Video Explains – What is Dual Diagnosis & Co-Occurring Disorders

Serenity at Summit’s Chief Operating Officer, Maria Ulmer MA, LMFT, CAADC, explains what dual-diagnosis is and how Serenity approaches the treatment for clients who have it in a recent video on the organization’s website. Serenity’s treatment facilities often see clients suffering from dual-diagnosis (also called co-occurring disorders), which occurs when a person presents with two disorders or conditions at the same time.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center – Co-Occurring Disorders

Ulmer says that having a dual-diagnosis can make treatment complicated. “In our atmosphere, we are looking at addiction or substance abuse disorders in addition to a mental health disorder. Often this might be depression and anxiety paired up with alcohol use. And when the two come together, it creates a complication, where we now have a layering of symptoms.” She goes on to explain the importance of determining which disorder came first and where the symptoms originated, in order to be able to appropriately address the two disorders simultaneously.

Clients who have a dual-diagnosis may have developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol as a result of an underlying mental health condition. Conversely, they may have first started abusing drugs or alcohol not knowing that “some of the side effects are mental health-like symptoms.” Ulmer explained. Whether the addiction came before the mental health issue or the reverse, it is essential to understand which is the client’s primary diagnosis in order to provide the proper treatment and after-care for long-term recovery.

Understanding dual-diagnosis and tailoring each client’s treatment to his or her specific set of circumstances is what Serenity believes is the key to positive outcomes in rehabilitative treatment. Using a combination of cognitive behavioral and emotion-based therapy, traditional 12-step programs, and relapse prevention techniques, Summit aims to meet their clients where they are and provide the highest level of treatment.

Serenity at Summit offers detox, residential, and outpatient options in three states with six locations. The organization has become one of the country’s must-watch health networks for alcohol, drug, eating disorder, and dual-diagnosis treatment.

Serenity utilizes an individual approach to treatment, knowing that each client is unique, to compassionately guide them through the challenging first days of sobriety through after-care and to long-lasting recovery.

Located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, Serenity accepts men and women who are seeking help for drug and alcohol addiction and dual-diagnosis disorders.

When Bipolar Disorder and Addiction Coexist It Requires Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Extreme mood swings associated with bipolar disorder can cause sufferers to self medicate ending in alcohol or drug addiction requiring dual diagnosis treatment

It’s estimated that as many as half of bipolar disorder sufferers also struggle with some form of addiction. The extreme mania and depression of bipolar disorder makes it easy to see why turning to drugs or alcohol is a natural choice; warding off the lows and enhancing the highs can be accomplished almost immediately by self-medicating. However, while this type of self-medication may offer relief from symptoms in the present, it may only exacerbate the brain chemistry that makes bipolar disorder so overwhelming in the first place. Co-occurring disorders such as bipolar disorder must be treated in conjunction with the addiction utilizing dual diagnosis treatment.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by alternating periods of extreme mania and extreme depression. When a person is in a manic phase they may appear to be very upbeat, often acting in a way that he or she wouldn’t normally act – overly talkative, hyperactive, sleeping less, over confident, grandiose, engaging in risky behaviors. Conversely, when a person is in a depressed phase he or she may feel down, hopeless (maybe even to the point of feeling suicidal), worthless, restless, fatigued, and like isolating. The periods can last for varying lengths of time, and they can also be mixed, creating a chaotic combination for both the sufferer and those close to him or her.

Using Drugs or Alcohol to Cope with Bipolar Disorder

The very nature of bipolar disorder is the cause of drug use for sufferers. For many, the urge to self-medicate seems to be twofold. They are either trying to relieve the feelings of depression and hopelessness, or trying to enhance and prolong the feelings of mania.

People with undiagnosed bipolar disorder are likely to use drugs or alcohol to deal with the symptoms of depression. Using allows them to escape the feelings that they don’t know how to alleviate any other way. The feelings of despair are enough to make them willing to use whatever means are necessary to make the feelings fade away. One favorable experience with cocaine or another stimulant is often all they need to begin on the path to addiction. Often times, because they have not been diagnosed and properly treated, that positive experience they had with drugs will cause them to continue to seek it out. Even the use of depressants like alcohol allows bipolar sufferers to numb their depression and make life more manageable, at least for a little while.

Once diagnosed with bipolar disorder, some people continue to use drugs or alcohol instead of working with a doctor for proper treatment, either because they don’t want to accept the diagnosis or because addiction may have already set in.

It is also common for people with bipolar disorder to use drugs because they are seeking to bring on an extreme state of mania or hypomania that they have felt before due to their disorder. Using stimulants like cocaine may give them something close to the same feeling as a manic episode does. The extremes of drug use likely seem familiar to bipolar disorder sufferers because it compares to the extreme moods of the disorder, so if they are feeling “flat” they may try to alter that feeling by using drugs.

Treating Addiction and Bipolar Disorder

Treatment for bipolar disorder can greatly reduce symptoms; so much so that a person who once struggled to be able to navigate daily existence (hold a job, maintain relationships, etc.) can enjoy a normal, happy, productive life. A combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are often prescribed and they can be very successful. However, when drugs or alcohol are thrown into the mix, treatment can be completely ineffective. In fact, it can make bipolar symptoms even more extreme as drugs and alcohol effect brain chemistry in a way that intensifies moods.

When addiction afflicts someone with bipolar disorder, both conditions must be treated simultaneously. This school of thought is fairly new; before the early 2000s it was thought that co-occurring disorders should be treated separately. That meant that people suffering from bipolar and addiction were sent to a psychiatric facility for mental health treatment and to a rehab facility to treat the addiction. It is now believed that both disorders can be treated at the same time, and that it is the most effective course of treatment for patients.

Many rehab facilities are able to handle co-occurring disorder patients now. They are equipped to address several mental health issues while also treating the patients’ drug or alcohol problem. Treating the two at the same time is needed to lower the risk of relapse. Without treating both, the rate of relapse is very high. A person with bipolar disorder will learn coping skills and strategies for managing triggers that could potentially cause relapse.

Some of the features to look for in an integrated co-occurring disorder treatment facility are:

  • Treatment for both disorders provided in on facility
  • A treatment plan that includes psychiatrists, psychologists, or other addiction professionals who are trained in co-occurring disorder care
  • The availability of psychiatric medication for bipolar treatment
  • Relapse prevention and life skills education
  • Peer support from other co-occurring disorder patients

At Serenity at Summit, we offer treatment for individuals who are struggling with addiction and mental illness. Our treatment programs include detox, outpatient, and inpatient programs. If you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and have been diagnosed with a mental illness, please contact us today to get started with treatment for both. The road to recovery is right in front of you, all you have to do is take the first step.

