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Friday, June 23, 2017

Treating Substance Abuse with Co-occurring Disorders

substance abuse co-occuring disordersThe definition of recovery is "a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength". It is becoming the norm for someone who suffers from substance abuse to also suffer from some sort of co-occurring disorder. It could be trauma, borderline personality disorder, a mood disorder, self-harm, amongst other things. Due to this increasing occurrence, it is has forced the treatment industry to evolve. 

Today, treatment often requires a multi-faceted approach. Let’s take a look at trauma as our first example. If a provider only treats the substance abuse, but does not treat the trauma an individual has suffered from, that person will not be able to make a full recovery, and it puts the patient at a higher risk for relapse. The reason being is that individuals with untreated trauma tend to unconsciously recreate the trauma in their lives. This means that if someone has untreated trauma, chances are they are going to put themselves in a situation that will not only cause pain of various types, but the individual will more than likely act out in certain behaviors that are not conducive to “a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.” They will be engaging in situations that put their newfound sobriety at risk.

The next example we can look at is some sort of co-occurring mood disorder alongside the addiction, such as bi-polar disorder. The same principle applies, if a provider treats the substance abuse, but not the mood disorder the individual will not be able to make “a return to a normal state of health, mind or strength.” People who suffer from addiction already suffer from extreme emotional swings due to the chemical imbalances in their brain. Couple that with bi-polar disorder and there is an extremely volatile situation that could quickly lead to relapse. In situations such as this it is paramount that they be under psychiatric care while being treated for their substance abuse. If the individual is not stable, how can they even benefit from substance abuse treatment? They won’t even be able to take in and apply what they are learning, nor will they be able to pursue the introspective practices necessary for substance abuse recovery. In the long term situation, an individual is at great risk for relapse if their mood is not regulated, because they run the risk of self-medicating with addictive substances.

If your loved one suffers from addiction with some sort of co-occurring disorder there are several things to look for when seeking treatment for them. Make sure the facility is adequately equipped to treat whatever co-occurring disorder is going on with your loved one. Ask specific questions pertaining to their treatment of the co-occurring disorder, and what the intensity of the treatment is. Furthermore, with someone who has a co-occurring disorder, it is absolutely vital they receive long term care. Substance abuse is a complex enough issue, couple it with a co-occurring disorder and treatment gets even more complex and intricate. Thirty days is simple not long enough to fully, effectively treat the issues at hand. A thirty day inpatient facility is a good start to get the ball rolling, but after care in a long term program is vital for recovery in situations with co-occurring disorders.


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