A Complete Guide to Co-Occurring Disorders and Substance Abuse - Newport Paper House


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A Complete Guide to Co-Occurring Disorders and Substance Abuse

Co-occurring disorders (or co-occurring conditions) are mental health disorders that frequently occur with other mental health conditions. Typically, a co-occurring disorder is one that occurs along with another mental health disorder. Two mental health disorders could occur together, such as an anxiety disorder with depression or an anxiety disorder with another anxiety disorder. The presence of two or more of these disorders can make it hard to live a normal life.

The prevalence of co-occurring disorders is between 12%-20% in the United States. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 5 people with a severe mental illness also have a substance abuse problem.

Let us learn some quick facts about co-occurring disorders and substance abuse:

1. What are the symptoms of co-occurring disorders and substance abuse?

The symptoms, or signs, of co-occurring disorders and substance abuse are common problems that can affect anyone with a certain disorder. The symptoms of co-occurring disorders include physical and psychological changes, such as:

1.1 - Emotional changes, such as: becoming angry, irritable, sad, or anxious. The warning signs of co-occurring disorders and substance abuse are often the first signs that someone has a problem with drugs or alcohol.

1.2 - Difficulty sleeping

1.3 - Changes in appetite

1.4 - Hallucinations

2. How to treat co-occurring disorders and substance abuse?

Here are four different treatment approaches for co-occurring disorders:

I.            Inpatient treatment

Inpatient treatment is often the best option for adults to obtain the help they need to overcome addiction and co-occurring disorders. Inpatient treatment provides an opportunity to provide recovery support for longer (often including several weeks of recovery stays). Inpatient treatment is also known as a medically-supervised treatment program or treatment center.

II.            Counseling

Counseling treats co-occurring disorders by developing a safe environment for individuals to learn, explore and practice ways to stop using addictive substances. It also helps increase communication between all parties involved, including families, peers, service providers, and counselors. Counseling helps clients to build sustainable, transformational, long-lasting relationships and gain long-term, positive results in their lives.

III.            Self-help

Self-help groups have enabled many people to make changes in their lives. They usually involve people working together to identify, process, and manage problems. Self-help brings people together and provides a sense of safety. It also fosters a new understanding of the power and importance of peer support and the connections that can develop among participants, which results in real, long-lasting change.

IV.            Substance abuse prevention

The co-occurrence of substance use disorders and other disorders is an example of co-occurring disorders. Substance abuse prevention seeks to treat co-occurring disorders rather than just substance use disorder. Its main goal is to eliminate the chance of relapse and improve the quality of life of those addicted to substances. These prevention programs typically focus on treating co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety or depression, rather than just treating the substance abuse itself.

3. What are the advantages of co-occurring disorders and substance use treatment?

Let us look at the six major advantages of treating co-occurring disorders and substance abuse together:

3.1 - Multiple addictions can be treated at once. Someone who is addicted to multiple substances at once is known as a poly addict, or as some struggling with polysubstance abuse. Substances often have a synergistic effect. For example, drug screens and urinalysis tests often indicate that people who use drugs and alcohol simultaneously are at a greater risk of abusing both. When you treat co-uccuring substance abuse, you are treating underlying issues that contribute to each addiction.

3.2 - Substance abuse commonly shares the same underlying causes and, therefore, can be managed with the same therapeutic strategies. This means that treatment for co-occurring disorders and substance abuse can be delivered in the same program, which can save time and money.

3.3 - Co-occurring disorders and substance abuse can develop at the same time and occur together, making them easier to identify and treat. Because people with both issues often have a hard time identifying which is causing their symptoms, they are less likely to seek help. Addressing both issues together makes it feel far more manageable.

3.4 - It is a more effective way to treat both disorders in a single treatment program that can reduce the stigma often associated with substance abuse. A person with a co-occurring disorder might feel ashamed or embarrassed, but they are unlikely to feel the same about someone without drug-use problems.

Summing up:

It is important to remember that counselors should take a holistic view when formulating a treatment plan for a patient. This means that a counselor should not solely focus on "curing" the addictions but also on other issues causing the co-occurring disorder in the first place.

NuLease Medical Solutions is a reputed care provider that helps people manage their addictions and start new lives. If you or your loved ones have any symptoms of substance abuse, you can contact them!

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