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Co Occurring Disorders

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Where do you and your loved ones fall on the scale of addiction ?


People with drug addictions are often saddled with various underlying mental health issues. This is a problem that is clearly recognized by Dual Diagnosis Programs. The traditional treatment for a person that was dependent on drugs included getting them clean and sober. Afterwards, they were counseled and placed on a program to treat any mental issues. Clearly, the drug issue and mental health issue were treated separately. The fact is that studies show that most drug dependency is due to an undiagnosed mental health issue. Therefore, it just makes good sense to treat both issues at the same time. Thus, Dual-Diagnosis Programs were born to improve treatment of drug addicted individuals.

Dual-Diagnosis Programs

The purpose of the dual diagnosis program is to make sure that those addicted to drugs receive the mental health treatment that they require to live a healthy and normal life without drug dependency. Here is an interesting fact to note. Many drug addicted individuals have underlying problems like depression, bi polar disease, schizophrenia, or an anxiety disorder. Dual-Diagnosis Programs take a look at the drug addiction and the mental health issue and customize a treatment plan to address those problems.

Entering A Program

Is a Dual-Diagnosis Program right for you? Well, those that have been treated in the past with the traditional method might be prime candidates for the advanced treatment. Dual-Diagnosis Programs offer a higher level of care that is aimed at treating the addiction along with the mental health issue. The fact is that more and more drug addiction centers find that this is the only way to make sure that the individual overcomes the addiction and becomes a happy and healthy person.

However, in order to enter a Dual-Diagnosis Program the addicted individual must undergo a complete evaluation by a drug addiction professional or mental health professional. Getting one's life together begins with realizing that drug addiction and mental health issues are present and require treatment. Get help and live a happy and healthier life-with Dual-Diagnosis Program treatment.

Eating Disorders

Signs and Symptoms

Most of us know or have known someone who has struggled with an eating disorder. They have painful, tough disorders to handle due frequently to patient denial despite obvious problems. The earlier these diseases are recognized, the easier the treatment will begin. Anorexia Nervosa is a medical condition defined by low body weight. Most patients are adolescent females, although they can strike at any age. For diagnosis, the patient must be underweight, but early symptoms start with heavy, excessive exercise, inappropriate calorie counting, and blunt refusal to eat. At later stages, patients will have marked exercise intolerance, heart arrhythmias, and very thin body hair. Patients will often deny that they have any issues. The other most common disorder is Bulimia. This disorder also most commonly strikes adolescent females, but again can hit at any age and any gender. This disorder most commonly manifests in girls who are overweight who desire to be thin. Patients will engage in a binge and purge behavior, eating a large amount of food before voluntarily vomiting it up. Those around the patient may notice horrible dentition, or teeth, and degraded, foul smelling fingernails due to the stomach acid coming up with the food on a regular basis. At extreme levels, this disorder can also cause heart problems.

Treatment for Eating Disorders

All patients should first be encouraged to see a medical doctor. Basic labs and an EKG should be done, as the vomiting can damage the heart as well as throw off the body's electrolytes. At this time, the doctor will decide if the patient requires a hospital stay to normalize the body's electrolytes imbalances or the heart. If the patient requires a hospital stay, the patient will gradually start feeding normally again. It is important not to force too much food into the patient too quickly because this can cause a refeeding syndrome and actually make problems worse. The physician will check daily weights and ensure the patient is feeding completely. If the disorder hasn't progressed too far, a more conservative treatment might include outpatient counseling to get to the root of why the patient feels the need to restrict eating. Finally, if the disorder is severe, the patient may require forced hospitalization for a prolonged stay with long term feeding protocols and weight gaining foods. Patients should remember that there are many treatment options available for patients who are struggling with an eating disorder.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Millions of people across the United States suffer from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Treatments for most people include psychotherapy, medication, or both. Since everyone is different, each person may need a different plan of treatment for his or her PTSD. Anyone who suffers from this debilitating disorder should be treated by a mental health provider who has experience in treating PTSD. Some people need to try different treatment options in order to find out what works best for their symptoms. Often times, other co-existing problems must be treated, such as substance abuse, panic disorder, depression, or suicidal thoughts.

