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Two Times The Treatment: Persons With Co-Occurring Mental And Substance Abuse Disorders

In the past, care for persons with co-occurring mental and substance abuse disorders took place separately. These two conditions were handled in separate facilities often resulting in clients missing out on much needed care to address either their addiction problem or mental health issue. For instance, persons suffering with addiction problems all too often slipped through the cracks in diagnosing underlying mental health problems that contributed to their self-medication through substance abuse. Consequently, individuals diagnosed with mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia received the psychiatric care they needed, but lacked the addiction rehabilitation necessary to remain clean and sober.

Today, treatment for persons with co-occurring mental and substance abuse disorders is obtainable across the country. In fact, there is a wide range of treatment options available for persons with co-occurring mental and substance abuse disorders including: residential treatment, outpatient treatment, individual therapy, medication therapy, peer support groups, education and counseling for families, holistic therapies as well as a number of aftercare programs. Professionals in the field of addiction rehabilitation and mental health view co-occurring disorders as a specialized line of care. With as many as one in five Americans suffering with mental illness, the number of citizens struggling with both mental illness and substance addiction is estimated at approximately seven million persons. Studies reveal that an integrated treatment approach for persons with co-occurring mental and substance abuse disorders is the most effective in achieving lower relapse rates, reducing the number of suicide attempts and promoting long-term sobriety for graduates.

When an individual enrolls in a program focused on treatment for persons with co-occurring mental and substance abuse disorders they can expect the program's staff members to have specialized credentials. Staff members employed by these particular rehabilitation programs have training and qualifications in the field of dual diagnosis rehabilitation. They are addiction specialists and professionals with experience in understanding what is needed to help their program participants with co-occurring disorders face certain challenges due to their mental health conditions.

Recovery programs for persons with co-occurring mental and substance abuse disorders will often involve individual therapy sessions and group meetings. These therapy sessions and group meetings are able to be structured in such a way so that the mental health issue the individual is struggling with (social anxiety, depression, compulsive behavior, etc.) is addressed alongside the person's addiction rehabilitation needs. The need for medication to address the person's mental health issue is also incorporated into these specialized programs. For the recovering individual, the balance of getting the addiction treatment they need, and the stabilizing medication necessary to help with their mental health leads to a better quality of life for graduates of these types of programs.

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