Why Mental Illness Carries A Stigma Explains NJ Addiction Treatment Center

Summit Behavioral Health outlines why mental illness stigmatizes sufferers preventing them from seeking dual diagnosis addiction treatment

Mental health is just as important as physical well-being, however, many societies still struggle to recognize that mental illness is a medical issue—not a moral failing. Unfortunately, the stigma that so often surrounds mental health sometimes prevents people from seeking treatment for mental illness.

The Link Between Substance Abuse Disorders and Mental Illness

Although drug and alcohol abuse does not necessarily cause mental disturbance (or vice versa) there is a high prevalence of comorbidity between substance abuse disorders and poor mental health.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse1, there are three possible reasons for this:

  • Drug and alcohol abuse can exacerbate symptoms of mental disturbances, including an increased risk of psychosis.
  • Individuals who experience mental illness may be more likely to self-medicate by turning to drugs and alcohol.
  • Conditions like underlying brain deficits and exposure to trauma can contribute to both mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

Because substance abuse and mental health are often closely linked, it’s important for substance abuse disorder treatment plans to incorporate treatment for mental wellness. In most cases, this holistic approach is the best way to ensure long-term recovery.

Getting to the Bottom of the Stigma of Mental Illness

The history of mental illness3 and the public’s perception of it sheds a great deal of light on why negative attitudes persist. Centuries of misinformation and abuse take time to undo, and people today are still experiencing the aftermath of a long history of mistreatment in the area of mental illness.

In various times throughout history, mental illness was regarded as a spiritual issue, with some individuals persecuted as witches or hosts for demonic possession. It’s tragic to think that so many innocent people were mistreated and imprisoned for a medical condition beyond their control.

Unfortunately, public attitudes didn’t improve much over the centuries. In the 1840s, American mental health reformer Dorothea Dix lobbied the government to create special hospitals equipped to treat mental health disorders.

In 1946, President Harry Truman signed the National Mental Health Act, which created the National Institute of Mental Health in 1949.

However, rampant abuse in mental hospitals in the 1940s and 50s led to a call for change. Throughout the 1960s, mental health hospitals throughout the U.S. closed, causing the number of institutionalized mentally ill to drop from a peak of 560,000 to 130,000 by 1980. Studies show that up to 70 percent of mental health patients with schizophrenia showed improvement and stability after the introduction of anti-psychotic drugs in the 1950s.

Although mental health treatment has improved in recent decades, the stigma associated with mental health disorders lingers. Research2 reveals that up to 55 percent of inmates in state prisons and 45 percent of federal prisoners have some form of mental illness. In many cases, these prisoners are forced to live in the general population because there are not enough beds available in mental facilities.

Fortunately, much work has been done in recent years to remove the stigma of mental health care. There are more treatment options than ever before, and people increasingly recognize mental health matters as medical issues, rather than a choice or a lack of good character.

Recovery and Renewal Starts with Summit

Are you interested in learning more about your treatment options? Summit Behavioral Health offers personalized addiction treatment programs. Call today. 1-888-465-4187.

Footnotes:

1 National Institute on Drug Abuse – www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/comorbidity-addiction-other-mental-illnesses/why-do-drug-use-disorders-often-co-occur-other-men

2 Research- www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/04/more-than-half-of-prisoners-are-mentally-ill/389682/

3 History of mental illness- www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/nash/timeline/

Drug Addiction: The Shocking And Disastrous Tie To Trauma Exposed

Serenity at Summit, a New Jersey drug addiction treatment center, reveals the shocking risk factors between trauma and addiction.

There is a powerful connection that exists between trauma victims and substance abuse or addiction. Many people who have experienced a traumatic event or suffered ongoing trauma, turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with negative emotions. While this type of self-medicating often works – at least temporarily – to quiet the sufferer’s feelings and memories, it can ultimately lead to addiction, and that can be a recipe for disaster.

What is Trauma?

Trauma is broadly defined as, “a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.” Perhaps this definition is intentionally vague because trauma is such a personal and subjective issue. Two people who experience the same disturbing experience may react in completely different ways. Trauma is really defined by the individual; it’s what his or her internal beliefs and sensitivity to stress dictate, not what a friend, family member or doctor diagnoses.

Traumatic experiences can include physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, or neglect as well as other frightening events like military combat, accidents, bullying, natural disasters, or any life-threatening incident, whether experienced personally or witnessed. Trauma can also occur as a result of childhood issues such as growing up in an alcoholic or drug-addicted home, or with abusive mentally ill household members.

Trauma can cause feelings of extreme fear, helplessness, and hopelessness. The person suffering may struggle with anxiety and depression, and may even develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is no wonder that many trauma survivors resort to using drugs or alcohol as a way to cope.

The Relationship Between Trauma and Addiction

Research shows that there is a strong link between trauma and addiction. In fact, it’s estimated that over half of people who seek help for substance abuse or addiction have been victims of some type of trauma; and those numbers are increased when childhood abuse or neglect caused it. But the trauma-addiction relationship is not a one-way street. It is a cycle that perpetuates itself unless proper treatment is sought and received.

Trauma is a Risk Factor for Addiction

Unresolved trauma can have a disruptive effect on a person’s daily life, making relationships, work, and school difficult. It can cause much more than depression and anxiety. A person who has suffered trauma may have flashbacks and nightmares of the event, panic attacks, negative memories, and problems sleeping. Because people who have been traumatized often attempt self-medication to help manage the distress associated with the symptoms of unresolved trauma, they are at risk of developing a drug or alcohol problem which may lead to addiction. They turn to drugs or alcohol to numb themselves from the flood of emotions and reminders associated with their trauma, to quell the relieving symptoms, or to be able to sleep.

Addiction is a Risk Factor for Trauma

Trauma being a risk factor for addiction may seem logical because the desire to shut off the negative symptoms is so strong. However, the opposite is also true. Addiction can be a risk factor for trauma, as well. People with substance abuse issues are more likely to engage in risky behaviors (driving while using drugs or alcohol, frequenting unseemly places with sketchy people, promiscuity, fighting, or other dangerous behaviors) which increases the likelihood of experiencing traumatic events, including harm to themselves or witnessing harm to others.

