The Best Way To Manage Co-Occurring Mental Disorders For Long-Term Recovery

Manage Co-Occurring Mental Disorders - Addiction Hope

Contributed by Staff of Timberline Knolls

In the face of co-occurring mental disorders, vigilance and dedication to your treatment plan is foundational for long-term recovery. This includes carrying out the daily, tangible steps that are often necessary for emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and psychological soundness and well-being.

This process may involve:

  • Staying connected to ongoing support
  • Consistently taking prescribed medications
  • Following a meal plan for adequate nourishment
  • Making and keeping regular appointments with your health care professionals
  • And more

These practical and daily steps all contribute to an overall greater effort that helps achieve lifelong recovery. While there is no easy way out, the journey itself can be empowering, helping you find hope, restoration and healing from even the most vicious co-occurring disorders, one practical step at a time.

Finding Proper Treatment

Because of the complexities involved with co-occurring disorders, seeking out comprehensive and professional treatment is necessary for long-term recovery. You may be committing to a lifelong effort in the recovery process, but you do not have to go through the journey alone.

Working alongside addiction and mental health specialists can give you the foundation and tools you need to establish recovery for years to come. Consider working with an addiction treatment center that specializes in co-occurring disorders in order to effectively address and treat both an addiction and other mental health issues that may be present.

The Best Way to Manage Co-Occurring Mental Disorders for Long-Term Recovery

If you have struggled with substance abuse, you have likely encountered various challenges in your addiction recovery journey. The truth of the matter is that substance use disorder (SUD) arises from an array of complex factors, including factors that are out of your control, such as your genetic makeup.

Often at times, addiction is likely to occur alongside another mental illness, such as an eating disorder, mood disorder or personality disorder. This is known as a co-occurring disorder, and the presence of multiple mental illnesses can further exacerbate the complexities involved with recovery.

In fact, nearly 9 million people have a co-occurring disorder, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Yet, only 7 percent of these individuals get treatment for both conditions. And nearly 60 percent receive no treatment at all.


                                                         (Advertisement)

Diagnosing Co-occurring Disorders

As many as 6 in 10 substance abusers also have at least one other mental disorder.

Co-occurring disorders are sometimes difficult to diagnose, largely due to the symptoms often being complex and varying in severity. Consequently, most often patients end up receiving treatment for one disorder while the other continues to go untreated.

Since addiction and other mental disorder can have overlapping biological, psychological and social components, inadequate training or screening can make diagnosis difficult.

In such cases, achieving lasting sobriety is increasingly difficult. Further consequences of undiagnosed, untreated or under-treated co-occurring disorders is associated with a greater likelihood of experiencing homelessness, jail time, medical illnesses and even suicide.

However, this does not mean that long-term recovery is impossible to attain.

Long-term Approach to Recovery

When recovering from co-occurring disorders, it is easy to have a linear perspective. It seems logical that recovery proceeds in a step-wise fashion, beginning with a detox phase and ending in some form of outpatient care. However, the reality is that the recovery journey involves many ups and downs. This type of progression can be exhausting, especially if you do not have a long-term perspective toward your recovery.

Recovery from addiction and substance abuse often occurs through many levels of care for treatment, including inpatient care, residential treatment and intensive outpatient support. Each individual has a unique journey toward recovery, demonstrating that there is no single right way for achieving sobriety and long-lasting lifestyle changes.

Understanding Relapse

Relapse episodes are commonly experienced in addition recovery, though these circumstances can feel like tremendous setbacks in your own recovery journey. Odds are even higher for patients struggling with co-morbid disorders as symptoms can be more severe and persistent. If you have experienced a relapse – a return to addiction behaviors after a period of abstinence and/or improvement – know that this does not mean the end of your journey towards recovery.

While you may feel as if everything you have worked hard for has unraveled in the decision to use drugs or alcohol again, you can choose to make the next best decision that will get you back toward a life of freedom and healing.

Treating Co-occurring disorders

Research propagates that co-occurring conditions need to be treated simultaneously, with both medication and behavioral therapies, for the best outcomes. This approach is coined as integrated treatment that addresses both addiction and a mental health issue in an all-encompassing manner.

This is particularly important because with co-occurring conditions, there is no reliable way of finding out if the mental health condition triggered addiction or vice versa. Epidemiological research proposes that each can contribute to the development of the other.

Furthermore, early detection and research-based treatment of both conditions can significantly improve a patient’s recovery and quality of life. Studies on the underlying causes of these disorders, common risk factors, and potential interventions can enable recovery for this large population for whom substance abuse is only part of the problem.

Practical Steps to Manage Co-Occurring Mental Disorders

In the face of co-occurring mental disorders, perseverance and dedication to your treatment plan is fundamental for long-term recovery. This includes carrying out the daily, tangible steps that are often necessary for emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and psychological soundness and well-being.

This process may involve:

  • Staying connected to ongoing support
  • Consistently taking prescribed medications
  • Following a meal plan for adequate nourishment
  • Making and keeping regular appointments with your health care professional
  • Building a healthy, constructive support system

These practical and daily steps all contribute to an overall greater effort that helps achieve lifelong recovery. While there is no easy way out, the journey itself can be empowering, helping you find hope, restoration and healing from even the most vicious co-occurring disorders, one practical step at a time.

Finding Proper Treatment

Due to the complexities involved with co-occurring disorders, seeking out comprehensive and professional treatment is necessary for long-term recovery. You may be committing to a lifelong effort in the recovery process, but you do not have to go through the journey alone.

Working alongside specialists can give you the foundation and tools you need to establish recovery for years to come. Consider working with a treatment center that specializes in co-occurring disorders in order to effectively address and treat both an addiction and other mental health issues that may be present.


References

https://archives.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2007/02/addiction-co-occurring-mental-disorders

https://www.verywellmind.com/co-occurring-disorders-mental-health-and-addiction-4158280


Thank you to Timberline Knolls for providing this article.

Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center Banner

                                    (Advertisement)

Start Your Recovery Today: 630-755-5173 

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.


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.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 9, 2019
Originally published July 28, 2016. Current version updated with statistics, recent research & video.
Published on AddictionHope.com

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.