Addressing Co-Occurring Disorders

Many people that enter into a drug or alcohol addiction treatment program also suffer from one or several underlying mental health conditions. These underlying conditions often remain undiagnosed, as they are seen as a result of substance addiction. In reality, these underlying mental health issues oftentimes actually lead to or, at minimum, intensify the addictions.

This dynamic described above is the reason Alina Lodge prioritizes addressing both the substance use disorder and whatever underlying mental health conditions that may exist. We strongly recommend a dual diagnosis treatment program, which offers individualized support designed to treat co-occurring disorders.

Mental Health and Drug Addiction

The following mental health conditions are associated with increased rates of drug addiction:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Psychotic Illness
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder

The most likely reason for the high drug use rate in those with mental health conditions is the seeming need for self-medication and self-soothing via drugs. In many cases, individuals with underlying mental health conditions consume drugs or alcohol or pursue other addictive behaviors to manage the symptoms of their mental condition, not because they are intentionally “acting out.” A common consequence of these attempts at self-soothing with addictive substances is developing a substance use disorder (SUD).

The Importance of Addressing Co-Occurring Disorders

Drug addiction programs like the ones at Alina Lodge must recognize the connection between mental health and addiction and provide comprehensive treatment strategies for both.

Without a co-occurring disorder treatment plan, individuals struggling with both conditions are only able to address part of their overall health issues. This is a recipe for sustained illness and/or frequent relapsing. An analogy that captures this dynamic is that of putting out a forest fire without looking for the source. If you put out the fire but don’t identify the source, the flames will just reappear, oftentimes with increased intensity and consequences.

This is why if you suspect that you or someone close to you is struggling with addiction issues that are related to a mental health issue — whether diagnosed or not — it is critical that you seek professional help.

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment Approach at Alina Lodge

A subset of the evidence-based counseling strategies we use to address co-occurring disorders at Alina Lodge are described below: :

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – helps students identify and challenge negative thinking patterns in order to choose different approaches/ behaviors than the habitual (maladaptive) ones
  • Family therapy- combines behavioral contracting (i.e., positive reinforcement strategies) with contingency management; involves the student along with family member(s)
  • Group therapy – helps to build a support network of peers; other people in treatment understand the obstacles in recovery

Each of these approaches is designed to address certain aspects of co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Some of the approaches are intended to supplement or enhance existing treatment programs, and others are fairly comprehensive in and of themselves. The commonality among the approaches above is that each one has a scientific evidence-based supporting its use.

Receive Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders at Alina Lodge Today

By choosing to receive treatment for co-occurring disorders at Alina Lodge, you receive evidence-based treatment with more flexibility. You can progress through recovery with the mental health support that is necessary for effective addiction treatment.

If you feel that treatment for co-occurring disorders might be right for you, reach out to us today by calling 833.685.1700. Our Alina Lodge team has years of combined experience with helping people overcome both addiction and mental health issues. Talk to our team today to discover why Alina Lodge is a valuable resource for so many.