Regardless of which comes first, the trauma or the addiction, people who suffer from both experience behavioral and emotional difficulties, and that makes it much harder for them to stop using drugs or alcohol. So a successful treatment approach must tackle this dangerous cycle.

Recovery for Dual-Diagnoses

When unresolved trauma and addiction are at play together, what began as one problem becomes increasingly complicated by a second serious problem. The strategy that was being used to cope will itself become so disruptive that treatment is needed.

Read on co-occurring Disorders here.

Sometimes people are unaware that they are using drugs or alcohol to cope with unresolved trauma. They may only remember parts of the trauma that they experienced (or not remember at all), yet they are experiencing problematic patterns in their lives, that they cannot seem to resolve. They may end up in drug rehab, or another type of treatment, but they will likely get stuck in a cycle of repeated relapse until the unresolved trauma is addressed as well.

Whether you are a trauma survivor who began using substances to cope and developed an addiction, or an alcoholic or addict who suffered trauma as a result, it is important for you to find treatment that addresses both issues.

In the past, it was thought that each condition had to be treated independently of the other, and they would be addressed at separate facilities. People with unresolved trauma or PTSD were sent to mental health professionals, while addicts and alcoholics were sent to rehab. It is now recognized that not only is it possible to treat both conditions concurrently, it is better for the patient to do so. It is not enough to treat the addiction without treating the unresolved trauma, and vice versa.

Many treatment facilities are now equipped to handle dual diagnosis patients; they treat a number of mental health issues while also addressing the addiction. Comprehensive treatment for both mental health and addiction issues is needed to lessen the chances of relapse. Without it, relapse rates are very high. Strategies for relapse prevention for a trauma victim will include learning coping skills for managing the psychological and emotional triggers for drug or alcohol use.

Some of the features of an integrated program for people with a dual-diagnosis are:

  •       Consolidated care provided in one facility
  •       An integrated treatment plan that may include psychiatrists, psychologists, addiction therapists, and other medical professionals who are trained in dual diagnosis care
  •       Psychiatric medication if necessary
  •       Relapse prevention education
  •       Peer support from others who are also dual diagnosis patients

If you are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction and have unresolved trauma, please seek help and get started with treatment for both. The road to recovery is right in front of you, all you have to do is take the first step.

How Bipolar Disorder Can Lead To Addiction – And The Complexity Of Treating Both

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental condition that can disable those who suffer from it. Once referred to as manic depression, bipolar disorder causes sudden and intense mood swings, behavioral changes and energy surges.

These symptoms can severely disrupt a person’s life, leading to emotional and mental distress. This, in turn, lends itself to substance abuse and addiction. Studies also show that bipolar patients have more physiological or biological tendencies toward substance abuse than patients with other mental illnesses have. Furthermore, the risk factors don’t end there.

Resisting The Urge To Self-Medicate

Bipolar patients suffer insomnia, anxiety, societal pressures, pain and emotional issues. Individuals with bipolar disorder often have relationship issues and statistically have a higher rate of accidental injuries and suicide than other people have.

People with bipolar disorder are more inclined to develop addiction to drugs or alcohol as an escape from the physical, emotional and mental strain of the condition. According to the American Journal of Managed Care, about 56 percent of bipolar individuals battled drug or alcohol addiction at least once in their lifetime.

Alcohol abuse is more common than drug abuse among people with bipolar disorder, but these individuals can also get addicted to prescription pain medications not prescribed by a doctor. Soon, these patients become trapped in a cycle of using substances to combat the effects of the illness, feeling worse and then using again.

The Physiology Of Bipolar Disorder

Researchers are still investigating why bipolar patients have a higher rate of addiction than other mental health patients do, but experts believe it may have something to do with preexisting biological or physiological problems. These issues increase a patient’s likelihood of developing bipolar disorder and turning to drugs or alcohol to cope.

Patients with a dual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and substance use disorder have a long road to recovery. It begins with resisting the urge to self-medicate – the main precursor to a bipolar patient’s addiction.

Patients believe taking a substance will relieve the effects of bipolar disorder, but in reality, many substances’ side effects resemble the disorder, making the patient feel worse and complicating recovery. If patients can resist the urge to self-medicate, they can begin to seek healthy treatment avenues for bipolar disorders.

Potential Treatment Solutions For Bipolar Patients

While research continues, much is still unknown about the relationship between bipolar disorder and addiction. Studies do point to the need for a new treatment for bipolar disorder. The current most common treatment is lithium, but drug abusers do not typically respond well to lithium treatment.

Researchers are considering a few alternatives after limited drug studies:

  • Depakote: Another common treatment for bipolar disorder, especially during the manic phase, Depakote, when combined with lithium, decreased the number of heavy drinking days for patients with a dual diagnosis. However, studies also show the positive effects faded after six months.
  • Carbamazepine: This anti-convulsion drug has a varied history when used for cocaine dependency. It did appear to hinder cocaine use in one study of bipolar patients.
  • Seroquel: A controversial schizophrenia drug, Seroquel seems to lessen the symptoms of depression in patients with bipolar disorder.
  • Revia: This drug showed a small decrease in the number of drinking days when used on alcoholic patients with bipolar disorder in a 12-week study.

The relationship between bipolar disorder and addiction is complex and multifaceted. While alternative drugs show promise in certain studies, the scientific world has yet to see a real breakthrough in treating bipolar patients with addictions.

Integrated group therapy with a holistic approach specifically tailored to dual diagnosis patients may hold the answer. But, as of today, more research is necessary to know for sure the best way to treat these patients.

Bipolar Disorder Can Lead To Addiction: How To Break The Cycle

Bipolar patients typically have abnormal levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. These chemicals change the body’s response to stress and affect mood and emotion. Combining the best treatment for bipolar disorder and for addiction may address the brain chemistry that is likely the source of both issues.

Currently, treatment centers urge bipolar disorder patients to seek other ways to reduce the effects and triggers of the condition, such as natural therapies and healthy exercise. Finding a way to cope that doesn’t involve substances would substantially decrease the number of bipolar patients with addictions.

Dual diagnosis rehabilitation programs run by specially trained mental health professionals and addiction experts – such as those at Serenity at Summit – offer what is now the best care for patients with bipolar disorder and addiction.

