Breaking the Cycle Integrated Treatment for Alcoholism and Co Occurring Disorders

Breaking the Cycle: Integrated Treatment for Alcoholism and Co-Occurring Disorders

This entry was posted in Alcohol Rehab on by .

Substance use disorders often co-occur with mental health disorders, especially alcohol use disorder—commonly known as alcoholism. This means that alcohol addiction and mental health conditions occur simultaneously and influence the course of one another.

Left untreated, co-occurring disorders have poorer outcomes, but treating them individually isn’t the answer. Integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders offers treatment for alcoholism and mental health conditions simultaneously, providing the tools and skills to avoid continued substance use and improve mental well-being.

Continued after video:

Understanding Co-Occurring Disorders

In addiction medication, co-occurring disorders describe a substance use disorder, such as alcohol use disorder, and a mental health condition. With alcoholism, mental health disorders like major depression, bipolar depression, antisocial personality disorder, and anxiety disorders commonly co-occur.

It’s important to understand that one condition isn’t necessarily caused by another. There are other possible reasons that certain substance use disorders are connected to different mental health disorders.

Breaking the Cycle Integrated Treatment for Alcoholism and Co occurring Disorders 1

First, both mental health conditions and substance use disorders have common risk factors. There’s a genetic component to substance use disorders and other mental health disorders, and environmental factors, such as stress or trauma, can cause epigenetic changes that are passed down through generations.

Mental disorders often increase the risk of substance use and substance use disorders. Alcohol may be used to self-medicate the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, drinking alcohol may temporarily relieve some mental health issues, such as anxiety, even though it worsens the symptoms over time.

On the other side, substance use can contribute to the development of other mental health disorders. Repeated substance use can trigger changes in the brain’s structure and function that disrupt natural processes, leading to chemical imbalances.

Challenges with Co-Occurring Disorders

There are several challenges that people with co-occurring disorders face.

The primary challenge of a co-occurring disorder is that the person is often unaware of their mental health condition. They continue to self-medicate without realizing it, leading to substance abuse.

Substance use disorders and mental health conditions also exacerbate one another. For example, someone with alcohol addiction and depression will feel good while drinking, only to experience a “crash” and severe depression when the effects wear off. They then drink more to feel better, leading to a vicious cycle.

Breaking the Cycle Integrated Treatment for Alcoholism and Co occurring Disorders 2

In the past, the treatment of addiction and mental health conditions were separate. If someone had a substance use disorder and a mental health condition, such as depression, they would have to seek addiction treatment first before getting help for their mental health.

Diagnosing and treating co-occurring disorders come with unique challenges for mental health professionals. The co-occurring diseases may have overlapping symptoms, so it’s important to have an experienced professional conduct a thorough assessment.

It’s also difficult to overcome co-occurring disorders. These people have twice as much to overcome and must dive deep to understand and address their mental health and substance use issues. Consequently, recovery can also be more difficult if they don’t have the tools to cope, as they are dealing with more relapse triggers.

Benefits of Integrated Treatment for Alcoholism and Co-Occurring Disorders

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders, which the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association further support.

Breaking the Cycle Integrated Treatment for Alcoholism and Co occurring Disorders 3

Integrated treatment for alcoholism and co-occurring disorders has become the gold standard, and here’s why:

  • Integrated treatment promotes positive outcomes and improves overall well-being by treating both conditions.
  • Integrated treatment addresses substance use as a mental health condition rather than a moral failing.
  • People struggling with mental health issues can better understand the role that substances play in their lives.
  • Therapy is designed specifically for the needs of people with specific co-occurring disorders that contribute to alcohol use disorder.
  • Integrated treatment offers education to understand how substances interact with mental health conditions and symptoms and the medications used to treat them.
  • Comprehensive treatment plans consider all aspects of treatment, including support services like legal assistance or job help after recovery.
  • Integrated care plans focus on goals and challenges, giving each person individualized strategies to set and achieve goals based on their unique experience.

What’s Involved in an Integrated Treatment Program for Co-Occurring Disorders?

An integrated approach to treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions and substance use disorders typically involves a combination of behavioral therapies to address different aspects of each condition. These may include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to identify unhelpful or harmful thoughts and address them with healthier responses.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) to reduce the potential for self-harm with certain mental health conditions.
  • Community support groups to foster connections with peers and promote better recovery.
  • Contingency management to incentivize change and reward positive behaviors.

CBT, DBT, Community Support Groups, Contingency Management for alcoholism and mental health

Integrated Treatment for Alcoholism and Co-Occurring Disorders at Desert Cove Recovery

Integrated treatment is vital in treating alcohol and mental health conditions as co-occurring disorders. After completing the program, you can gain the tools to handle your mental health in a healthy way and reduce the risk of relapse to self-medicate.

If you or your loved one are struggling with co-occurring disorders, take the next step with Desert Cove Recovery today.