Multiple types of rehabilitation are available for a person seeking professional help with substance abuse or addiction. These treatment options can differ widely in their length, focus and format. What some people don’t realize is that a person shouldn’t just choose a treatment program at random. Instead, he should research his options and try to select a rehabilitation center that will best fit his individual needs. One need of a lot of people entering substance rehabilitation is treatment of more than one disorder. These are called co-occurring disorders, and integrated treatment is often the best way to treat them.

What are Co-Occurring Disorders?

In a 2002 report to Congress, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defined co-occurring disorders as happening any time a person has “at least one mental disorder as well as an alcohol or drug use disorder,” which might interact with each other in different ways, and each “can be diagnosed independently of the other.” It goes on to explain that that there are no specific ways that these disorders must appear together and that each disorder can range in severity, with both being mild or severe, or one being more severe than the other. SAMHSA also explains that the most common psychiatric disorders that appear when a person has co-occurring disorders include:

  • Anxiety and mood disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Major depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Additionally, the following substances are frequently abused by people with co-occurring disorders:

  • Alcohol
  • Hallucinogens
  • Marijuana
  • Nicotine
  • Opiates
  • Prescription drugs
  • Sedatives
  • Stimulants

Prevalence of Co-Occurring Disorders and Aspects of Integrated Treatment

Co-Occurring Disorders

SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that about 8.4 million adults struggled with co-occurring disorders in 2012. This figure shows the large number of people that need help with managing co-occurring disorders. Some treatment programs offer treatment that addresses both disorders but they deal with them either one after the other or else in two separate locations and with different medical staffs. Integrated treatment, on the other hand, treats both conditions simultaneously and often using the same medical staff. This approach takes several of the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s principles of effective substance treatment into account, including:

  • Treatment should address the many differing needs of the patient, not only his drug abuse
  • It should include medication when necessary
  • It should acknowledge that many people struggling with substance abuse and addiction have other mental health conditions
  • It should be periodically assessed to ensure the person is receiving proper care and should be modified as needed to address any changing needs or goals

Benefits of Integrated Treatment

Treating both disorders at the same time is often effective for co-occurring disorders because of the ways that these conditions interact with each other. If one disorder is left untreated, it can worsen and negatively affect any progress made to treat the other disorder. Additionally, the two conditions may be related to each other in complex ways, so treating them simultaneously offers the person the best opportunity to address these relationships and figure out how best to manage both disorders on a daily basis.

Find Out More About Integrated Treatment

Co-occurring disorders can be challenging to deal with alone. A person struggling with one or more drug abuse disorders along with one or more mental health conditions may feel like his situation is hopeless but the truth is that integrated treatment may be an excellent way for him to receive the help he needs and to get his life back on track. If you or a loved one is suffering from co-occurring disorders or you aren’t sure, call our toll-free helpline at 877-714-1318. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day and our admissions coordinators are always available to help you find quality integrated treatment for your co-occurring disorders.

Common Integrated Treatment Questions