PTSD Psychotherapy (Talk Therapy)

This form of treatment involves clients talking with a mental health professional in order to treat mental illness. It may be done in a group or one-on-one. Most psychotherapy treatments for PTSD usually last from 6 to 12 weeks. Sometimes, more sessions may be needed. Having supportive friends and family is an important part of recovery.

There are different types of psychotherapy that may help those with PTSD. Some therapies directly target the PTSD, while others may focus on problems with family, friends, or the job. A combination of therapies may be utilized. The main components are emphasized in therapy, such as skills to manage the symptoms, help to identify triggers of the symptoms, and education about the symptoms.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is quite useful in the treatment of PTSD. It includes exposure therapy, which helps people face and control their fears in a safe environment. The therapist helps clients cope with their feelings. Cognitive restructuring helps people made sense of bad memories. They may be able to let go the guilt over circumstances that were never their fault. It helps PTSD clients see what happened in a realistic way.

PTSD Medications

Antidepressants have proven to be some of the best medications for treating PTSD. They may control some of the overwhelming symptoms. Medication may be prescribed in conjunction with psychotherapy. There are other medications that are being studied to help with PTSD symptoms, such as insomnia and nightmares. Doctors work with their patients to find out what combinations work best to treat the PTSD.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a potentially serious mental illness that often sets in when an individual reaches early adulthood, typically from ages 18 to 25. While there is no known cure for bipolar disorder, many people are able to manage the illness and limit the size and frequency of their episodes to a manageable degree.

The Highs and Lows of Mania And Depression

Bipolar disorder is best known for its dual personality extremes; mania and depression. Mania is a situation in which people feel high and indestructible and often undertake reckless behavior. Examples of manic behavior include erratic spending, engaging in promiscuous sex, and quitting jobs and breaking off relationships with loved ones; each of which can be very damaging to a person's life.

On the other end of the spectrum is depressive behavior which can lead to a person being very depressed, closing themselves off from others, quitting jobs and existing relationships, being self-destructive and even suicidal.

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Medication: A double edged sword
One of the most common ways to Treat bipolar disease is with medication. Anti-psychotic drugs, mood stabilizers, and sleeping and anxiety aides are all forms of medication that can be prescribed to patients who are bipolar. Some of these medications have very real side effects including weight gain, tardive dyskinesia, and hearing voices. While medications are commonly prescribed to test bipolar disease and have big advantages in some cases, they can also be harmful in other situations.

Group Therapies and Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy and Group Therapy/support groups are common ways to help in treating bipolar disorder, helping patients to understand when they are experiencing the side effects and ill effects of their disorder while steering them in the right direction to avoid the drastic consequences of their actions. Group therapy helps provide a supportive and understanding community for those suffering from bipolar disorder, encouraging healthy behaviors and recognizing unhealthy ones together.


Explaining Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder is currently one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. OCD can contribute to anxiety, depression and possibly suicidal thoughts if not treated properly and on a long-term basis. Alcohol and drug addiction may often co-occur alongside OCD. There are many movies and shows that portray people with OCD as basically healthy individuals with a few nervous quirks that they laugh off. But for many people who suffer from OCD, this illness can cause overwhelming and powerful feelings that can be disruptive to daily life. If you or someone you know is suffering from symptoms of OCD, it is imperative to get proper treatment as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD can start showing symptoms in people as young as teenagers but also often emerges later in life. The United States National Library of Medicine has stated that teenagers suffering from OCD are especially vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse. OCD is marked by having certain obsessions or compulsions. Obsessions can be frequent images and/or thoughts that can cause the sufferer a lot of anxiety or stress. The person then tries to make the thoughts go away with yet another thought or an action, known as a compulsion. Compulsions are marked as rituals or activities that are used to make obsessive thoughts go away, although they may have no real connection to the actual thought itself.

Frequent OCD obsessions and compulsions may include:

  • Fear of germs or excessive worry of getting sick
  • Fear for safety and compulsive behaviors, such as locking and re-locking windows and doors
  • Thoughts of self-harm or harm towards others
  • Obsessive thoughts over numbers
  • Fear of losing someone they love
  • Excessive washing and cleaning
  • Excessive praying
  • Repeating words or numbers
  • Excessive tapping
  • Hoarding useless items

Obsessions and compulsions can easily take up more than an hour of the person’s day and significantly disrupt their daily routine. It is important to bear in mind that OCD is a chronic illness that the victim cannot help. OCD can be treated with a combination of medication and therapy, but those who suffer from it should always talk to their primary care physician about their options. With help from professionals, OCD can be managed effectively to allow the person to lead a normal, healthy life.

