When a person seeks out professional help for addiction, they may think that the treatment will focus only on the substance use disorder. But the truth is that many people need personalized treatment that will address their co-occurring disorders, which are health conditions that occur alongside a substance use disorder. SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that in 2012, approximately 8.4 million American adults had co-occurring disorders. This translates to about 40.7 percent of the population of people who struggled with a substance use disorder. Additionally, some people struggle with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes alongside their substance use disorder. Since so many people deal with other health concerns along with a substance use disorder, it’s important for substance abuse rehabilitation to address and treat all of a patient’s medical conditions, not just the substance use disorder.
What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?
Psychology Today explains that a person is diagnosed with co-occurring disorders when he has “one or more disorders relating to the use of alcohol and/or other drugs of abuse as well as one or more mental disorders,” and that these disorders are usually independent of each other rather than “simply a cluster of symptoms resulting from the one disorder.” While many people with co-occurring disorders have two disorders at the same time, some may have three or more co-occurring disorders. Psychology Today also lists the following combinations of disorders that frequently occur together:
- Depression with cocaine addiction
- Panic disorder with alcohol addiction
- Schizophrenia with alcohol and addiction to multiple drugs
- Borderline personality disorder with addiction to multiple drugs
Along with mental health conditions, some people struggling with substance addiction also have health problems that require special treatment. These conditions vary widely, and can range from mild cases of asthma to severe forms of cancer. Regardless of which co-occurring conditions a person experiences, they need to make sure that their substance abuse rehabilitation program offers them quality treatment that addresses both his substance abuse and any other health conditions they may have.
Finding Effective Drug Abuse Treatment
In order to find a treatment center that will best treat substance use disorders while helping to manage any other health conditions, it’s essential to find a center that abides by the following principles of effective treatment, as listed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
- Addiction is a disease that is complex but completely treatable
- Treatment must be customized to meet the individual’s needs
- Treatment should be easily accessible
- Treatment should address any legal, medical, psychological, social or vocational issues in the person’s life
- Treatment must last an adequate length of time in order to be completely effective
- Appropriate forms of therapy may be incorporated into treatment
- Medication can be a useful part of treatment when necessary
- Healthcare professionals must continually assess the person’s treatment plan and modify it as needed
Each of these aspects of effective treatment can help a person with other health conditions receive treatment that will help him learn how to manage both his substance use disorder as well as his other medical conditions. He should also discuss treatment options with his doctor, and should inform the healthcare professionals at the rehabilitation center of his other conditions in order to ensure that each condition is treated safely and effectively.
Find Out More About Managing Medical Conditions During Rehab
If you or someone you care about is struggling with a substance abuse disorder along with one or more health conditions, please give us a call at 615-490-9376. Our admissions coordinators are always available to talk with you about ways to manage medical conditions during rehabilitation and get you connected with the right facility and treatment you may need.