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Addiction Recovery Blog

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

Man struggling with addiction and mental health, wanting to treat co-occurring disorders

The use of drugs and alcohol have a strong correlation with mental health issues. Such substances can temporarily ease the pain of some mental health disorder symptoms. But in the long run, they can worsen the symptoms and even cause new mental health problems. Substance abuse often leads to physical and psychological changes. The stabilize or improve one’s mental state backfires.

Sometimes drug use can become part of the mental health disorder to the point where the two are indistinct from one another. This is what co-occurring disorders are at their core. The interaction between addiction and mental health disorders means that unless specialized treatment is applied, you only treat half of the problem. At Footprints Beachside Recovery, our dual diagnosis program can help treat both components of the co-occurring disorder effectively. Call us today at 727-954-3908 to learn how we can help.

Addiction and Mental Health

Many folks understandably try to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol when faced with difficult mental health issues. This can have a wide range of adverse effects, including making the mental health disorder worse and accelerating the addiction itself. For example, people who abuse alcohol can become more prone to depression and anxiety, while those who rely on stimulants like cocaine may experience paranoia.

The drug or alcohol use itself can become a mental health disorder, and it is important to treat both components of the co-occurring disorder. If either one is left untreated, it can have a negative effect on overall health and well-being.

Addiction primarily feeds on one thing: instant gratification. Take, for example, some of the most popular drugs, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines; all reward the brain with an almost immediate hit of pleasure. Even slower-burn substances like marijuana or alcohol still have a relatively quick turnaround time for improving an individual’s emotional state. This is essential for something to become addictive. Because of how we visualize rewards versus the potential for a reward, it can be difficult or unintuitive to pass up a short-term pleasure for a long-term one.

Mental health factors directly into this. It’s already hard as is to forgo short-term pleasure, but for someone with depression, where long-term pleasure is already sparse, the difficulty compounds even further. Using drugs can almost become a supplement to one’s emotional state, and stopping use can have disastrous consequences.

How Co-Occurring Disorders Are Treated

Co-occurring disorders are unique in their variability, with different combinations of substances and disorders leading to a massive number of potential diagnoses. However, an assessment will likely look at the drug’s role in prolonging or affecting the disorder before its standalone symptoms are examined. Understanding the rationale behind why a patient began drug use is the first step in breaking the chain.

Different styles of therapy are employed for dual diagnosis treatment, just as in standard substance use disorder care. These evidence-based practices are paired with a holistic approach to treatment that examines every potential aspect of necessary action.

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Trauma-informed groups
  • Nutritional and fitness-oriented care
  • Holistic therapy activities

Which of these strategies works best is something patients and our specialists discuss before even starting treatment. Everybody has a different experience with addiction and mental health, so accounting for those differences is part of effective care.

Find Dual Diagnosis Care at Footprints Beachside Recovery

We’ve spent over a decade helping people with co-occurring disorders overcome their hardest battles. At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we hope that our skills and expertise can be valuable to you or your loved ones. A dual diagnosis is an effective tool for addressing the compound nature of some patients’ addictions. Have questions for our team? Learn more about the treatment we provide by calling us today at 727-954-3908 or filling out our online form.

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