their moods. These cycles can be manic or they can be depressive. Most people with bipolar disorder are in the depressive state most of the time.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder include:
OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder is a type of anxiety. It is characterized by repetitive thoughts and behaviors. Those with OCD are generally forced to participate in rituals to help control their disturbing thoughts.
Symptoms of OCD include:
There are many different types of personality disorders. As a whole, they are characterized by rigid patterns of behaviors and thoughts. These patterns are not flexible, and they can occasionally interfere in one's quality of life.
Symptoms of personality disorders include:
People with schizophrenia aren't always aware that they have it. Symptoms can come and go. When many symptoms are present, it may be difficult to tell the difference between what's imaginary and what's real.
Symptoms of schizophrenia may include:
ADD or ADHD are conditions that are generally thought to happen within children. However adults can suffer from them as well. Their symptoms may be more subtle than in children.
Symptoms of adult ADHD/ADD may include:
Postpartum depression should not be confused with the "baby blues." This is a short period of time while hormones are adjusting for a new mother. Postpartum depression is a severe form of depression that lingers after a baby is born.
Symptoms of postpartum depression include:
Seasonal affective disorder is also known as seasonal depression. It is a type of depression that occurs during the fall and winter months. It may be caused by certain changes in the brain that can occur during this time of the year.
Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder can include:
Social anxiety occurs when someone experiences a lot of stress during social situations. Things like making eye contact or small talk with others cause a great deal of discomfort. This condition can be debilitating to those who suffer from it.
Symptoms of social anxiety include:
There are several different types of sleep disorders people may suffer from. Not getting good, restful sleep can interfere with one's quality of life. It's also necessary for optimal health.
Symptoms of a sleep disorder include:
Cyclothymic disorder is a type of bipolar disorder. However, it is much more mild. Those who have it may have mild depression at times, and then switch to hypomanic episodes. The patterns of mood shifts tend to be irregular.
Symptoms of cyclothymic disorder include:
There are a number of different sexual disorders people may suffer from. These are mental illnesses that quickly take over their lives. These disorders tend to become worse before they get better. They can quickly become addictions themselves.
Symptoms of sexual disorders may include:
When someone suffers from a phobia, they experience an irrational fear of something. This usually surfaces as a sense of dread or panic when that fear is encountered. There are several different types of phobias.
Symptoms of phobias may include:
When any of the above occur alongside addiction, the situation only becomes worse. It's easy to see why so many people would choose to use drugs or alcohol to cope. However, doing so is not going to result in long-term recovery. If anything, it will only add to the problems the mental illness already causes.
Co-occurring disorders are diagnosed much more often than most people think. There are so many people in the United States who suffer from mental illnesses. For many of them, using drugs or alcohol offers them an easy way of escaping reality.
According to SAMHSA:
It's clear by these statistics that mental illnesses and addictions often go hand in hand. Sometimes, addictions are caused by everyday, normal stress. However, they are frequently caused by mental problems that people are completely unaware of.
There is no one right answer to this question. Scientists aren't at all sure about the exact cause of co-occurring disorders. However, they do have some ideas about what might cause mental illnesses. The mental illnesses themselves often lead to addictions.
There are a number of risk factors associated with mental illnesses. These can include:
It's difficult to say which condition happens first. Sometimes people will self-medicate their mental illnesses with substances. For example, someone with depression might be very prone to drinking alcohol. For a while, the alcohol tends to help make the symptoms easier to deal with.
The opposite is also true. Using substances in excess can lead to mental illnesses too. In these individuals, their mental illnesses might have remained dormant for a long time. Using drugs or alcohol only caused their symptoms to emerge more quickly.
People with dual diagnoses are very likely to abuse certain substances. They tend to choose their substances based on their symptoms. For them, the goal is to help themselves feel better. So, for someone with anxiety, that individual might choose something to help them calm down.