Borderline Personality Disorder

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder, or "BPD," is a severe mental illness that is characterized by feelings of impulsiveness, self-distortion, extreme emotions, and intense, yet unstable, relationships. In addition, individuals with BPD often experience additional psychological disorders such as eating disorders, anxiety, and depression to name a few. Increased rates of suicidal behavior and substance abuse often present themselves in conjunction with this disorder.

What Causes Borderline Personality Disorder?

Researchers believe that a wide array of factors contribute to borderline personality disorder. These interacting factors include genetics, neurotransmitters, neurobiology, and environmental factors. In many cases, the way in which these factors interact set the stage for the development or emergence of BPD.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction

It is not uncommon for individuals who experience these types of psychological disorders to turn to substance abuse in an effort to hide the pain, embarrassment, stigma, and emotions that run rampant. Substance abuse can also be a form of self-medication, despite their incapability to do so. In fact, this form of abuse often intensifies the feelings and symptoms associated with BPD. According to Psych Central 2012, Dr. David Sack explains “Addicts with BPD have been described as both treatment demanding and treatment resistant. In a study of patients in a detox program, those with BPD were significantly more likely to have an unplanned discharge than those without BPD." The occurrence of simultaneous drug addiction and BPD are based on many of the same underlying causes. As a result, it can be beneficial for patients to seek dual treatment to wholly address these issues.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Biopolar Personality Disorder

The symptoms of BPD are characteristic of those which present themselves with substance abuse. Therefore, it can be difficult to differentiate the two. Yet, constant advancements in BPD and substance abuse research have identified some of the most common symptoms of BPD. These include:

  • Intense mood swings
  • Severe periods of depression or anxiety
  • Feelings of suicide
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Excessive anger or aggression
  • Impaired sense of self
  • Intense fear of loneliness
  • Eating disorders
  • Brief Psychotic Episodes

Overview of BPD

Ongoing research of this condition is changing the way that borderline personality disorder is being viewed in society and treated. Dual treatment is often beneficial for treating multiple conditions simultaneously. Patients who experience BPD have more hope now than ever for maintenance and normalcy.

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a brain condition that affects the way a person acts, feels, and looks at the world. Schizophrenia makes it difficult to distinguish reality, think clearly, handle emotions, communicate to others, and perform normally as a person.

People suffering from schizophrenia frequently have other mental health conditions like anxiety disorders, severe depressive illness, or substance abuse issues.

Schizophrenia is a challenging condition, but it’s not incurable; it can be successfully managed. Once the condition is identified, treatment should be undertaken immediately. With the right medication and support from friends and families, schizophrenia can be managed and cured.

Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia sometimes develops abruptly in a person without any indication. But generally, it turns up bit by bit, with negligible signs and a slow decline in performance long before the first major episode.

People around them start suspecting something wrong, but they can’t pinpoint what. They family and friends start to find them emotionless, strange, indifferent and withdrawn.

The most common early signs in them that they observe include:

  • carelessness with hygiene
  • change in the manner of speaking
  • depression
  • expressionless gaze, showing no emotions
  • forgetful, unable to concentrate
  • hostility
  • intense reaction to criticism
  • oversleeping or insomnia
  • paranoia
  • social withdrawal
  • strange usage of words
  • weird or irrational statements

Schizophrenia Causes

environmental factors – city born and raised, use of prohibited drugs, certain infections, parent’s age, and inadequate nutrition during pregnancy, etc. genetic factors - include a variety of common and rare genetic variants, like culture, observed behavior and personal experiences.

Schizophrenia Treatment

Schizophrenia treatment is contingent on the constant and continuous administration of antipsychotic medication together with therapy, job training, and recovery of social life. The patient requires some form of daily living support. Find communities that offer systems to help with jobs, lodging, self-help groups and emergency situations.

In more severe cases, forced hospitalization may be necessary, for the benefit of everyone concerned, the patient included.

Even when symptoms have already diminished, Schizophrenia patients need a lifetime treatment. Their management should be under the guidance of a psychiatrist who is qualified in treating schizophrenia. With appropriate treatment, most people with schizophrenia can manage their condition.

