Co-Occurring Disorders: How Do I Know Residential Treatment is Right for Me?

Woman on a cliff fighting co-occurring disorders

Contributor: Megan Wilson, BS, CADC,  Timberline Knolls 

There are many levels of treatment for those with co-occurring disorders and addictions. An individual usually begins with outpatient therapy. However, if their life remains unmanageable, residential care may be required.

Some signs of unmanageability are feeling unable to accomplish daily tasks such as attending work or school, unable to complete household obligations, or repeated unsuccessful attempts to abstain from unhealthy coping behaviors.

Grades or work performance may have started to decline, isolation may become the norm, or substance use may be on the increase. Due to denial (rationalizing, minimizing, or justifying), a person might not be fully aware of how their disorders have impacted their life.

Yet, loved ones or a therapist may have noticed these patterns and recommended residential treatment.

The Support of Residential Treatment

Entering residential treatment can be viewed as placing life on pause for a small amount of time. Certainly, there may be concerns about taking a leave of absence from work, needing to find care for children, stepping away from responsibilities and adding to the ones of a significant other, or missing out on life events such as birthday parties or vacations.

All of those concerns are reasonable anGirl looking at beach in Treatment for Co-Occurring Disordersd valid. Yet the long-term positive impact of receiving the care a person truly requires to get well outweighs these issues.

Residential treatment provides the structure and support required for stabilization and allows an individual to focus on recovery. Residential care offers an entire treatment team to address co-occurring disorders such as substance use, eating disorders, mood disorders, etc.

The team typically consists of a psychiatrist, primary therapist, family therapist, specialists, and dietitians, who meet with both the resident individually and in group settings. These team members work together to provide holistic and comprehensive care.

With co-occurring disorders, it is critical to ensure that all illnesses are addressed in treatment. This includes learning skills and the application of skills to continue on the path to a meaningful life.

These tools ultimately allow individuals to be more mindfully present for the events and activities that they were hesitant to leave in order to seek treatment in the first place.

Creating a Stable Foundation For Life

Woman jumping over rocks since she completed Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Residential treatment provides means to a stable foundation for life. Because there are a variety of programs, a therapist may recommend a specific facility or research can be conducted online.

This type of treatment program can really focus on the cause of one’s opiate addiction, methamphetamine addiction, depression, or other co-occurring disorder, and help begin the healing.

Some facilities integrate dance movement therapy, art therapy, recreational therapy, 12-step, and dialectical behavior therapy into programming for co-occurring disorders.

The admissions department will be able to answer questions and determine if a person would be appropriate for their program and level of care.


Thank you to Timberline Knolls for providing this article.

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Timberline Knolls is a leading residential treatment center for women and adolescent girls, ages 12 and older, with eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, mood and co-occurring disorders. Located in suburban Chicago, residents receive excellent clinical care from a highly trained professional staff on a picturesque 43-acre wooded campus. An adult partial hospitalization program (PHP) is also available in nearby Orland Park, Ill., for women to step down or direct admit. For more information on Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, call 630-755-5173. We are also on Facebook – Timberline Knolls, LinkedIn – Timberline Knolls and Twitter – @TimberlineToday.


About the Author:

Megan Wilson photo

Megan Wilson, BS, CADC has been working at Timberline Knolls since 2013.  She facilitates psycho-educational group therapy, completes substance use assessments, and takes on the leadership role of the Addictions Specialist team.

She also individually meets with residents to support a better understanding and application of 12-step recovery.


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions.

These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on May 9, 2019
Published on AddictionHope.com

About Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Jacquelyn Ekern founded Addiction Hope in January, 2013, after experiencing years of inquiries for addiction help by visitors to our well regarded sister site, Eating Disorder Hope. Many of the eating disorder sufferers that contact Eating Disorder Hope also had a co-occurring issue of addiction to alcohol, drugs, and process addictions.