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Diagnosing Co-Occurring Disorders

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The Importance of Qualified Therapists & Diagnosing Co-Occurring Disorders Properly

Statistics show that 9 million men and women in the United States suffering from addiction also suffer from a co-occurring mental health disorder. A co-occurring disorder, which is also referred to as dual diagnoses or dual disorders, means having mental health and a substance use disorder simultaneously. Co-occurring means any mental health disorder that is present along with substance use disorder.

Co-occurring disorders must be properly diagnosed and treated to bring long-lasting results in drug and alcohol treatment. We understand that many patients ended up abusing drugs and alcohol to alleviate the symptoms of a mental health disorder. This is known as “self-medicating.”
Having quality therapists available to ensure that you are properly diagnosed and treated for both mental health and substance use disorders is a top priority of A Better Todays network. We can help you find a treatment center that will help you with your co-occurring disorders.

Often, there are roots that lead to substance abuse. Co-occurring disorders form when an individual goes a long time without getting proper treatment for a mental health disorder. With no treatment, you may have fallen into a trap of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.

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Proper Diagnosis of Co-Occurring Disorders Influences Recovery


The proper diagnosing of a co-occurring disorder can make all the difference in your long-term wellbeing. If you do not get properly diagnosed, it is impossible to give you the right treatments such as therapy and medications.

Things can get worse if you go undiagnosed, or if you are misdiagnosed, your treatment can be further complicated. You will be at a disadvantage because you will not know the source of the issues you are facing. As a result, a lot of internal struggles as well as mental and emotion confusion can arise within.

Without the proper therapy and medication, your wellbeing can suffer considerably depending on the mental health disorder involved. When you graduate treatment, you may stay sober for a while but eventually cave into using drugs and alcohol because you are unable to handle the mental health disorder symptoms.

It’s time to stop the confusion and start the process of healing. We want to teach you the right information and give you the correct corresponding therapies that meet your needs. Only then can you be confident to graduate treatment and live your life to the fullest.


Proper Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders Ensures Long-Term Sobriety


The consequences of an untreated co-occurring disorder can lead to recurring difficulties in your daily life. Maybe you have completed a substance abuse treatment program before that only focused on the substance abuse issue. Maybe, your co-occurring disorder was improperly diagnosed or missed entirely.

If you are using drugs and alcohol to cope with the symptoms of a known or unknown mental health disorder, you may carry a feeling of being abnormal. You may go through life feeling that you are different or that something is wrong with you. If you do not get proper treatment, then it is likely that you can continue feeling this way and not get any real answers as to why.

Properly diagnosing and treating your co-occurring disorder is like giving you the keys to the lock that has held you in prison for substance abuse for so long. It can be that defining moment that finally gives you insight into what’s led you to abuse drugs and alcohol.


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How Does a Dual Diagnosis from Master Level Therapist Affect the Client’s Success at Rehab?


Common conditions of co-occurring disorders are: major depression, anxiety disorders, antisocial personality disorder, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder. Imagine an individual enter into a treatment center with a substance abuse and an anxiety disorder. If that individual is treated for their substance use disorder, they will still be left with the unbearable symptoms of an anxiety disorder after treatment is completed.

It would be very difficult, then, for that person not to run back to drugs and alcohol, where they know they at least find temporary relief. The cycle of self-destruction in co-occurring disorders goes in this order: mental illness which leads to substance abuse, which worsens mental illness, which leads to an increased dependence on drugs and alcohol.

We understand that the only way we can stop this cycle is to give equal attention and treatment to both conditions. Unfortunately, only 7 percent of individuals are treated for both conditions simultaneously. The rate of those who do not receive treatment is at a high 55 percent which means that a lot of people are left to suffer with the crippling symptoms of a co-occurring disorder. Another startling statistic is that 23 percent of people who are homeless have co-occurring disorders.

The Risks of An Undiagnosed Co-occurring Disorder Could Influence Relapse


If you have a co-occurring disorder and it goes a long time without being properly diagnosed, you can experience a lot of suffering in your life. For example, until you are properly diagnosed and treated you may experience problems handling responsibilities in work or school.

As far as relationships go, it is quite possible that family, friends and co-workers may see you as unpredictable and unreliable. You may have trouble maintaining healthy relationships.

The more chronic your drug and alcohol abuse become the worst situations and circumstances you may find yourself in. While you intend to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to alleviate the symptoms of your mental health disorder, it can often only make your disorder symptoms worse and more difficult to treat.

If you go years without being diagnosed and treated, your life can surely take an absolute turn for the worst. A Better Today does not want it to come to that for you, though. We understand that if you have a co-occurring disorder, you have been dealt a very difficult hand in life and getting you properly diagnosed, treated, and helped to succeed in your recovery is our mission.

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Let Us Focus on You: Our Promise is to Offer Quality Care

We understand that co-occurring disorders can be difficult to diagnose, and symptoms from substance abuse and mental health often mask each other. When comparing mental health and substance abuse disorders, there are many drug and Alcohol induced symptoms and mental health disorders that are quite similar. It takes a real and qualified mental health professional to diagnose you using discernment and attention to detail.

If you have a co-occurring disorder or believe that you may, inpatient treatment is the best way to find out. A Better Today will help you find a treatment program that gives enough time for master-level clinicians to observe our patients and get a true understanding of what they are dealing with and how to help them. Therefore, it is very important for you to commit to inpatient treatment for the best results.

Ultimately, if a co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder is not diagnosed and treated properly, the chances of a relapse are very high. Effective treatment centers employ qualified and educated mental health professionals that can effectively do this job; our goal is to ensure that you get the treatment that you need so that you can live the life that you want.

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