Although schizophrenia is a challenging and lingering disorder, help is available in many places. With love and care from families, medication, and therapy, schizophrenia patients are able to recover and take charge of their lives again.

If you think that someone close to you has schizophrenia, show your love and support and help that person get immediate diagnosis and treatment.


Usually diagnosed in childhood, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD can even last into adulthood. Individuals with ADHD are often overly active and have difficulty paying attention to others. They also tend to find it difficult to control impulsive behavior.

Individuals with ADHD sometimes resort to using alcohol or drugs to help them cope with their symptoms. Some become hooked on stimulants that doctors have prescribed for them to treat their ADHD symptoms. This addiction is often difficult to diagnose or treat without professional help.

Some factors that may influence an individual's chance of developing ADHD include the following:

  • Heredity: The most common cause
  • Exposure to toxic substances such as lead or tobacco or alcohol exposure while in the womb
  • Brain injury, disease or tumor or stroke

Some symptoms of ADHD behavior include the following:

  • Difficulty controlling speech or actions
  • Difficulty listening to others
  • Forgetfulness
  • Easily distracted
  • Inability to organize responsibilities or tasks and difficulty completing them
  • Fidgeting
  • Misplacing or losing items

Because of their tendency to forget appointments, adults with ADHD feel disorganized and frequently find it difficult to perform in a work environment. Their relationships may suffer due to failure to pay attention to others, speaking before thinking or forgetting social commitments. They may attempt to cope with these problems through drug or alcohol abuse.

It's estimated that one-quarter of adults in treatment centers for alcohol or drug abuse also have ADHD. Programs that simultaneously treat both addiction and ADHD utilize a dual diagnosis approach. Treating both addresses the possibility that frustration might lead to self-medication. Important elements of a successful ADHD recovery plan include individual counseling, family and holistic therapy, and self-help groups.

Vital components of a dual diagnosis program include the following:

  • Thought and behavior modification to control ADHD symptoms and discourage substance abuse
  • Encouraging motivation and building self-esteem
  • Identifying triggers of substance abuse and learning to manage impulses
  • Educating family members about ADHD

A successful dual diagnosis program deals with managing ADHD symptoms and modifies the triggers and responses during the individual's recovery period. The goal is to allow the individual diagnosed with ADHD to be free of substance abuse and to live a healthy, functional and productive life.

If you or someone you know is struggling with ADHD and substance abuse, feel free to call us for help today.

Panic Disorders

Approximately six million Americans suffer from panic disorders. Women are twice as likely to develop a panic disorder than men. Panic disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Panic disorders develop from a complex set of factors such as: genetics, brain chemistry, personality and traumatic life events.

What is a Panic Disorder?

Panic disorders are also called anxiety attacks. These are spontaneous out-of-the-blue attacks that occur unexpectedly and some times during sleep. A panic attack is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches its peak within minutes. People often feel as if they are choking while their heart is pounding at an accelerated rate. It is common to sweat, tremble, feel nausea, dizzy, feel hot and cold, and sensations of shortness of breath. There have been reports of having a feeling of unreality or feeling detached from oneself. Those suffering from panic attacks may feel fear of losing control or fear of dying. Many of these symptoms mimic those of heart disease and people often make trips to the emergency room.

Those suffering from Panic Attacks do not understand they are suffering from a real treatable disorder.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the treatment of choice for panic disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps identify and change the distorted thinking patterns that maintain anxiety. After eight treatments 85 percent of people are panic free. Those suffering from panic attacks and agoraphobic avoidance need to work on changing patterns of thinking and exposing themselves to situations they fear.


Physicians or Psychiatrists may prescribe medication to treat panic disorders. These are anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants. Even though antidepressants are used to treat depression they also help panic disorders. Anti-anxiety medications can be a little too strong. It is best to talk with a doctor for the best option. Some doctors prescribe beta blockers to help control the physical symptoms while being treated with CBT. Taking medication for panic disorders during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects. Talk to your doctor before taking any medication while breast-feeding.

Which treatment is better?

Some people well on just medications. Others do better on a combination of CBT and medications and others do well just on CBT.

Talking with your doctor is a key part of treatment and safety. It is also a good idea to know all test results and keep a list of medicines a person is taking. If you or someone you care about is struggling with a panic disorder, don't delay. Call now! Representatives are available 24/7 to help find treatment centers and support worldwide.

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