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What Does it Mean to Treat Co-Occurring Disorders?

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Mental health conditions take many different forms, and you’ve likely heard of people that have several types at once. For instance, depression and anxiety often go hand in hand, and people sometimes attempt to mask the symptoms of a mental health disorder with drugs or alcohol. For this reason, you will find that the most effective addiction recovery facilities incorporate programs that include co-occurring disorder treatment. Understanding how this type of treatment works helps you choose a program that fits your needs to improve your overall mental wellbeing.

Types of Mental Health Issues That Occur With Addiction

Certain mental health conditions tend to occur more often in people with addiction than others. Post-traumatic stress syndrome is one type of mental health disorder experienced by people who struggle with healing from a trauma, and anyone from a military veteran to a child could struggle with this type of disorder. People with depression often turn to alcohol to cope with their symptoms, and schizophrenia is associated with drug abuse.

Ways Co-Occurring Disorders Impact Addiction Treatment

Co-occurring disorder treatment focuses on helping you learn how to cope with your symptoms of mental health conditions so that you can end your addiction to drugs or alcohol. When a mental health disorder goes untreated, you may mistake the symptoms as a need to use addictive substances. In some instances, your addiction can also make your mental health issues worse. For example, anxiety is a common withdrawal symptom for many drugs, and you need professional help to cope with this feeling while you begin your addiction recovery.

How to Identify Mental Health Disorders

One of the first things that happens when you visit a treatment facility is a thorough assessment of both your physical and mental health. This process includes answering questions about your past mental health experiences as well as what you go through on a daily basis. Be sure to be honest as you speak with the counselors so that they can correctly identify mental health disorders that could affect your recovery. Remember that your prospects for successful treatment depends upon treating all of the underlying causes for your addiction.

While you should never attempt to diagnose a mental health disorder on your own, it does help to know these symptoms that could be experienced if you struggle with co-occurring disorders.

  • Mood swings
  • Lethargy
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Social withdrawal

If you notice these symptoms, be sure to mention them to the staff at your drug and alcohol treatment facility so that you can be assessed for mental health disorders.

Treatment Options When You Have Multiple Disorders

Once your assessment is complete, you receive a treatment plan that includes different types of therapy to help your recovery from all of your conditions. Individual counseling is one type of treatment that allows you to speak one-on-one with a counselor about the challenges that you encounter in life. This type of treatment is especially effective for helping people with addiction heal co-existing issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Group therapy and recreational activities also help you minimize the symptoms of mental health conditions, and some people may require medication to address issues such as schizophrenia or severe depression.

Tips to Improve Your Mental Health During Addiction Recovery

Your time in a treatment facility is designed to make every moment count. While you can expect to work hard in your counseling sessions, you must also look at this as a time when you can completely focus on yourself. Be sure to take advantage of all of the therapy options that are offered to help you transition through each stage of recovery. If you believe that going home too soon may lead to a relapse, then talk to your counselors about attending a sober living facility where you can continue to receive treatment for co-occurring disorders.

The connection between other mental health disorders and addiction is clear. While dealing with multiple disorders at the same time does present your challenges, the good news is that there are options available to find support throughout your treatment. By making the choice to fully address all of your mental health conditions at once, you can finally achieve a happier and healthier life.

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