Substance Abuse and Psychiatric Disorders

Treatment for Substance Abuse and Psychiatric Disorders

There is no disputing the emotional pain and other collateral damage that living with a mental health disorder can cause.  Living with chronic anxiety, major depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or schizophrenia can become so unbearable that the suffering individual may develop a problem with substance abuse, with drugs or alcohol being used as a medicinal intervention.

In fact, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, as of 2014 nearly 8 million Americans were living with mental illness and a coexisting substance use disorder.  There is no doubt that the substance use disorder will ultimately exacerbate the mental health disorder, adding more misery to the picture.  The help these individuals need rests in an integrated, simultaneous treatment program for substance abuse and psychiatric disorders.

About Co-Occurring Disorders (Dual Diagnosis)

When an individual is suffering from an undiagnosed, untreated mental health disorder they may instinctively seek to mitigate the symptoms of the disorder by self-medicating with alcohol or drugs.  Leaning on a substance for relief is a simple survival response to ongoing mental dissonance and emotional pain brought on by the mental health condition.  However, as tolerance to the substance increases over time, the individual may develop a drug or alcohol addiction or dependence, only deepening their suffering and compounding the undiagnosed problem.

A co-occurring, also known as dual diagnosis, can develop in various ways, including the substance use disorder occurring before a resultant mental health disorder.  For this reason it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of either a mood disorder or an addiction so treatment intervention can be sought.  The signs for each mental health disorder vary depending on the problem, but some common signs that a psychiatric disorder is present might include:

  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Isolating behavior
  • Change in sleep habits
  • Change in eating habits, unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Confusion or trouble concentrating
  • Increased irritability
  • Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Talk of suicide

When an individual is displaying some of the above signs as well as those associated with a substance use disorder, it is likely that they have co-occurring disorders.  This condition presents more complex treatment challenges so require the expert specialized dual diagnosis program for best recovery outcomes.

Treatment for Substance Abuse and Psychiatric Disorders

In a dedicated dual diagnosis treatment program careful clinical assessment of each disorder will determine the individual’s customized treatment plan.  The severity of the dual diagnosis is usually the determining factor for whether an inpatient or outpatient program is appropriate. Before proceeding with treatment, the first step is detoxification of the substance, during which the body rids itself of the toxins and chemicals.  This is especially important for a dual diagnosis client, as successful participation in therapy depends on active commitment to treatment without interference caused by the substance.

An integrated, multi-disciplinary plan for treating substance abuse and psychiatric disorders involves such therapies as:

Additionally, dual diagnosis treatment involves medication for the mental illness, and participation in a 12-step or non 12-step recovery program for the addiction.  Life skills classes are often offered for dual diagnosis clients, along with other social services in their case management.

Ongoing Management of Co-Occurring Disorders

Following the completion of a dual diagnosis program, the individual has only just begun their recovery journey.  Aftercare helps to maintain and reinforce the progress made and the recovery tools acquired in treatment.  By continuing to receive ongoing emotional and peer support through group counseling and involvement in a recovery community, the client can avoid relapse when faced with inevitable stressors or triggers in daily life.

Solutions 4 Recovery Provides Treatment for Substance Abuse and Psychiatric Disorders

Solutions 4 Recovery is a leading dual diagnosis treatment program located in sunny South Orange County, California.  Solutions 4 Recovery features customized dual diagnosis treatment options that are designed for each individual’s specific treatment needs.  With extensive experience and training for treating such mental health conditions as PTSD, anxiety, depression, trauma, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and more, Solutions 4 Recovery then combines that expertise with effective treatment for the substance use disorder.  Clients become empowered through the ongoing therapeutic support, gaining control over their lives once again.  For more information about the program, please contact Solutions 4 Recovery at (888) 417-1874.