A Co-occurring disorder, often referred to as a dual diagnosis disorder, is a condition in which an individual who is suffering with a chemical addiction also has a co-existing mental disorder. Until recently, it has been the practice of the mental health industry to treat co-occurring disorders separately. However, a surge in pragmatic and empirical evidence supporting integrated treatment programs has resulted in new integrated treatment systems that are designed to treat individuals who are suffering with co-occurring disorders simultaneously and holistically, through comprehensive and individualized programs. These integrated programs have resulted in a positive prognosis for treating co-occurring disorders, leading to a higher rate of successful recovery for individuals struggling with this condition.
The Importance of Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Co-occurring Disorders
Successfully treating co-occurring disorders begins with the proper diagnosis of the existing conditions, which is best accomplished through the process of integrated screening. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, integrated screening is a brief process that occurs immediately after the individual seeks assistance, and this process is essential in increasing the chance of a successful recovery from the existing conditions. Integrated screening primarily consists of the following:
- Establishing the presence of a co-occurring disorder, or conversely ruling out a dual diagnosis disorder
- Ascertaining the individual’s preparedness to engage the process of change
- Identifying any problematic areas that may serve to create a challenge to treatment modalities that will be used to treat the existing conditions
- Establishing the early process of developing the appropriate treatment relationship necessary to facilitate the recovery process
It is during the assessment process that information that will prove to be integral to the treatment process will be compiled. This information will be passed on to the treatment professionals, enabling them to design an individualized treatment program that will prove efficacious in engaging all existing substance abuse and mental disorders.
Signs and Symptoms of Co-occurring Disorders
Family and loved ones that are directly engaged with a person who may be struggling with co-occurring disorders will be in a position to observe signs and symptoms that are indicative of dual diagnosis disorders, possibility expediting the process of seeking treatment and initiating the process of recovery. Some of the common signs and symptoms of co-occurring disorders include:
- Maladaptive patterns of substance use that are manifested through recurrent adverse consequences that are severe in nature
- The inability to adapt when encountering the negative consequence of drug use
- Chronic substance abuse, even when there are no negative consequences to speak of
- The presence of inexplicable behavior that may be indicative of mental confusion
- Irrational choices
The transition to integrated treatment of co-occurring disorders has resulted in a substantial improvement in the rate of success in treating these conditions. Additionally, statistics reveal that individuals who have co-occurring conditions are more likely to seek help. While suffering with co-occurring conditions is a serious issue, the new integrated approach presents a positive prognosis for proper diagnosis and treatment – seeking help is the key. Call us at 877-466-0620 to learn more.