A co-occurring disorder is any mental health disorder that occurs simultaneously with either substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder. Sadly, for most people, co-occurring disorders are both unknown and untreated. In an effort to limit the amount of mental and emotional anguish that they feel, many wind up self-treating in harmful and unsustainable ways. In a dual diagnosis treatment program, both issues are treated at once.
Even as people learn more about their addictions and develop new and healthier coping techniques, they’re also working to gain a better understanding of their mental health. When dual diagnosis programs are done, patients have ongoing and highly effective plans for avoiding relapse and for diligently managing their mental and emotional well-being. When co-occurring disorders exist, dual diagnosis treatment is believed to greatly reduce the risk of relapse.
Once underlying issues such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, general anxiety disorder, or depression are managed, there’s no need to continue self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. Dual diagnosis treatment also sets the stage for stable, successful, and ultimately high-quality lives. With mood balance and vastly improved mental health, people who receive dual diagnosis treatment have a better ability to actively participate in the world around them.
Co-Occurring Disorders and Relapse Rates
Relapse is a common and often expected part of the recovery process. However, understanding this doesn’t make relapsing any easier. Many people blame themselves for being weak-willed, unfocused, or even lazy when they enter into relapse. In reality, these experiences are often indicative of insufficient addiction treatment. Even if you spend several months in an inpatient facility where you have access to the top, evidence-based treatment modalities, your treatment could still fall short if you have a co-occurring disorder but never receive dual diagnosis treatment.
Absent a feasible and effective plan for maintaining mood balance and successfully managing your co-occurring disorder, you’ll always have a high risk of returning to old, self-harming behaviors. In addiction treatment, untreated co-occurring disorders are the top risk factor for relapse. Eliminating this risk factor through dual diagnosis is essential for staying the course.
Key Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment That Often Go Overlooked
The challenges of having a co-occurring disorder go far beyond experiencing mental and emotional discomfort that trigger the desire to use. Many co-occurring disorders cause problems like:
- Diminished focus
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of incentive
- Low self-esteem
- Impulse control
These are all challenges that can make it infinitely more difficult to remain sober after exiting treatment. Although patients will learn the right steps to take in recovery during rehab, they may not have the ability or the clarity of mind to complete them. Placing a focus on establishing and maintaining high levels of mental health first is key for ensuring positive outcomes in all areas. With an increased sense of self-worth, higher levels of motivation, better impulse control, and better focus, dealing with the temptations and challenges of the outside world without relapsing becomes possible.
Which Co-Occurring Disorders Are Addressed in Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Dual diagnosis treatment programs address all co-occurring mental health disorders that are recognized in the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). These include:
- Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- General anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Major depressive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
Rehab professionals also diagnose and treat all recognized personality disorders including schizoaffective personality disorder, bipolar personality disorder, and dependent personality disorder among others.
The Importance of Ongoing Mental Health Services
Much like substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder, many co-occurring disorders are chronic, lifelong conditions. Thus, although a person’s symptoms may improve with need-specific treatment, quitting prescribed medications or stopping other supporting therapies can prove disastrous. Not only can the unpleasant symptoms of co-occurring disorders return, but the risk of relapsing will automatically and significantly increase.
As such, all patients completing dual diagnosis treatment programs are encouraged to include ongoing mental health services in their relapse prevention plans and ongoing post-treatment support. If you’re tired of living with the pain of an untreated co-occurring disorder, we can help. Call us today at 833-610-1174 to find out more about rehab programs with in-house options in dual diagnosis treatment.