Some of the most commonly abused substances for those with dual diagnoses include:
If you have a co-occurring disorder, you probably didn't think there was any other way to help yourself. Your goal was to treat your symptoms and feel better; even for a short time. However, what you probably have found out was that it doesn't work well for long.
Perhaps you're someone who has never been dually diagnosed. You may suspect that you have mental illness, but you're just not sure. You know that your drug or alcohol use has gotten out of hand, and you know you need treatment. How do you know whether or not you have a co-occurring disorder?
It can be very helpful to answer some questions about your mental illness and your substance abuse. Your answers may determine whether or not you have a co-occurring disorder in need of treatment.
Answer the following as honestly as you can.
If you answered many of these questions with a yes, it's quite probable that you have a co-occurring disorder.
If you do have a co-occurring disorder, it's important for you to get the right kind of treatment. Getting treated at a facility that specializes in integrative addiction treatment is preferred. That way, both conditions can be treated at the same time. This will give you a better chance of long-term recovery.
There are so many benefits to going to a dual diagnosis treatment center. This type of treatment has proven to be effective, time and time again. Patients who have received separate treatments immediately notice the difference. They feel better faster, and they have more hope for a longer, sustained recovery.
Dual diagnosis treatment can benefit you in a number of ways. These include:
For those who opt for integrative addiction treatment, they immediately find that their treatment plans are different. They are targeted specifically for each patient. The negative side effects of mental health conditions are addressed and overcome. For those who need medication therapy, integrated treatment is a great option. There are many medications that can be used to help with both conditions.
The various types of therapy that are available for those who are dually diagnosed make such a difference. They provide patients with a high level of support, which is desperately needed at this stage. People learn to:
As far as your treatment goes, you can choose from a number of different options. Not every method is right for everyone, and it's important to find what you need. Your recovery should be the first thing on your mind. That means that if a treatment option is recommended for you, it's right for you. Even if you don't agree with it, it's important to give it an honest chance.
The different methods of dual diagnosis treatment include:
During inpatient treatment, patients stay at a facility for a period of about 30 days. This gives them time to get acclimated to a new way of thinking. It helps them to focus on addressing their addictions and the causes of them. People are often nervous about going to an inpatient treatment facility. They may worry about being far away from their families or friends. They may be concerned about taking time off from work, or missing out in other ways.
For many people, inpatient treatment is the best approach when recovering from an addiction. It is especially helpful for those who need dual diagnosis treatment.
There are outpatient clinics that focus on treating co-occurring disorders. It's important to remember that outpatient treatment isn't always right for someone who is new to rehab. This form of treating addiction is usually reserved for those who have completed an inpatient program. Even so, there are times when it is appropriate.
During outpatient treatment, patients meet with a therapist regularly. There may or may not be support groups offered as well. The focus will be on addressing the source of the addiction.
Intensive outpatient treatment is a form of rehab that allows patients to still live at home. Even so, they still receive a very high level of care. Appointments may be held several times a week, and the hours are flexible. This makes it perfect for someone who can't go to inpatient treatment because of work.
Intensive outpatient treatment has made it possible for many people to get a high level of support.
Detoxification is a process that will be utilized for patients, depending on their addictions. There are some addictions that require it, such as alcoholism and prescription drug addictions. For others, it is often recommended.
The goal of detox is to address the physical side of the addiction. This helps to improve overall patient outcomes during recovery.
Residential treatment or long-term treatment is often needed for those with co-occurring disorders. These facilities are for those who need longer to recover than 30 days. They are all very different from one another. Some allow patients to continue working while they live at the facility.
For patients whose home situations are not therapeutic, long-term treatment offers them hope. For these individuals, recovery is much more likely.
There are several different treatment methods that are used at dual diagnosis treatment centers. Research has shown that a varied treatment plan offers more hope for a successful recovery. Of course, all patients are screened for the types of services they need. Even so, many patients receive some variation of the following:
For most people with dual diagnoses, inpatient treatment is the right option for them. They may feel resistant to making that change in their lives, or making that commitment to treatment. However, there are just so many different benefits to be experienced.
