At one time, treatment for drug or alcohol addiction was considered to be separate from treatment for mental health disorders, and care was delivered at different facilities using radically different therapeutic approaches. As a result, many people who suffered from depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder or other serious psychiatric conditions never received treatment for their substance abuse. By the same token, many drug rehab graduates with co-occurring disorders often never received adequate care for their underlying mental health concerns.
Today, addiction specialists and mental health clinicians view co-occurring disorders treatment as a unique field in its own right. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that severe psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder affect up to 5 percent of Americans, and that as many as one in five Americans struggles with mental illness at some level.
Within that group, approximately 7 million also suffer from drug or alcohol addiction. Integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders is the key to protecting this group from the poverty, illness, isolation, incarceration and homelessness that often affect Dual Diagnosis individuals.
In facilities that emphasize treatment for co-occurring disorders, staff members have specialized training and qualifications in Dual Diagnosis treatment. These addiction specialists understand that clients with co-occurring disorders face certain challenges because of their mental illness.
Since the 1990s, the field of co-occurring disorders treatment has continued to grow.
In 2001, Dr. Kenneth Minkoff, a pioneer in the field of Dual Diagnosis treatment, published an article in Psychiatric Services outlining the best standards of care for co-occurring disorders. According to Minkoff, principles of effective care include:
When treatment for co-occurring disorders is combined with treatment for addiction, therapy sessions and group meetings can be structured to reflect the needs of those who are mentally ill. Symptoms like social anxiety, feelings of hopelessness or compulsive behavior don’t have to become an obstacle to care if these programs are tailored to the needs of clients with co-occurring disorders.
When you enter a drug or alcohol rehab program that specializes in treating co-occurring disorders, you should have a full range of options to choose from. The thought of trying to recover from a mental health disorder like depression or bipolar disorder can be overwhelming if you’re also faced with the work of recovering from addiction. That’s why a comprehensive treatment plan and a supportive team are essential to your success.
Having a disorder like bipolar disorder, depression or schizophrenia is no longer considered to be a reason for excluding clients from substance abuse treatment. At the same time, clients who abuse drugs or alcohol should not be excluded from psychiatric treatment because of a substance use disorder. But the fact remains that many drug rehab facilities don’t have the resources or the personnel to handle clients with psychiatric disorders.
If you’re seeking help for a co-occurring disorder, we offer the specialized care you’re looking for. Our centers rely on the latest therapeutic strategies for Dual Diagnosis rehab, such as the Foundations Model, to give our clients the very best chance of success. Contact one of our addiction specialists to find out how you can begin the process of recovery today.
Integrated Treatment of Substance Abuse & Mental Illness