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Co-Occurring Diagnosis

 For many years, it was standard practice in recovery to work solely on the addiction. Men and women entered treatment for substance abuse and received care that focused only on physical sobriety and a personal commitment to a substance-free lifestyle. While these methods were effective for many, the lack of attention for mental health treatments proved problematic for others. Living independently with an untreated mental illness left many thousands of individuals vulnerable to relapse — flare-ups of depression, anxiety, trauma disorders or otherwise would make it impossible to enact the healthy coping mechanisms learned in addiction treatment. Yet there were no facilities available that addressed both addiction and mental health concerns simultaneously, and the understanding of the connection between substance abuse and mental illness was limited.

The recovery and addiction treatment community saw this lack of alignment in patients’ care. The industry standard shifted: many programs decided to offer fully integrated treatment plans that combined mental health and substance abuse recovery, addressing the needs of individuals with multiple concerns. As the popularity and efficacy of these programs rose, experts gave the all-too-common phenomenon of addiction alongside a mental health concern its own category: co-occurring disorders, or a dual diagnosis.

Today’s addiction treatment landscape considers mental health an integral component of recovery. Our knowledge of the connection between the mind and the body has grown exponentially, and we now know that addiction and mental health are deeply intertwined. Whether you are experiencing mental health symptoms as a result of addiction; whether your mental health concerns led you to abuse substances to self-medicate; or whether your mental health and addiction share a different relationship — treatment for co-occurring disorders can help you heal more fully and give you a head start toward a sober life without relapse.

Enlightened Solutions is proud to provide expert care for dual diagnosis patients in New Jersey. Our holistic approach, highly trained staff and individualized treatment plans ensure that every client gets exactly the care they need to achieve lifelong recovery and fulfillment. Contact us today at 833-801-5483 to find out if our programs are right for you or your loved one.

What is a Co-Occurring Diagnosis?

A co-occurring diagnosis means that when a client comes in for addiction treatment, we also do a complete mental health assessment to see what other conditions are present.

This is one of the most important things we can screen for when welcoming a new client to Enlightened Solutions. As a recovery program dedicated to providing personalized, holistic care, we are deeply committed to identifying exactly what each person needs from treatment. Mental health is an essential aspect of what makes every individual’s experience with substance abuse different – neglecting it prevents us from understanding how a person’s mental health has influenced and may continue to influence their addiction. We cannot truly succeed in our treatments for addiction recovery when unaddressed mental illness could be adding to a person’s compulsive substance use.

Our staff includes licensed mental health experts who are fully equipped to provide evaluations, mental health counseling and treatment for co-occurring disorders. We also offer connections to exceptional community resources, including local counselors, psychiatrists and support groups, so our clients can continue to maintain their mental health after completing treatment with us. We recognize co-occurring diagnoses as serious, ongoing health issues that require long-term management, and we ensure that every client has the tools they need to stay sober and psychologically well for life.

Who Do Co-Occurring Disorders Affect?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately 45 percent of Americans who have a substance use disorder also have a secondary mental health diagnosis. This number may not include individuals who have an undiagnosed mental health disorder, or who are abusing substances but have not been diagnosed with addiction.

In New Jersey specifically, approximately 25 percent of individuals discharged from an addiction treatment program also have a mental health disorder. Another 10 percent are at risk for mental health disorders with a history of physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. These statistics (from a 2017 survey by the New Jersey Department of Health) do not include state residents who struggle with co-occurring disorders but have not sought treatment for either addiction or mental health.

Given the close relationship between mental health and addiction, these high percentages are not surprising. In fact, mental health concerns and addiction share several risk factors. These can include:

  • A family history of mental illness or substance abuse
  • Childhood neglect or abuse
  • Trauma, such as experiences with sexual assault, combat or disaster
  • Stressors like bereavement, financial difficulty, burnout or strained relationships with loved ones

Many individuals find themselves dealing with a mental health disorder like depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, and they turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms. In other cases, substance abuse disrupts brain activity and causes or worsens mental health concerns. These twin problems go hand-in-hand for individuals of all ages, genders and walks of life — they are widespread and can affect anyone. If you are worried that you or your loved one may be experiencing co-occurring disorders, it’s essential to seek a professional evaluation to find out what kind of treatment they need to get well again.

Co-Occurring Treatment Benefits:

  • Reduces stress and co-occurring anxieties
  • Improves physiological health conditions with mental health and holistic care
  • Treats both mental illness and addiction conditions
  • Helps people stabilize their lives and sustain healthy habits
  • Treats all conditions for life-long sober living
  • Supports dual treatment efforts as therapists and counselors work side by side
  • Increases mind, body and spiritual health

Co-Occurring Diagnosis Allows for Custom Treatment Plans

Our method of including mental health management in our addiction treatment programs attracts complex clients, and at Enlightened Solutions, we love the challenge. There will never be two clients who are completely alike, or two people who have the same addiction and paired mental health disorder; people are not built this way, and neither is our program. When a client exhibits certain personality traits based on who they are outside of addiction and the mental health aspect, we use those traits to customize treatments so that we can connect spiritually with that person. We likewise use the unique interplay between a dual diagnosis client’s mental illness and addiction to identify and fulfill their needs in recovery.

Each client’s treatment plan is informed by their experience with addiction and their accompanying mental health concerns. For example, dual diagnosis clients may:

  • Be exposed to different types of therapy geared toward trauma or anxiety
  • Be placed in a group therapy session with other dual diagnosis clients with depression or bipolar disorder
  • Participate in one-on-one therapy that includes in-depth discussion of a codependent relationship
  • Be connected with long-term resources for eating disorder support

Our mental health treatments are fully integrated into our addiction recovery programming. As a result, individuals who have a dual diagnosis will not necessarily need to spend more time in treatment, despite the higher complexity of their cases. However, our treatment program is always open-ended and we do not put hard limits on how much time an individual will spend with Enlightened Solutions. We understand that addiction and mental illness are both chronic concerns, so we approach treatment with our clients’ long-term wellness in mind.

Holistic Care and Co-Occurring Conditions

Enlightened Solutions is all about working holistically with the whole person, beginning with cleansing the body and then working to train the mind in both wellness and understanding about what we really need in life to be happy without drugs and alcohol. We also work to understand the processes of the brain in mental health conditions, and why our brains produce specific chemicals to create this imbalance.

These educational components are just the beginning of our approach for dual diagnosis clients. We provide a specialized dual diagnosis track that includes targeted mental health therapies for a variety of concerns, including:

  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Codependency
  • Body Image Disorder
  • Mood Disorders
  • Anger Management
  • Grief/Loss

Our highly trained therapists are experienced in providing several types of clinical therapies, such as:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Individual Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • The Seeking Safety model of trauma treatment
  • Equine Therapy
  • Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness

Our modalities are proven to be effective for individuals with co-occurring disorders. Additionally, Enlightened Solutions does offer medication prescriptions as a part of our treatment, should a client require this type of care.

Dual Treatment for Addiction and Mental Health is Important

It’s important that we share this practice of a co-occurring diagnosis and the dual treatment efforts of addiction and mental health conditions. More than half of those treated for substance abuse are known to have mental health conditions; if we don’t start integrating this type of co-occurring treatment, then these individuals suffering from both will only be caught in a cyclical attempt at unsuccessful recovery. If we don’t work with addicts that have mental health conditions, many of them won’t find a way to live the healthy and happy lives they hope for. Call Enlightened Solutions now at 833-801-5483 and talk to someone or fill out a form to get help for you and your loved ones.