Decriminalizing Addicts Who Are In Jail For Crimes Related To Mental Illness

Many people are surprised to find out that approximately 2 million people, who suffer from mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are incarcerated. In prison, they are unlikely to obtain the care they need for their mental illness, which often co-occurs with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Because of this nationwide problem, politicians, mental health experts, and leaders in government and law enforcement are making new efforts to find solutions that focus on treatment, instead of sentencing and jail time.

Last year, the APA partnered with the Council of State Governments Justice Center and National Association of Counties to launch an effort to reduce the number of individuals with mental illness in jails. The focus of the effort is on assessing mental illness risk factors, treatment evaluation and service capacity. Through the partnership, the organizations are also working on developing treatment and service plans to meet patient populations in the jail system.

Although there is greater exposure of the problem and more efforts to obtain help for those with mental illness who are incarcerated, there are still big challenges that are preventing change to the existing system. These obstacles include limited staffing, budgetary challenges, inadequate training and coordination issues between the criminal justice and treatment systems. There is also the ongoing hurdle to overcome the stigma of mental illness and addiction.

Prioritizing Treatment Over Incarceration

While there are certainly challenges when it comes to getting inmates with mental illness the help they need, Congress is starting to show interest in the problem. Currently there are several bills that have been introduced to potentially reduce the number of persons with serious mental illness who are served with jail time.

Interestingly, studies have shown that there is little evidence that criminalizing addiction prevents or even lessens the problem. In fact, there is evidence that longer incarcerations lead to a greater rate of recidivism. This is potentially due to the fact that most prisoners do not receive sufficient treatment for addiction in prison. There is also the reality that stressors that happen upon release from prison can quickly trigger a relapse, particularly in those who never received treatment for their co-occurring addiction and mental illness. In other words, the “War on Drugs” has done little to deter non-violent drug offenders, and has potentially worsened their conditions.

What Can Be Done To Help Those With Addiction And Mental Illness?

While many people will debate whether or not an addict should be criminalized, few will dispute that it is beneficial to get prisoners addiction treatment while they serve their sentences. Through addiction treatment, they have a much better chance of staying sober and not returning to jail and repeating the tragic cycle of using and being arrested.

Some experts suggest that there should be separate drug courts for nonviolent offenders who were convicted of using drugs, and not selling them. Rather than simply convicting them, an offender could potentially avoid a felony by submitting to drug testing and getting help, such as joining a support group.

Do You Have A Loved One Who Is On The Fast Track To Jail Because Of Addiction?

Ignoring mental illness and addiction will not make the problem go away. Often, early treatment can prevent incarceration and establish a foundation for long-term recovery. Call now if you have a loved one who needs help.


We’re here to answer your questions regarding treatment for co-occurring disorders. Call us now.

Find Out Which Is The Greater Threat: Alcohol Or Drugs

How PTSD Has Turned Our Veterans Into Addicts

With Memorial Day, our thoughts are turned to our brave soldiers who have passed on. Sadly, a growing number of those who have served our country are dying each day as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In fact, an average of 22 veterans commit suicide each day in the United States (source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs [VA]). In a year, this amounts to over 8,000 soldiers who proudly served to protect our freedoms. Even more disturbing is the fact that a substantial number of these individuals struggled with both PTSD and substance abuse.How PTSD Has Turned Our Veterans Into Addicts

Understanding The Link Between PTSD And Substance Abuse

After a trauma, such as witnessing and living in the devastation of war, it is extremely common to suffer after-effects such as anxiety, depression and insomnia. When these symptoms do not go away, it is considered to be post-traumatic stress disorder. In the case of soldiers, the events that can cause PTSD often go on for an extended period of time. Thus, it is quite common in those who return home from war. According to the VA, nearly 30% of their patients have the condition.

Due to the lack of treatment resources and because of symptoms that can be very difficult to live with, many veterans with PTSD self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. There have been many studies that have shown a strong link between PTSD and substance abuse in both civilians and veterans. In veterans, statistics from the VA are very telling:

  • One in five veterans with PTSD also has a substance abuse disorder.
  • One in 10 returning soldiers returning from Iraq or Afghanistan has a problem with either alcohol and/or drugs.
  • War veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism tend to binge drink.

How Drugs And Alcohol Worsen PTSD

Veterans who have PTSD and who struggle with substance abuse often also have relationship difficulties, physical pain, sleep disturbances or challenges holding down a job or staying in school. By using drugs or alcohol, symptoms of PTSD only get worse which compounds these other issues. Thus, it turns into a vicious cycle that is hard to stop. It is sometimes referred to as a cycle of “avoidance,” and it can cause the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder to worsen and continue on indefinitely.

Treating The Co-Occurring Disorders Of PTSD And Addiction

Treating The Co-Occurring Disorders Of PTSD And AddictionThere is substantial evidence that shows that the best treatment option for veterans who have both PTSD and a substance abuse disorder is a professional mental illness and addiction treatment program.

By focusing on the co-occurring disorders, the treatment can be focused on breaking the cycle and healing. In a program that treats co-occurring disorders, there is often a variety of treatments used to treat the body, mind and spirit including:

  • Detoxification treatment
  • Individual or group cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Specialized treatment for PTSD
  • Family therapy
  • Medications to help manage symptoms of PTSD
  • Trauma informed care sessions
  • Relapse prevention

What Should You Do?

If you have a loved one who is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and they need help for an addiction to drugs or alcohol, the first step is reaching out. They don’t have to struggle with these conditions alone.


There is hope, and they can get better. Call us now to get started.

Find Out More About Our Co-Occurring Treatment Program

The Role Childhood Abuse Plays In Future Substance Abuse

Did you know that if you suffered abuse as a child, your likelihood of becoming a substance abuser as a teenager or adult increases substantially? Studies have shown that childhood abuse primes the brain for problems later in life such as depression, anxiety, PTSD and addiction.

As unfair as it sounds, the trauma of childhood abuse can continue to haunt individuals in their teens, twenties and beyond. It’s an unfortunate reality that the old adage that time heals all wounds doesn’t necessarily apply to victims who have experienced abuse as a child.

Using Drugs Or Alcohol As A Coping Mechanism

The pain and suffering associated with physical, mental or sexual abuse, or some combination thereof, is so great and so central to an individual’s core self that the trauma and the resulting damage to the brain cannot be underestimated. Victims of childhood abuse often find themselves self-medicating with drugs or alcohol to alleviate the psychological pain they live with each and every day. Oftentimes, the victim doesn’t even understand or recognize the full extent of the damage they have suffered.

