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Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment

Those seeking co-occurring disorders treatment are often doing so because they have received multiple diagnoses from one or more professionals in their lives. Co-occurring disorders refers to the existence or two or more diagnosable illnesses present simultaneously in one person.

As such, those suffering from co-occurring disorders may feel overwhelmed or hopeless at the prospect of treatment, that recovery from one illness is difficult enough but from two or more may be impossible.

However, there is an entire professional industry dedicated to co-occurring disorders treatment, and research indicates a solid treatment plan can result in high improvements in quality of life and stable recovery.

Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment

A repeating message throughout the discourse of co-occurring disorders is that they are complex in nature and best treatment requires a holistic, integrated, and multidisciplinary approach to care.

How Long Does Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment Take?

The length of such treatment depends on what disorders exactly are present, how severe the symptoms are, and how long a person has been suffering from one or more disorders.

The most effective treatment for co-occurring disorders should start with a solid integrated treatment plan.

Integrated Treatment For Co-Occurring Disorders

Integrated treatment, otherwise call integrated care or integrated behavioural health, refers to healthcare that is comprehensive in combining physical, mental, and emotional health services into one unified and coordinated system.

The goal of such treatment is to provide a service of care that address all aspects of wellbeing and health in a seamless and holistic way.

What Is Integrated Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders?

Integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders is similar to the above outline for integrated treatment, however requires some special considerations for the complexity and delicate nature of co-occurring disorders.

Research consistently demonstrates that treating multiple disorders simultaneously results in better overall outcomes than treating each condition separately. This respects the interconnectedness and cyclical nature of mental health issues, physical health issues, and substance use disorder.

How Are Co-occurring Disorders Treated?

Given the intricate nature of co-occurring disorders, their effective treatment necessitates an integrated and multidisciplinary approach, as outlined above. A collaborative team, equipped with diverse expertise, can work holistically to address all dimensions of an individual’s health.

By comprehensively addressing all relevant disorders, individuals have an increased likelihood of achieving long-term recovery and experiencing an improved quality of life. Comprehensive multidisciplinary treatment for a person suffering from co-occurring disorders should include:

  • Comprehensive Assessment: That identifies all relevant disorders and concerns
  • Integrated Treatment Plan: A unique and personalised plan that identifies patient-led goals and clinician-led interventions
  • Medication Management: 24/7 access to an interdisciplinary team including psychiatrists, medical doctors, and nurses
  • Individual Therapy: Consistent one-to-one therapy with a mental health specialist to identify the root causes of co-occurring disorders as well as treating their symptoms
  • Group Therapy: Studies consistently demonstrate the value of peer support and group therapy on the longevity of recovery and efficacy of overall treatment
  • Psychoeducation: Learning more about all aspects of mental health and wellbeing in order to best inform your life, coping strategies, and relationships moving forward
  • Relapse Prevention: Ensuring that the hard work you’ve completed during treatment continues into the future, protecting yourself from triggers and relapses

What Treatment Is Best for Substance Use Disorders With Co-occurring Disorders?

Treatment for those suffering with substance use disorders often starts with detox and withdrawal from the substances themselves.

Once someone has established a physical and psychological stability in absence of the substance in question, the full treatment plan can begin in earnest. Key features of substance disorder treatment within the context of co-occurring disorders include:

  • A Collaborative Care Team: A multidisciplinary team of professionals who can provide wrap-around care and work collaboratively in providing treatment
  • Comprehensive Assessment: As discussed above, a thorough evaluation must be conducted to identify all relevant mental, physical, and emotional concerns
  • Treatment Planning: All professionals involved in providing care must be able to contribute to a solid and consistent plan that addresses the addiction simultaneous to other concerns
  • Coordinated Services: To reduce fragmentation and ensure continuity of care, services should be coordinated and delivered within the same setting and framework
  • Holistic Approach: Treatment must address all aspects of the individual’s wellbeing, including those traditionally ignored in formal health setting such as social and spiritual health
  • Shared Decision Making: Treatment plans and care decisions should be made in collaboration with the treated individual to foster a sense of empowerment and encourage ownership in long term recovery
  • Ongoing Monitoring and Evaluation: Progress and participation should be regularly assessed, ideally occurring within an in-patient setting with 24/7 access to professionals

Getting Help: Co-occurring Disorders in Treatment Centres

As outlined above, co-occurring disorders are complex to treat and require a multidisciplinary approach to ensure simultaneous care of the two or more disorders. Due to the intricate nature of such treatment, it can be difficult to find an out-patient provider that can adequately meet these requirements.

It often requires the coordination of many separate professionals who may not be used to working in an interdisciplinary way. As such, in-patient treatment centres are a much more efficient and comfortable way to start a recovery journey.

The professionals involved are already part of an established multidisciplinary team and have systems in place to ensure that their work is integrated in a holistic way to cover all relevant concerns.

Being in a comfortable place of care and support is also one way to ensure immersion in the treatment and better set-up the longevity of recovery.

Clinic Les Alpes is one such treatment centre that can offer individualised integrated treatment plans, delivered by an experienced multidisciplinary team within the context of luxury accommodations. If you are interested in knowing more, either for yourself or for a loved one, please do not hesitate to reach out for more information.

Co-occurring disorders require an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to treatment to ensure simultaneous care. This care must be provided in a consistent and coherent manner, with all professionals working in collaboration to support the individual.

Co-occurring disorders treatment can be complex and seem overwhelming, but with the right care team and professionals, every person can expect positive improvement and outcomes in their recovery.

Clinically Reviewed By

Brittany Hunt

Brittany Hunt is an internationally experienced clinician, specialised in treating addictions and co-occurring disorders. Having worked in the public and private sector, she utilises holistic and evidence-based approaches designed to empower the patients in their recovery journeys. A graduate of The University of Auckland, she has a Bachelor of Health Sciences majoring in Mental Health and Addictions, a diploma in Psychology and Counselling and a Post-Graduate degree in Health Sciences, majoring in Addictions. She is a fully registered practitioner under the Drug and Alcohol Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (DAPAANZ).

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