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Co-Occurring Disorders and Treatment

Last Updated on December 16, 2019 by Inspire Malibu

Commonly known as dual diagnosis, co-occurring disorders are conditions in which a patient suffers from an addiction and a psychiatric disorder at the same time, for example alcoholism and depression existing simultaneously.

Co-Occurring Disorders

The 2011 USA National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 17.5% of adults with a mental illness had a co-occurring substance use disorder; this works out to 7.98 million people.

Another of the 2011 studies shows that only 12.4% of American adults with co-occurring disorders were receiving both mental health and addictions treatment.

Though this might sound unbelievable, it is indeed true. It is a global problem and needs to be worked upon at a faster rate. In this regard, a number of well trained medical professionals are trying their best to treat patients with effective methods.

Approaches For Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

There are several approaches to treating co-occurring disorders listed here, but only one offers the best chance for success in most cases.

  • Partial treatment that involves treating only the disorder that is considered primary.
  • Sequential treatment which involves treating the primary disorder first and treating the secondary disorder after the primary disorder has been stabilized.
  • Parallel treatment which involves the client receiving mental health services from one provider and addictions services from another.
  • Integrated treatment is the most effective of all types. This involves a seamless blending of treatments into a single systematic treatment package. In this approach, both disorders are considered primary.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Integrated Co-occurring Disorder Treatment can improve:

  • Accessibility
  • Service individualization
  • Engagement in treatment
  • Treatment compliance
  • Mental health symptoms
  • Overall outcomes

There are no two ways around the fact that one of these problems can be the root of the other one. Patients have many times reported that they drink because they are depressed.

Also, there are other kinds of patients who say that drugs remove them from the realities of life which then causes anxiety and other mental health issues.

Mental Health and Addiction Statistics

To support the statement, here are some statistics from a study conducted by the  Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA):

  • Roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse
  • Thirty-seven percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness
  • Of all people diagnosed as mentally ill, 29 percent abuse either alcohol or drugs

There are a number of rehabilitation centers that offer expert treatment for dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. They integrate mental health and addiction treatment modalities into a single, comprehensive program specifically designed to meet the individual patient’s condition.

As the cases of such patients are even more complex than those with a single condition, the treatment needs to be carried out with the utmost care.

For more information about Co-Occurring Disorders call Inspire Malibu or visit our Dual Diagnosis page for more details.


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