Childhood Abuse’s Impact On The Brain

Researchers are still in the early stages of understanding the full impact of childhood abuse on the brain. What is known is that abuse interferes with normal brain function and development. To cope with distressing experiences, the brain has the ability to alter signaling from pathways which can leave regions of the brain underdeveloped. The result of abuse can be varied but it commonly leaves victims prone to mood swings and depression and with either extreme or dulled emotional responsiveness. Some experts believe that these characteristics are a self-protective response that unfortunately can interfere with developing healthy behaviors and habits.

There Is Hope

While it may seem like substance abuse is an inevitability for an individual who has suffered abuse as a child, the reality is the vast majority of abuse survivors don’t develop addictions. And, those who do can overcome them. With the right type of support, emotional nourishment, and, in some cases, addiction treatment, there is very real hope for a positive, emotionally-healthy future.

Are you struggling with memories of a painful childhood or other trauma and now dealing with addiction?


Don’t wait another day to get the help you deserve as a survivor. Call us now to find out more.

Find Out Now If Childhood Neglect Increases The Risk Of Alcoholism

Mental Health Problems And Their Relationship To Addiction

It’s no secret amongst mental health professionals and addiction specialists that mental illness and addiction often exist as co-occurring disorders. This renders each condition more difficult to diagnose and more difficult to treat.

The Relationship Between Mental Illness And Addiction

Mental Health Problems And Relationship To AddictionThough the heartbreaking relationship between mental health problems and addiction is common, it is often overlooked or misdiagnosed. What research has shown is that there is a cause and effect between mental illness and substance abuse. Frequently, an individual with a condition such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder will use drugs or alcohol to numb themselves from painful symptoms of their mental disorder.

Untreated mental illness often fuels drug or alcohol abuse, leading to a vicious, self-defeating cycle that can be complex to treat. For most individuals with co-occurring disorders, simply going “cold turkey” isn’t an option. Treatment for both conditions needs to happen simultaneously to overcome the addiction and sustain recovery.

Are You Or A Loved One Self-Medicating A Mental Illness?

While anyone can develop a substance abuse problem, those with certain mental disorders are at greater risk. The following are common conditions associated with addiction:

  • Depression – It’s ironic that individuals who suffer from undiagnosed depression often turn to alcohol which is, in fact a chemical depressant.
  • Anxiety – Dealing with day-to-day challenges can be overwhelming for those with anxiety disorder which often leads to alcohol or drug use to alleviate unmanageable feelings, particularly in social situations.
  • BipolarDisorder – Dramatic mood swings are a hallmark of bipolar disorder. Many people who suffer from this condition turn to drugs or alcohol to balance their moods.
  • PostTraumaticStressDisorder – Flashbacks, sleep issues, and anger are just a few of the symptoms associated with PTSD. Those who don’t obtain effective treatment often turn to substances for comfort and solace.
  • Schizophrenia – This serious form of mental illness can be devastating and notoriously difficult to treat. Drug use is common among those with this condition to self-treat delusions, hallucinations, and psychosis.

Addiction, Mental Illness, And Getting The Help You Need

The conditions listed above, exacerbated by drug or alcohol abuse, can wreak havoc on an individual and their loved ones. The medically-proven connections between addiction and mental illness are well-documented, yet difficult to identify.

The first step is obtaining a comprehensive evaluation of both the mental illness and the addiction to identify the extent of the co-occurring disorders and the best treatment options. With each passing day, the problem will only get worse. Don’t wait. Call now and get the help you deserve.


Healing and recovery are possible. The staff at Serenity at Summit will treat you with the respect and care that you deserve.

Learn More About Our Addiction And Mental Health Treatment Program

Is Addiction Physical Or Psychological?

There has long been debate over whether addiction is driven by physical or psychological factors. However, almost all recent research shows that addiction actually has emotional, mental and physical dimensions.

Biological, Psychological And Behavioral Factors Of Addiction

Is Addiction Physical Or PsychologicalFrom a biological standpoint, there is definitely a genetic component to addiction. Some individuals are more likely to become addicted than others because of their genetic background. Other biological factors that can contribute to addiction include brain chemistry and even brain structure.

Yet, even if someone has a high predisposition toward addiction, they will not become an addict until they actually use drugs or alcohol. This is where psychology plays a part. Environmental factors such as family structure, friends, economic factors and stress can all make one person more likely to become addicted than another. Addiction can be a learned, unhealthy behavior in response to environmental factors.

As well, there is evidence that some people may have addictive personalities which puts them at a higher risk of addiction. Often, there are obvious signs of this such as problems with emotional regulation and impulse control.

Treating The Body And Mind

Just as there are many issues related to addiction, recovery is also multi-faceted. For many individuals, an underlying mental condition is a factor in the addiction. Mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often go hand-in-hand with addiction.

It is estimated that 50% of individuals suffering from mental illness also struggle with substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol are commonly used by individuals who try and self-medicate to numb the overwhelming symptoms of their illness. This can lead to a self-propelling cycle that ultimately leads to addiction.

To support successful recovery, it’s vitally important that treatment is focused on healing the body and mind. Treating addiction and mental illness needs to happen simultaneously because they are intertwined. Holistic therapies such as yoga and meditation, exercise, nutrition, and stress management are also important in long-term recovery. As well, therapy and relapse prevention is required.

Getting Help For Addiction And Mental Illness

Because the causes of addiction are complex, professional treatment is required. At Serenity at Summit, we have programs that specialize in dual diagnosis treatment.


If you or a loved one needs help with substance abuse and a co-occurring mental health issue, call for help now.

Learn More About Our Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program

Importance Of Recognizing Co-Occurring Disorders When Treating Addiction

It is a reality that many individuals who struggle with mental illness will self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. It’s also a sobering truth that many otherwise healthy individuals who fall into addiction eventually acquire mental illness.

The Link Between Addiction And Mental Health Issues

Recognizing Co-Occurring Disorders When Treating AddictionThe link between addiction and mental illness is undisputedly strong.

In fact, it’s estimated that around 50 percent of all individuals who have one or more mental health conditions also suffer from drug and/or alcohol abuse.

Some disorders are particularly common in those who suffer from addiction. These include depression, social anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder.

