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Co-Occurring Disorder Assessment and Addiction Treatment

treatmentAlcohol or drug addiction can sometimes be a symptom of other problems, such as a mental health disorder like depression or anxiety. When you seek help for drug or alcohol abuse, the counselor you talk with may perform a co-occurring disorder assessment to determine whether you have other issues that require treatment along with the addiction. Co-occurring disorder assessment helps your counselor to understand your needs and gives you the chance to talk about some of the feelings that may be motivating your behavior. This type of intake evaluation can provide the mental health professional with the necessary information to create an individualized treatment plan for you. Each patient at a recovery program has a different treatment plan depending on their needs, the severity of addiction, and mental and physical health condition.

If you’re struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, don’t fight it alone. Consider calling 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? or filling out a quick contact form so you can begin to explore your needs and get the help that’s appropriate for you.

What are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Any mental or emotional distress that goes along with drug or alcohol abuse may be a sign of a co-occurring disorder. Co-occurring disorders are usually treatable with therapy and/or medication. Treating these problems is vital to your success as you work to overcome drug or alcohol addiction.

Common co-occurring disorders include:

  • Depressive disorders, including major depression disorder and bipolar disorder. People who suffer from depression often have both physical and psychological symptoms. Excessive guilt, sadness or anger, feelings of worthlessness, lack of interest in things the person once enjoyed and suicidal thoughts are psychological symptoms of depression. Depressed people sometimes feel tired no matter how much sleep they get. They may overeat or under-eat and oversleep or under-sleep. People who suffer from bipolar disorder move back and forth between depression and mania. Mania is a heightened state of elation along with feelings of grandiosity, excessive risk-taking and difficulty concentrating.
  • Anxiety disorders. Anxiety is characterized by excessive worrying. Anxious people often obsess over real or imagined problems and have difficulty sleeping because of worrying. They may have physical symptoms such as fatigue and muscle tension and often have difficulty concentrating or sitting still.
  • Neuropsychological disorders. People who have autism spectrum disorders or other disorders with a neurological basis may have thought and behavior patterns that differ from the norm. They process emotional and intellectual information differently and may behave oddly as a result.
  • Psychotic disorders. Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders involve experiencing visual or auditory hallucinations and delusions. People suffering from psychotic disorders often have disorganized thought and speech patterns.
  • Traumatic Disorders. People who have been through extreme stress may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple personality disorder or other disorders that involve dissociation. Sufferers may continually relive a traumatic event such as an assault or may have blocked memory of the event from conscious awareness.

All of these co-occurring disorders are treatable. Therapy for people who suffer from one or more of these disorders is usually aimed at treating the disorder as well as helping the client refrain from engaging in the addiction.

Myths about Co-Occurring Disorders

There may be a stigma surrounding the idea of a mental health disorder or addiction. People may believe that all addicts fit a certain stereotype and that those with a psychiatric condition are “crazy,” when in reality every addicted individual is different and mental health disorders don’t signal insanity. Just as a physical ailment can be treated by a doctor, a mental health problem can also be treated by a professional. They should both be viewed as treatable; there’s no reason for anyone who suffers from one of these disorders to feel ashamed or hide the disorder instead of asking for help.

Addictions Treatment by Type

gambling-addiction-treatmentIf you are suffering from one or multiple addictions, treatment options are widely available. It is possible for individuals to become addicted to many different substances and develop many addictive behavior patterns, which is why there are wide arrays of treatment programs designed to handle virtually any form of addictive behavior. For some individuals, it is easy to determine the type of treatment needed.

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It’s also important to realize that substance abuse therapists aren’t trying to “prove” that someone has a disorder or diagnose “what’s really wrong” with a substance abuse client. Co-occurring disorders contribute to drug and alcohol addiction and make it more difficult for the client to stop drinking or using drugs.  In addition, substance abuse counselors want to build rapport with you – they want you to feel comfortable sharing your feelings with them so they can effectively help you. Thus, during your first meeting, they will attempt to understand the problem from your point of view rather than ask a series of pointed questions to try to determine the exact nature of the issue.

Help Is Available

Regardless of whether you suffer from a co-occurring disorder, help is available for your drug or alcohol addiction. If you want to stop drinking or using drugs and can’t seem to do it on your own, consider calling 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? or filling out a contact form. This toll-free helpline can help find an appropriate inpatient or outpatient program for you. Once you start working with a counselor, he or she will perform a co-occurring disorder assessment to determine what the best way to help you is. You don’t have to suffer in silence or feel imprisoned in your addictions; substance abuse counselors can help you find the way to freedom.