Co-occurring Disorder Programming

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Co-occurring Disorder Programming

Co-occurring disorder which commonly referred to as dual diagnosis, is the term used when describing an individual who is suffering from a substance use disorder and mental health disorder simultaneously.

Those who struggle with a mental health disorder are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs. Co-occurring disorders are often are misdiagnosed or difficult to diagnose due to the complexity of symptoms. Many of those who suffer from substance addiction and abuse see drinking and drugging as a way to ease their mental health issues. The self-medicating on drugs and alcohol often goes unnoticed until the substance use consumes all aspects of their life. If you or someone you know has been having these type of behaviors; professional treatment is needed as soon as possible.

There are many forms of co-occurring diagnoses because of the many different mental health disorders. Some of the common mental illnesses we see most commonly are explained below.

Depression and Substance Use Disorder

There are many moments when people experience periods of sadness, anger, and frustration, but there is a difference between this and what is actually diagnosed as clinical depression.

When the above symptoms start to interfere with normal life and last over a minimum of two weeks, this is when the depressive state can cause an issue. Clinical depression interferes with an individual’s normal life by having effects on functioning in society, work goals, personal and family relationships.

Signs of Depression Include:


Feeling of hopelessness

Loss of energy

Constant crying

Loss of appetite



Suicidal attempts or thoughts

Rapid weight gain or loss

Ignoring family and friends




For individuals suffering from a clinical depressive disorder, we often see those in active addiction self medicate in order to fill the gaps that depression brings. Individuals have many different vices to fill the feeling of emptiness that depression brings, some of these vices include gambling, sex, and alcohol/drug abuse. When the addiction and abuse begins to take over and make life unmanageable, addiction turns into a matter of life or death for the user.

Panic/Anxiety Disorders and Substance Use Disorder

As mentioned with previous co-occurring disorders, panic and anxiety is no different. Addiction and the mental disorder should be treated at the same time for an individual’s best results of healing. Those who suffer from an anxiety disorder or panic attacks are often experiencing extreme stress.

The most common symptoms of panic and anxiety attacks are:

Butterflies in stomach




Uneasy feeling


Hot flashes


Trouble regulating breathing

Rapid heart rate

In many co-occurring cases, we see the alcohol or drug addiction begin from an individual self medicating in response to the mental health disorder. For many people who struggle with panic and anxiety disorders and addiction, quitting drugs or alcohol can actually make their mental illness worse if not done with the proper treatment.

Bipolar Disorder and Substance Use Disorder

One of the more serious mental health disorders is Bipolar disorder, it is characterized by sudden and intense mood changes, irrational and erratic behavior, and drastic energy level changes. Bipolar disorder, can also be known as manic depression. The high energy level mood is known as mania or hypomania, and the low mood is known as depression.

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder


Erratic behavior

Trouble at work

Great mood with no reasoning

Inability to complete tasks

Rapid speech



Sleeping problems

Drug or alcohol abuse

Six million people in America are said to currently be suffering from Bipolar disorder, and of those six million it is estimated that close to 60% also suffer with drug or alcohol addiction/abuse. Alcohol is the most abused substance, with almost half of all addictive disorders that correlate with bipolar being alcoholism. In most co-occurring cases, the substance is abused in a form of self medication. Instead of therapy and proper medication, they turn to alcohol or drugs as a form of comfort.

When the addiction from self medication starts to spiral out of control, treatment is required immediately. Addiction affects all aspects of an individual’s life including family and personal relationships, work, mental and physical health, work, and the ability to live a normal life in society. The only way to ensure recovery from a co-occurring disorder is through a customized treatment plan and proper treatment.

Anxiety, Depression and Bipolar are not the only co-occurring disorders we see with addiction. These are other mental health disorders we often see when putting together a co-occurring disorder track at The Best Treatment:

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Use Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Substance Use Disorder
Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder and Substance Use Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder and Substance Use Disorder
Antisocial Personality Disorder and Substance Use Disorder
Dissociative Identity Disorder and Substance Use Disorder
Histrionic Personality Disorder and Substance Use Disorder

Dual Diagnosis Treatment from The Best Treatment Center

The best way to ensure recovery for those suffering from a co-occurring disorder in an individualized treatment program. At The Best Treatment Center all of our therapist are master’s level clinical staff who are experts in specialized treatment for patients who have co-occurring disorders. Our intensive co-occurring disorder treatment programs are created to treat both the mental health disorder and the substance use disorder together in one individualized treatment care plan.

The Dual Diagnosis treatment therapies we utilize at The Best Treatment Center are: 12-StepEMDR for TraumaCreative Arts TherapyYogaMindfulness, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. These therapies are provided both one-on-one and in peer group therapy sessions. The proper treatment program can be the determining factors of whether or not individual will be successful in their journey through recovery.

If you or someone you know struggles with substance use and mental health disorders, help is just a phone call away. Relax your Mind at The Best Treatment Center, Your Journey to Recovery Starts Now

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