However, it is also seen in many patients who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and even schizotypal personality disorder.

The Importance Of Recognizing Co-Occurring Disorders When Treating Addiction

Because there is such a strong connection between addiction and mental health problems, effective addiction treatment must also include identification of any underlying mental health conditions, as well as specific treatment for them.

Recognizing and treating mental illness is vital to allow the individual healing and a more complete recovery from both the addiction and any mental health or traumatic causes or triggers.

Getting Help For Co-Occurring Disorders

Often, it’s the addiction that leads to an individual with co-occurring disorders to get help. Unfortunately, most of these individuals will find themselves in treatment programs that do little or nothing to address mental health problems. Significant research has shown that the chance of relapse is very high for those with co-occurring disorders who do not get combined treatment for addiction and mental illness. However, co-occurring disorders treatment can help those suffering from addiction and mental illness.

Getting real, lasting help requires stopping the cycle of self-medication. Only receiving treatment for both the addiction and related or underlying mental health conditions can truly address the self-propelling cycle of co-occurring disorders. An integrated approach to treatment is needed that includes detoxification, therapy, education, relapse prevention, and more.

Because recovery followed by relapse often leads to a worsening of symptoms of both the addiction and the mental illness, effective treatment that addresses both conditions is vital to sustaining recovery and preventing the frustration and heartache of multiple relapses.

Don’t Delay

Are you or a loved one suffering from addiction and a mental illness? Yes, it can be overwhelming, but effective treatment is available. With each passing day, it can be more difficult to treat. This is why it’s essential to be proactive in seeking treatment. Call us for more information on co-occurring disorders treatment.


Our team of experienced, caring professionals is here to help you or your loved one on a journey to recovery and healing.

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How Drugs And Alcohol Addiction Affects Someone With Depression

It’s estimated that up to 50 percent of alcoholics and a similar amount of drug addicts exhibit signs of serious depression. This begs the “chicken and egg” question, “Do alcohol and drugs cause depression, or does depression cause addiction?” There is no one clear answer. Rather, addiction and depression are closely linked.

Often, mental health is impacted by trauma or abuse. However, there are also other issues that can be at play such as a family history of mental health illness and biological factors.

It’s a fact that alcohol and some drugs are depressants and can make someone who is already showing signs of depression feel even more profound symptoms. Yet, many addicts “self-medicate” themselves to deal with the pain of depression and other mental illnesses.

Understanding Co-occurring Disorders

How Drugs And Alcohol Addiction Affect Someone With DepressionWhen depression and addiction exist together, it’s called co-occurring, and it requires specialized professional treatment. Addiction and depression interact in a way that is complex, and in some cases, difficult to understand. They require simultaneous treatment to address the relationship between the two.

While not every aspect of addiction or depression is completely understood, there are some facts that are widely accepted:

  • Alcohol and drug abuse dramatically increase one’s susceptibility to become depressed.
  • Individuals who are dealing with stress, anxiety or depression often use alcohol and drugs to escape from negative feelings and problems.
  • Over time, more drugs or alcohol are required to achieve the desired effect. This can directly lead to addiction.
  • Individuals with both addiction and depression are at a substantially greater risk of suicide, vehicular accidents, and risk-taking activities.

Treating Depression And Addiction

Often, depression and addiction can worsen together over time. When they do, a proactive approach is the best strategy. Co-occurring disorders treatment is designed to address symptoms of depression and the addiction. A quality program will include detoxification, along with individual therapy, educational programs, medical support, and relapse prevention.

Mental health screening is a vital component to being able to address co-occurring disorders. With a clear diagnosis, treatment strategies can be put into place to successfully treat mental health problems along with the addiction.


Now’s the time to break free from the pain and bondage of mental illness and addiction.

We Can Help You Or Your Loved One Recover – Contact Serenity at Summit Now!

Is Your Loved One Dealing With A Co-Occurring Addiction?

When you see signs of mental illness in a loved one, and you’re noticing indicators that there may also be a problem with substance abuse, it can be very alarming. You may not know where to turn to for help. Is this a problem to bring up with a primary care physician, a psychiatrist, or is recovery the best place for them to get the help they need?

How Common Are Co-Occurring Addictions?

First, it’s important to know that many people who have psychiatric conditions like anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. Mental health conditions can be incredibly difficult to cope with, and substances are commonly used to numb the pain and emotions associated with them. In fact, nearly one-third of all individuals with mental health conditions also have a substance abuse problem.

Time is of the essence for anyone who has co-occurring disorders. The cycle of relying on drugs or alcohol to combat the symptoms of mental illness can lead to a rapid decline and an addiction that is very difficult to break.

Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment

Because of this, it’s important to get your loved one into a co-occurring disorders treatment program that simultaneously addresses the problem of addiction and the underlying mental health problems. It is now widely accepted by mental health experts that addiction and mental health conditions are closely linked and need to be treated together.

What’s the danger of just treating the addiction or the mental illness? Actually, this is very risky. The reality is that when an individual with co-occurring disorders is only treated for their addiction, their mental illness can get worse. And, by only treating the mental illness, the addiction will not go away on its own.

An Individualized Approach To Recovery

Each person who is facing the reality of co-occurring disorders is unique. A one-size-fits-all approach to treatment rarely works because there are so many variables and considerations that need to be taken into account for treatment to be effective.

The right treatment begins with a thorough evaluation and the development of an individual treatment plan that is focused on addressing the specific addiction and the associated mental illness. This typically includes individual and group counseling, behavioral therapy, and other holistic and integrative treatments that help heal the body, mind, and spirit.

To learn more about co-occurring addiction treatment programs at Summit Behavioral Health’s outpatient co-occurring disorders treatment center in New Jersey, call us today.


By taking the first step, you can help your loved one overcome addiction and regain mental well-being.

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Proper Dual Diagnosis Treatment – Why It’s So Important

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 6 in 10 substance abusers have at least one mental illness. In fact, addiction is a common occurrence among individuals with mood disorders, including anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.

In the last decade, there has been significant research that supports the belief that co-occurring disorders are best treated together with a combination of behavioral and holistic therapies and medication. Unfortunately, many individuals suffering from addiction never get the help they need because they are not properly diagnosed. Without treatment for their substance abuse and their underlying mental disorders, the chance of recovery is slim. This is why it’s vital for individuals with drug or alcohol addiction to get properly diagnosed prior to starting treatment.

