Mental Health

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

An estimated thirty to fifty percent of those diagnosed with an emotional or psychiatric disorder also struggles with substance abuse or dependence. Dual diagnosis, a term often used to describe someone who is suffering from both a mental health and substance use disorder, is therefore quite common amongst those that suffer from addiction. When diagnosed, these disorders do not co-exist separately but overlap each other in ways that are complex and not yet fully understood. The relationship between mental illness and substance abuse is often considered either a form of self-medicating or the cause or worsening of a mental health disorder.

Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders


There are many co-occurring or co-existing mental health disorders known to influence or be influenced by substance abuse or dependence. These include but are not limited to ADHD, depression, anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder. People suffering from one of these mental illnesses are more vulnerable than those without, to develop a substance use disorder. Undiagnosed, they may find relief from the symptoms caused by the mental illness when using a specific substance. In time, this can lead to abuse and addiction. Drugs and alcohol can also cause the onset of a mental health disorder. They can trigger the symptoms that define the mental illness due to a vulnerability of someone to a specific substance.

Relationship between chemical dependence and mental illness


There are many possible patterns known to exist between a substance dependence and a psychiatric disorder. As mentioned earlier, drug addiction increases the risk of developing/triggering mental illness. Vice versa, a mental health problem can cause a substance dependence when an individual suffering from a mental illness abuses a specific substance to self-medicate. In respect to treatment, both the psychiatric illness and substance use disorder may affect the duration of response to treatment of either disorder. In particular when the mental health problem is undiagnosed. Diagnosing a mental illness can be quite challenging, especially during the onset of addiction treatment, as both disorders present symptoms that frequently overlap. For example, users of hallucinogens may become psychotic and present symptoms that overlap schizophrenia or cocaine addicts may experience depression during the onset of treatment. In any case, treatment should address both illnesses as either one can contribute to a relapse when left untreated to drugs or alcohol or the psychiatric disorder. Depending on the circumstances, the treatment of co-occurring disorders can be provided for sequentially or simultaneously.

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

We recognize the high prevalence of dual diagnosis amongst our clients seeking treatment for alcohol or drug addiction. To address any co-occurring disorders, our rehabs employ a team of mental health professionals including psychiatrists and psychologists along with addiction counselors with decades of experience in treating dual diagnosis. Our advanced treatment model allows us to offer tailor-made addiction treatment plans that address mental health problems so they can be treated simultaneously. Treatment of dual diagnosis may include psychotherapy, psychoeducation, and psychopharmacology in case psychiatric drugs are needed to treat any mental illness. Other, complementary therapies will be incorporated when considered conducive to the individual’s healing process. When diagnosed, dual diagnosis needs to be treated at a facility able to tailor a treatment plan according to the personal and therapeutic needs of the individual. Our private, luxury rehab facilities meet all the criteria and more to ensure each client a treatment pathway considered among the best available today.