Do you feel an increasing need to self-medicate your anxiety or depression with drugs and/or alcohol? Has substance abuse had an impact on your mental health?


If so, you’re not alone. Many people struggling with addiction also have underlying mental health issues that may or may not be diagnosed.  In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, those with mood or anxiety disorders are almost twice as likely to use or abuse drugs.


The guidance of dual diagnosis treatment centers can be the best way to get the help you need for your addiction and mental health concerns.


Use this guide as a reference point to understand the definition of dual diagnosis and how treatment can help you:

  1. What is dual diagnosis treatment?
  2. What are the types of conditions included?
  3. What treatment methods are used for drug addiction and mental health?
  4. Why is it important to treat both mental health and drug addiction together?
  5. Are there treatment centers near me in Denver, Colorado?
  6. Take the first step to getting treatment today.
  7. Call our comprehensive rehab center.


What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

When someone has co-occurring disorders, they struggle with mental illness and addiction at the same time. These conditions often feed off each other in a continuous negative cycle. Either condition can appear first and then agitate the other.


For example, someone suffering from high anxiety, bipolar or borderline personality disorder may have a few drinks before going into a stressful situation. Though this form of self-medication may seem to help at first, it eventually leads to a habit, making the mental illness worse.


Conversely, abusing drugs or alcohol can create significant changes in the brain leading to depression or other mental disorders.


In the past, mental health and substance abuse were often treated separately. Patients had to get clean and sober before they could start mental health treatment. Towards the end of the last century, clinicians discovered the importance of treating these conditions simultaneously. They found taking an integrated approach to treating the whole person was much more effective than trying to deal with these conditions separately.


The importance of integrating mental health and addiction services was led by Ken Minkoff. His vision for the comprehensive, continuous, integrated system of care (CCISC) sought to transform the way behavioral health and related services delivered treatment at every level. His work inspired several treatment centers to provide effective new programs.


One of the major barriers of effectively treating addiction and mental disorders simultaneously are the different cultures of these fields. Traditional addiction treatment may not have the necessary tools to help those suffering from mental illness. In addition, weekly trips to a psychiatrist or psychotherapist may not be enough support to recover from addiction. Denver Recovery Center understands the complex webs weaved by mental illness and addiction. Our treatment model is designed to help the whole person using a variety of creative interventions and therapies. Experts provide a holistic, integrated approach empowering change for those battling addiction and mental illness.


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What are Typical Conditions Treated in Dual Diagnosis Rehab?

If you have concerns about how your mental health and substance abuse are connected, you are not alone. In a 2014 Survey on Drug Use and Health, almost 8 million people in the U.S. deal with a mental disorder and addiction simultaneously.


Mental illness is a very broad description of several conditions and symptoms. Since addiction and mental illness comes in many forms, diagnosing and treating them requires expert intervention.


How does someone develop a dual diagnosis?

Typically, there are three ways co-occuring conditions develop in a person.

  • Abusing drugs or alcohol may cause the onset of symptoms for another mental illness condition.
  • Those struggling with mental illness may use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate their conditions leading to addiction.
  • Addiction and other mental illnesses are brought on by trauma (especially early in life), genetic abnormalities, or defects in brain functioning.


Common mental health conditions associated with addiction:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Mood disorders
  • Untreated attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Autism spectrum diagnosis
  • Sleep disorders


The symptoms of both mental illness and addiction often overlap making a diagnosis difficult. In addition, these symptoms can range from mild to severe and fluctuate over time. Since biological, psychological, and environmental components are often involved, dual diagnosis mental health and substance abuse assessments need to be thorough and completed by specially trained professionals.


If you or your loved one has shown signs of mental illness and addiction, Denver Recovery Center can provide hope. We know one of the most important steps for treating this complex condition involves proper assessment and diagnosis. Our team of experts works closely with you and your family to pinpoint the issues causing your struggles. From there, we can create the most appropriate action plan for treating your conditions.


Methods for Treating Mental Health Issues and Addiction

The most effective treatment requires a highly individualized approach. Both mental illness and addiction require specialized, comprehensive treatment. Since many people with co-occurring conditions are considered high-risk for overdose, suicide, legal troubles, and chronic illnesses, getting qualified help is crucial.


A single approach is rarely the answer. Most people entering top dual diagnosis drug addiction and mental illness treatment centers get help using a combination of several methods. These may include:


– Medication Management

Medications can be used to treat some addictive behaviors as well as the symptoms of mental illness. Using medications alone typically doesn’t lead to a full recovery. They can, however, help alleviate symptoms and reduce cravings. Drugs are prescribed by qualified physicians or psychiatrists. In many cases, patients need to be monitored to determine the effectiveness and emerging side effects of the medications.


– Therapeutic Communities (TCs)

Therapeutic communities are carefully designed programs providing a supportive environment for recovery. Patients learn to socialize and develop important skills by participating in an immersive community focused on recovery. TCs are led by qualified therapists and support staff and thrive on the support participants give each other throughout their stay. Many residential and inpatient programs adopt concepts from therapeutic communities.


– Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Behavioral therapies like CBT are often used in conjunction with medications for more effective treatment. The premise behind cognitive behavioral therapy is that one’s thoughts affect emotions and behaviors. Certain harmful beliefs could lead to maladaptive behaviors. By changing the way one thinks about his or her self, others, and the surrounding environment, it could lead to positive changes in behavior and emotional resilience.


– Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

During DBT, a therapist helps the patient set goals meaningful to the patient. This helps them build a life they feel is worth living. Therapists guide patients to reduce harmful behaviors and replace them with more acceptable actions. This involves life skill training, individual psychotherapy, and real-time coaching.


– Exposure Therapy

This behavioral therapy can be helpful with those suffering anxiety disorders alongside addiction. A therapist gradually exposes a patient to certain stimuli triggering negative responses. It starts in a controlled environment, with either real or imagined stimuli, and slowly builds to real life situations. The patient eventually becomes desensitized to the triggers while learning effective coping skills.


– Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

This form of psychotherapy treatment empowers those dealing with trauma to heal from the emotional distress and other symptoms. EMDR uses detailed procedures helping patients deal with emotionally disturbing subjects by focusing on an external stimulus such as lateral eye movements. In time, this focus helps activate the brain’s natural healing processes to desensitize the emotional charge of the trauma.


– Group Therapy

Specialized groups run by trained therapists allow those struggling with mental illness and addiction to share their stories, ideas, and solutions. Group therapy provides a support network where patients get peer support and multiple perspectives in handling different situations. The topics for group therapy are carefully selected and guided so they remain therapeutic.


– Family Therapy

Addiction and mental illness don’t just affect the individual. In most cases, family members feel the impact of their loved one’s struggles with co-occurring conditions. Family therapy provides a platform of mutual healing and support where broken bonds could be mended. In addition, it gives family members the knowledge and skills they need to better understand how addiction and mental illness are affecting their loved one’s life.


– Outdoor and Experiential Therapies

When used with other therapies, outdoor and experiential therapies can provide an engaging way for patients to work through negative emotions, build important social skills, and discover new outlets for a positive lifestyle. Trained therapists use exciting activities to take patients out of their comfort zone, helping them discover their true potential. These can include team building activities or adventure programs like camping, hiking, and canoeing.


– Alternative Therapies

Using alternative therapies like meditation, yoga, creative visualization, and deep breathing exercises help strengthen the mind-body connection of those dealing with co-occurring disorders. By regularly practicing alternative therapies, patients learn more effective coping skills, how to detach from negative emotions, and practical ways to deal with cravings.


As you can see from all the options discussed, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for treating addiction and mental health issues. By using a combination of the therapies mentioned above along with intensive therapy and a structured aftercare plan, the likelihood of success greatly improves.


Our treatment center creates true change by discovering your unique strengths and struggles. The information gained during the assessment process allows us to provide you with a treatment program that is both therapeutic and engaging. By using the most recent evidence-based therapy approaches, we can better help you take control of your life.


Why is it Important to Treat Both Mental Health and Drug Addiction Together?

Those dealing with mental illness and substance abuse issues often have symptoms much more severe and persistent than those struggling with a single disorder. Maintaining sobriety while working through mental health issues can be very difficult.


Treating the conditions separately can not only be ineffective, it can cost more in the long run. The best outcomes involve integrated treatment by clinicians understanding how mental illness affects addiction and vice versa.


You will want to make sure you enter a program where you will not only get an accurate diagnosis, but also an effective treatment approach to battle each condition. This is why it can be necessary to choose a program specializing in dual diagnosis addiction treatment. Some addiction programs simply aren’t equipped to effectively deal with mental health issues and entering unqualified programs may do more harm than good.


We have a program specializing in the needs of those struggling with both addiction and mental health disorders and we understand the complex interplay between the two conditions. Our highly individualized interventions provide the greatest chance for success.


Are There Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers Near Me in Denver, Colorado?

One of the top-rated dual diagnosis treatment centers is nearby in a close suburb of Denver, Colorado. At Denver Recovery Center in Broomfield, we offer a variety of programs from outpatient to inpatient residential programs. We help each person entering our program create an individualized and comprehensive plan catering to your specific needs.


Our scenic backdrop not only provides serenity and reflection, but an opportunity to experience the surrounding area’s recreational offerings as an extension of treatment. Our treatment specialists have the passion, knowledge, and experience to help you regain control of your life in a unique setting that only the greater Denver area can provide.


Take the First Step Toward Getting Treatment

Recognizing that you need treatment is the first brave step in changing your life. You may be scared or apprehensive. As each day wears on, however, you may be realizing that something must change.


Change is hard. It can be uncomfortable. It may take a lot of help. Know that we are here to support you every step of the way. From that first nervous call, to celebrating the success of a recovery milestone, we will accompany you on the journey.


And your journey begins with one simple step. Pick up the phone and call us right now.  


Call Our Comprehensive Rehab Center Today

If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction and mental health issues, calling us today may be the difference between a life lost and a life restored.


Those struggling with co-occurring conditions often don’t have the resources to fight their battles alone. Denver Recovery Center specializes in empowering those with addiction and mental illness to take the steps necessary to regain control of their lives.


By calling our 24/7 hotline today, you can speak with a compassionate, non-judgmental professional ready to answer your questions and hear your concerns. Whether you are simply looking for more information or you truly feel you need our services, we are ready to hear from you. Start your future today by calling 844-307-2955.


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