The Connection Between Addiction And Mental Illness

It was once a common belief that if an addiction could be cured, symptoms of mental illness would dissipate. However, epidemiological research shows that addiction and mental illness are intertwined and contribute to the development of each other. Often, it’s found that drugs or alcohol are being used as a form of self-medication to combat symptoms of mental illness. Thus, taking away the substance frequently leads to more pronounced mental illness symptoms.

Beneficial Dual Diagnosis Treatment Techniques We Offer

At Summit Behavioral Health’s outpatient depression treatment center in New Jersey, the focus is on providing individuals with personalized treatment for their mental health and addiction. This includes the development of a treatment plan that includes a variety of techniques to treat symptoms of the mental illness. These include:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Stress management
  • Mental health education and management
  • On-going support
  • Medication management

Research has shown encouraging results for individuals who receive treatment for co-occurring disorders. In some cases, when the mental illness is effectively treated, the desire to abuse alcohol or drugs begins to subside.

Still, it’s important to note that every individuals is different. What works for one person may not for someone else. Thus, a careful evaluation followed up by a detailed treatment plan is the best approach for treating addiction and mental illness.

Do You Need Help For Yourself Or A Loved One?

You don’t have to go it alone. Call us now to speak to a counselor who is ready to help. We will guide you and be with you every step of the way!

Also, check out these Tips To Prevent Relapse In Dual Diagnosis to strengthen your recovery and sobriety!

Overcoming Mental Illness And Addiction

The relationship between mental illness and addiction is complex, and the treatment of individuals with these co-occurring disorders, (also known as dual-diagnosis) is even more complicated than the treatment of either condition alone. Dealing with alcoholism, substance abuse or drug abuse is never easy. It is even more difficult if one is also struggling with a mental health issue.

Struggling With Mental Illness And Addiction

Rise Above-Mental Illness & Addiction-Summit RehabCertain groups of individuals with mental health issues, such as males, the poor, military veterans and those with a more general medical condition, have a higher likelihood of abusing alcohol or drugs such as opiates, marijuana, cocaine and other stimulants.

In fact, scientific studies show that nearly one-third of individuals with all mental conditions and approximately 50% of individuals with severe mental conditions, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, also experience substance abuse problems. Conversely, more than a half of all drug addicts and more than a third of all alcoholics are also battling mental illness.

Relationship Between Mental Illness And Substance Abuse

Many people use alcohol and drugs as a form of self-medication. Thus, individuals with untreated or partially treated mental conditions such as depression or anxiety may opt to self-medicate rather than seek a mental health treatment. Unfortunately, this only makes the problem worse.

Alcohol and drugs often worsen the underlying mental condition. This happens both during acute intoxication and during the withdrawal process. I.e., during intoxication, a person with depression can become suicidal. A drug addict with panic attacks, on the other hand, may experience worsening symptoms during the withdrawal process.

Substance abuse can also cause an individual without a mental condition to experience the onset of symptoms.

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

We provide detoxification and treatment with the appropriate medications to avoid withdrawal complications. Once our patients are safely detoxed from alcohol and drugs, we then begin the treatment of the underlying mental illness. We believe that treatment of dual-diagnosis is more effective once one is adequately sober and better able to participate in treatment.

Our outpatient mental illness and addiction treatment helps clients:

  • Overcome alcohol and drug addiction
  • Learn how to maintain sobriety
  • Gain support and guidance

Our treatment program also offers help and support for family members who are affected by the addict’s behavior. Our family care includes family education, individual family therapy sessions, parents support group, and multiple family group.

With proper treatment, self-help strategies and support, clients who are suffering from dual-diagnosis can reclaim their lives.

Call Us Now To Take That First Step Toward Healing For Yourself Or A Loved One!

5 Things You Didn’t Know About PTSD

When something traumatic happens to us, it is not unusual to need some time to recover afterward. An event like having experienced or witnessed a serious accident, a natural disaster, a violent assault, the sudden death of a loved one or a terrorist incident is not something that a person will be able to simply move on from overnight.

While most people eventually recover with time and proper support, someone with post-traumatic stress disorder (PDSD) is unable to pull out of the cycle of depression and anxiety months or even years after the incident. The following are things you may not be aware of regarding PTSD.

Things You Didn’t Know About PTSD

1. Symptoms May Not Appear Until Months Or Years After the Precipitating Event

A person can be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing symptoms for at least a month. The flashbacks, nightmares, emotional numbness and avoidance of people and places that are reminders of the trauma may not start until months or years later.

2. Not Everyone Diagnosed With PTSD Directly Experienced Or Witnessed The Trauma

Some people with this disorder who learned about a trauma that affected a family member or a close friend developed symptoms afterward. Others who develop PTSD, but did not directly experience the trauma are first responders who are exposed to repeated traumatic events through their work (i.e. police officers, firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians).

3. More Than Two-Thirds Of People Exposed To Mass Violence Develop PTSD

Per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, this figure represents a higher rate than people exposed to natural disasters or other types of traumatic events.

4. Women Are More Likely To Develop PTSD Than Men

Twice as many women as men develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Children develop it as well. The disorder often co-occurs in conjunction with substance abuse, anxiety or depression, per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

5. PTSD Is Not A Character Flaw Or A Sign Of Weakness

If a person could be exposed to one or more traumatic events and walk away without ever giving them another thought, we would probably wonder about their ability to experience empathy or compassion. Depending on a person’s personality, emotional makeup, whether he or she has experienced traumatic events in the past, and other stressors, post-traumatic stress disorder symptom may develop. We don’t blame people who are exposed to a toxic environment if they develop cancer, so it makes no sense to blame those who need help for PTSD.

Co-Occurring Treatment

Here at Summit Behavioral Health, it’s not uncommon for us to see individuals coming to us for help who are dealing with both an addiction and a mental illness (co-occurring disorder or dual-diagnosis). We believe that treating post-traumatic stress disorder (or any other mental health disorder) must be done in conjunction with addiction treatment. By focusing on dealing with the deep-rooted reasons for the addiction, we help completely heal the entire person – emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Summit Behavioral Health offers supportive and professional co-occurring treatment for those dealing with both a mental health issue and addiction. We provide stress management, individual and group therapy, long-term coping skills and other services to our clients to focus on their successful long-term recovery.

Don’t Suffer For One More Day…You Really Don’t Deserve It – Call Us Now!