Those who choose to go to inpatient treatment for their co-occurring disorders will find that:
If you're feeling nervous about the thought of going to an inpatient treatment facility, there's no need to be. The goal is to care for all of your needs during rehab. This is time that you can take for yourself, which you probably haven't had in quite some time. By investing in your recovery now, you will reap the benefits years down the road.
If you opt for inpatient treatment, it will last about 30 days or so. However, many people make the mistake of thinking that is when their journey ends. It is actually just the beginning.
Ongoing treatment is essential for you if you have a co-occurring disorder. Your addiction is a disease. This is something that is very hard for people to understand. If you think about your addiction as being just like diabetes or heart disease, it can be helpful. Diseases require ongoing treatment in order to control them. Unless ongoing treatment is obtained, a relapse is very likely.
For you, this might mean continuing to go to some form of outpatient treatment after completing inpatient rehab. Many people benefit from a step-down approach. They may enroll in an intensive outpatient treatment program first. Eventually, they will start to attend outpatient counseling and a 12 Step group.
Even though your recovery journey is just beginning, you're making the right decision to start it now. You'll find that it will be the most rewarding journey you ever take.
Someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol should always be concerned about relapsing. This is even truer when that person has a co-occurring disorder. Additionally, relapse is very likely for those who don't get treatment for both conditions together. These individuals are not receiving the integrated care they need. Integrative addiction treatment is what makes recovery a possibility.
Professionals who are experienced with dual diagnosis treatment understand the importance of getting the right kind of help. When help is obtained separately, it's common for the two types of therapies to contradict each other. This can lead to confusion in the mind of the patient.
Relapsing can be very dangerous, and it's something that should be avoided at all costs. If you were to relapse back into your drug or alcohol use, you are at a very high risk for an overdose. This is also the main reason why cold turkey quitting is so discouraged. Unless the root cause of the addiction is addressed, recovery is unlikely.
Getting the right kind of treatment from the beginning will help people avoid relapsing. It will also improve their chances of recovering from both conditions.
There are many different dual diagnosis treatment programs to choose from. That can make it difficult to know what you should be looking for. Not all of these programs are created the same. It can be so helpful for you to identify what you need.
If you're searching for treatment for a co-occurring disorder, you should look for facilities that:
When a family member is suffering with an addiction and a mental illness, it's heartbreaking. You might not know what to do, or how you can help. Situations like this can be paralyzing. Maybe you've tried to have a conversation with your loved one about the problem. However, nothing you say seems to make any difference at all.
In cases like this one, you need a solution. Many facilities offer intervention services, and we offer them at Northpoint Washington. During an intervention, you'll be instructed on what to say to your loved one. You'll learn how to set limits, appeal to his or her emotions, and encourage treatment.
Interventions have been very helpful for many people. They work very well when other methods have failed. After the intervention is over, your family member will even be able to go to treatment immediately.
This might be something you want to consider if you are desperate for an answer. Help is available for your family member, and an intervention can make such a difference.
Right now, you may be feeling scared about what will happen to you if you continue down the same path. Whether you've been dealing with this problem for a month, or several years, you know you need help. Making the decision to go to treatment is difficult, but it's a challenge that you can overcome.
For so many people, their mental health issues make it hard for them to reach out. They may even admit they have a problem, but they're nervous about going to treatment. Maybe that's how you feel as well. You'll be happy to know that there is nothing for you to be afraid of. So many people have taken the risk and gotten help for their co-occurring disorders. For the vast majority of them, it was the best decision they've ever made.
Here at Northpoint Washington, we offer dual diagnosis treatment that will meet you where you are. Regardless of what type of substance you use, or what your mental health issue is, we can help you. We have been able to help so many people who felt like they had hit rock bottom. They thought there was no hope for them. Maybe you can identify with that feeling. We can promise you that our commitment to helping you recover is strong. We'll be with you every step of the way.
Give it a Rating!