Co-Occurring Disorders

Addiction to any substance or behavior can cause a great deal of anxiety and emotion. When the combination of addiction along with a mental health concern become too overwhelming, treatment that addresses both issues is often a worthwhile pursuit.
Mental illness does not discriminate. Disorders of thought and perception impact individuals of all backgrounds, class, age, race and type. Some disorders are related to physiological brain changes, while others may be caused by trauma, experiences, or even genetics. Every mental health disorder is unique, and advances in treatment make many mental health disorders quickly treatable.

Client Family Experience

When substance use and a mental health condition collide in a loved one, it may be difficult to determine the true cause of the problem.

Perhaps substance use triggers mental illness in some, while mental illness compels others to seek coping ability in substance use. No matter what issue arrived first, it is important to resolve both issues. Mental illness and substance use often work hand-in-hand to keep the individual trapped in a dangerous cycle.

Mental illness is a very difficult and often unpleasant experience for the person who suffers. Family members and loved ones may hesitate to question behaviors, and it may be easy to rationalize specific symptoms for a number of reasons. Individuals who are close to the person in need of help often feel helpless, confused, stressed-out, and concerned. The addition of substance use or other addictive behaviors only increases the danger and confusion of the situation.

Education and assessment for co-occurring addiction and psychiatric conditions is the first step in accurate treatment and successful recovery at The Canyon.We know that you have many choices when it comes to treatment, so we make every effort to educate patients and families about our many different approaches to healing. We carefully research and maintain education in the latest treatments for both substance use disorders and addiction in order to provide our patients an exceptional level of care. Our program specializes in co-occurring disorders in which a person struggles with an emotional or mental health concern along with an addiction concern.

Historically, co-occurring disorders were treated separately in non-integrated services. While singular focus in treatment is beneficial for an individual with one condition, the failure to treat the co-occurring disorder in those with more than one condition may exacerbate the problem and prolong recovery time. Without treatment for all issues in one safe location, stability and meaningful recovery for the individual is also delayed while time, hope and money slowly fade.

Treatment for one condition (such as addiction) is most successful when those underlying complications (such as mental illness) are treated at the same time, with the same top class treatment team.

Definitions and Implications of Co-Occurring Treatment

Diagnosis and treatment of co-occurring conditions focuses on both addiction recovery and the psychiatric well-being of each patient. While the co-occurring conditions are separate and independent, interaction between the conditions makes treatment and recovery more complex.Failure to address the co-occurring conditions may lead the individual to adopt unhealthy coping behaviors or lead to a worsening of the condition that is untreated.

Addiction and other disorders interact in a number of ways. Consider the following:
1) Addiction and psychiatric symptoms can occur at the same time, but arise from independent conditions.
2) Addiction can increase the severity of psychiatric and/or medical conditions (substance-exacerbated conditions).
3) Psychiatric conditions can increase the severity of the addiction (through self-medicating).
4) Addiction or withdrawal symptoms can mask or mimic a psychiatric disorder (for example, substance-induced mood swings can mimic bipolar disorder, withdrawal can mimic psychosis).

Co-occurring disorders are documented when an individual is affected by both substance addiction and psychiatric or emotional conditions. Other terms used to define this condition are “dual diagnosis” or “dual disorders”. The combination of addictive and psychiatric conditions may also be described as “co-morbidity” or “concurrent disorders”.

The use of the term “co-occurring disorders” is preferred as it is not limited by the stage, recognition of treatment or the number of disorders present. It is important to note that medical or health conditions may also be co-occurring, and need to be treated concurrently; however, physical conditions are not included in the definition of co-occurring disorders for the purpose of this discussion.

The prevalence of co-occurring conditions is difficult to accurately capture, but it is highly common. Furthermore, many people agree that the majority of individuals in treatment for addiction can benefit greatly from the insight and support that is offered by mental health treatment.

The Canyon Model of Care

It is The Canyon’s mission to provide the best clinical practices to serve individuals and their families in the treatment of co-occurring conditions. Our model of care recognizes the importance of proper diagnosis and treatment for co-occurring disorders.We consistently continue our training and understanding to keep up with the most recent and effective treatment methodology. Our goal is to provide evidence-based care that is backed by science, logic, and the latest research.

Each patient is offered a private consultation and interview, along with a full personal history, and physical exam at the beginning of treatment. From day one, each person is given an individualized treatment plan that is constantly updated to provide him or her the very best treatment possible.

Hope and Healing at The Canyon

Acknowledgement of co-occurring conditions allows for awareness, understanding, and the opportunity for change. Education and research on conditions that affect the body, mind, and spirit provide hope to those who experience a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. If the dually diagnosed individual is not ready for change, acknowledgement of the conditions by loved ones will nonetheless help to create an environment conducive to future wellness and healing.

The professional staff members of The Canyon stand ready to help those who struggle with co-occurring disorders. We would like to help you on your journey and assist in planning a course of treatment that will best suit the individual’s and family’s needs. If you have questions, please call our completely confidential helpline at any time.

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