Tips To Prevent Relapse In Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis occurs when a patient experiences both an alcohol or drug problem alongside a mental disorder. Drug or alcohol issues tend to occur with certain mental illnesses. Among them are depression, personality disorders, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders.

Recovery can be a difficult journey, and risk of relapse is high. The best chance of preventing relapse is obtaining proper rehabilitation at a treatment facility that is equipped to properly address both mental and substance abuse problems simultaneously, such as Summit Behavioral Health.

Incorrectly Dealing With Your Mental Illnesses

Tips To Prevent Relapse In Dual Diagnosis | Relapse Prevention TipsSome people struggling with both a substance abuse problem and mental illness use drugs and/or alcohol to self-medicate an existing mental illness. Using these substances may temporarily minimize mental illness symptoms, but never treat them properly, and generally makes the mental illness much worse. Other people develop mental illness from excessive substance abuse over time.

At Summit Behavioral Health, our counselors treat dual diagnosis by addressing both problems simultaneously.

Rehabilitation And Personalized Addiction Therapy

At Summit Behavioral Health, patients receive integrated treatment. Rehabilitation makes patients focus on why they actually use alcohol or drugs. Summit patients can discuss these issues confidentially, without fear of negative consequence. Our counselors offer information regarding how drugs and alcohol interact with mental illness, while having patients participate in addiction therapies. These personalized therapies can improve mental and physical quality of life while giving patients the strength to not relapse.

Staying Positive During Recovery

Following the first stage of rehabilitation, Summit patients often require additional mental consistency to maintain abstinence from alcohol and drugs. Patients must keep their mind focused on the big picture, have a positive attitude, and maintain inner strength. This positive thinking is key to relapse prevention.

Tips To Prevent Relapse

Temptation is everywhere. What’s important is your response.

  • Make sure to keep appointments with your Summit counselors
  • Do not stop taking your medication
  • Remain at your current residence unless the environment proves too difficult
  • Maintain employment
  • Keep company with other sober people

The initial months of recovery are the most difficult. Take it one step at a time and keep a solid support system at your back.

Keeping A Strong Support System To Prevent Relapse

A strong support system is paramount to relapse prevention. Support systems may include supportive and sober peers, family members, and your Summit counselors. The choice is up to you! Communicate. The more your support system understands your struggle, the higher the chances of a lasting recovery.

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Mental Health, Addiction And Recovery – The Facts

Mental Health And Drug Addiction Programs | Dual Diagnosis RecoveryA Summit Behavioral Health, our recovery specialists are well equipped to address addictions stemming from emotional and psychiatric disorders. Mental disorders may lead patients to self medicate through drug and alcohol abuse in an effort to subdue feelings associated with the disorder. Psychologists generally define these types of cases as dual diagnosis. In order to effectively address the substance dependency, the underlying disorder must be tackled.

Identifying Dual Diagnosis

Before an addiction can be properly treated, it must be assessed to determine whether a dual diagnosis is apparent. Whether the root of the issue is the dependency or mental disorder does not matter. In some cases, patients are found to create emotional/mental disorders through their dependency issues. Other times, it is the opposite. The real issue is finding out which illnesses exist in order to determine an appropriate plan of action.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs

Our rehabilitation facility offers mental health treatment programs to dual diagnosis patients in a manner similar to most other rehab facilities. However, in addition to dependency issues, Summit Behavioral Health works to address emotional, mental and psychiatric disorders as well. Treating dependency alongside underlying disorders works ensure a full and successful recovery while minimizing relapse risks.

Addiction Education In Treatment

One of the keys to our mental health and drug addiction program is addiction education. Patients at Summit Behavioral Health learn how drugs and alcohol interact with the human body while gaining a better understanding of their specific mental illness. By knowing how these two disorders interact, patients become better able to address their treatment in a more focused and effective manner.

Looking For A Quick Rehab Fix?

There isn’t one and there shouldn’t be. Long-term, successful addiction recovery doesn’t work that way. Our drug and alcohol treatment program is but one of the many steps on the road to recovery. Success is based solely on the determination and commitment of the individual patient. The faster patients grow, heal, and learn during their treatment, the quicker the process.

Overcoming Denial In Addiction

Addiction is never an end goal. As such, most people suffering from alcohol or drug dependency are found in a state of denial. Combine this denial with an emotional or mental health issue, and the severity of the situation is often overlooked. In many cases, it is at the persistence of friends and family that addicts are able to finally come to grips with the reality of their predicament. In the end, it is up to the individual in question to determine the outcome.

Call Us Now To Begin A Journey To Healing And Recovery!

Why Is Dual Diagnosis So Common?

Individuals who display substance addictions alongside mental health issues are referred to as having dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. These individuals often have a harder time overcoming addiction due to the two diseases feeding off one another. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, between one-third and one-half of all people who have some type of mental illness also battle drug or alcohol problems. Conversely, about the same percentages, between 33 percent and 50 percent, of substance addicted people also show signs of clinical mental illness.

Why Is Dual Diagnosis So Common - Customized Dual Diagnosis TreatmentDepression, anxiety and bipolar disorders are a few of the more common mental-related issues that can lead to an increased reliance on drugs and alcohol. Many times the individual turns to these substances to ease the symptoms of their mental illness. This may temporarily “mask” their painful symptoms, but in the long run, more damage than good is being caused.

Customized Dual Diagnosis Treatment

While there is no one way to treat dual diagnosis, it is important to remember that mental health challenges tend to be highly individualized; therefore, any treatment approach must consider the specific mental disorder while simultaneously dealing with the drug or alcohol issue.

A recovering addict, who has a clear mind, is better able to participate effectively in a mental health treatment plan than someone who is actively using drugs or alcohol. Someone suffering from dual diagnosis should seek a supportive and individualized recovery program. It has been shown that substance abusers in such groups are much more successful at achieving long-term sobriety.

To be the most successful, treatment of dual diagnosis at Summit Behavioral Health is individualized to meet each client’s specific needs. Mental health and addiction treatment addresses the problem of individuals who use drugs and/or alcohol to self-medicate and helps the individual heal from both mental illness and their addiction in a safe and comfortable way.

Dual diagnosis is a complex issue that requires customized and professional treatment. With the proper approach, anyone can learn how to lead a happy, balanced and drug-free life.

If you or a loved one is interested in customized and professional treatment for co-occurringdisorders, call us today!