Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment Centers Near Me
Nearly half of all people who are diagnosed with a mental illness will develop a substance use disorder (SUD) sometime in their life. Conversely, many with a SUD will at some point be diagnosed with a co-occurring mental illness.1
The term co-occurring disorder is used to describe a situation of someone having at least one substance use disorder in addition to one or more mental health issues, such as major depressive disorder.5 Such conditions can also be referred to as comorbidity or, more historically, a dual diagnosis.7
Treatment for co-occurring disorders can be challenging; however, an integrated plan of care that addresses all conditions simultaneously may support more positive health outcomes for those in recovery.2
What Is Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders?
Integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders combines interventions for both mental health and substance use disorders by connecting people with appropriate healthcare providers to ensure they get all their needs met in recovery.2, 3, 5 Integrated treatment is tailored to the individual to meet them at the stage they’re at in recovery.5
Depending on the severity and type of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders present, every person’s treatment plan can look very different.3 Some common aspects of integrated treatment include individual and group behavioral therapy, addiction counseling, and pharmacotherapy (use of treatment medications).3, 5
Research shows that taking an integrated treatment approach to co-occurring disorders leads to consistently more positive outcomes compared to treating each disorder individually.4
Assessment of Co-Occurring Disorders
Before starting treatment for any disorder, it’s important to undergo a thorough assessment to ensure you receive the proper diagnosis and treatment plan to meet your needs.8 In some cases, substance-related symptoms and mental health issues can have very similar symptoms, which can complicate the diagnosis process.
It may be helpful for some people to be evaluated after a period of abstinence to help differentiate between any symptoms related to active substance use and/or withdrawal and those stemming from any comorbid mental health disorder.8
The 12 steps of assessment for co-occurring disorders outlined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are:5
- Engagement. Rapport is built between the patient and clinician to facilitate an open exchange of information regarding mental health, substance use, and related issues.
- Reaching out to family, friends, and other healthcare providers. This allows the treatment team to gather potentially useful information that might otherwise be difficult for a person in early recovery to report themselves.
- Screening for other mental health disorders to ensure each disorder is treated appropriately.
- Determining the relative severity of both the co-occurring mental disorder and SUD to better inform an appropriate level of care.
- Determining the level of care. Examples include inpatient care, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, or other treatment.
- Determining the diagnosis to ensure a proper treatment plan. Thorough histories of past mental and SUD diagnoses, their timelines, and corresponding levels of functioning can be important to best determine accurate diagnoses.
- Determining any disability and functional impairment to assess the need for case management, higher levels of support, and other levels of care requirements.
- Strengths and supports. Identifying current skills, sources of support, and other strengths to foster more positive engagement in treatment.
- Cultural or linguistic needs. Would you do better if your treatment was in a different language or given by someone with cultural experience?
- Identify problem domains. What are the areas that need particular focus or are causing you the most suffering?
- Stage of change. Do you see your mental health as a problem? Are you ready to make the necessary changes? Beyond simply pairing treatment with specific diagnoses, matching treatment interventions to individual stages of change can make for best treatment practices.
- Planning treatment. Depending on a comprehensive assessment of all the above, you and your treatment team will create a treatment plan.
Behavioral Therapy for Co-Occurring Disorders
Behavioral therapy is commonly used in the treatment of co-occurring disorders; however, the type of therapy used may depend on your diagnosis. Some common therapy methods used to address co-occurring disorders include:4
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps people to identify and change potentially harmful thought processes and behaviors.
- Contingency management (CM), which is an additional form of treatment that encourages healthy behavior changes through voucher- or prize-based incentives.
- Integrated group therapy (IGT), which is particularly used for people with bipolar disorder and SUDs and uses principles based on CBT to make a connection between the 2 disorders to better manage them together.
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), which is a type of therapy that focuses on reducing attempts, thoughts, and urges for self-harm and substance use.
- Family therapy, which usually involves at least 1 family member or person that you live with and can include multiple people. The intention of family therapy is to increase your support at home by strengthening and teaching skills to the people who are closest to you.
In addition to a range of medications that can be used to manage various mental health disorders, there are several types of medications that are approved for use in treating certain types of SUDs, like opioid and alcohol use disorders.4 The types of medications used in treatment will depend on the type and severity of mental health disorders, including SUDs, and your individual treatment plan. Once initiated, medications will continue to be assessed for patient safety, adherence to treatment, and therapeutic response.5
Medication for Treating Mental Health Disorders
Mental health disorders that are commonly managed with medications include anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, major depressive disorder (MDD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, and other psychotic disorders.
Medications for mental health conditions may help:5
- Stabilize your mood.
- Manage depressive symptoms and alleviate manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder.
- Reducing distressing symptoms for people with anxiety or depressive disorders.
- Manage any psychotic symptoms associated with several mental health conditions.
- People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) feel calmer and more focused.
Medication for Treating Substance Use Disorders
Treatment medication for SUDs can be helpful in reducing cravings, blocking the reinforcing effects of substances like alcohol and opioids, and minimizing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.4
Medications to treat substance use disorders and/or manage acute withdrawal during detox include:4
- Buprenorphine-naloxone (Suboxone): Opioid abstinence maintenance and relapse prevention
- Methadone: Opioid relapse prevention, and prevents withdrawal syndrome
- Naltrexone: Reduces cravings for alcohol and opioids
- Acamprosate: Maintaining alcohol abstinence
- Disulfiram: Helps promote alcohol abstinence by creating a severe physical reaction if you drink
- Benzodiazepines (or other sedative medications): Used during detox to minimize the risk of acute alcohol withdrawal complications such as seizures.
Mutual Support Groups for Co-Occurring Disorders
Finding support in a group with people who share your struggles may provide encouragement and motivation to continue the recovery journey.
There are several types of 12-Step programs and community support groups that may help people in recovery from SUDs and those living with a mental illness, also known as dual recovery. Though participation in mutual support groups can begin as part of an inpatient or outpatient treatment program, meeting attendance often continues well beyond the treatment period. Support group meetings can be attended by anyone in recovery—regardless of whether you are in or ever underwent formal treatment.
Groups for dual recovery may help with:5
- Giving firsthand perspective about co-occurring disorders and recovery.
- Practical steps and a plan to achieve and maintain dual recovery.
- Providing literature and resources about recovery.
Research shows that mutual support groups can positively contribute to a person’s recovery.5 Members repeatedly attest to the benefits of participating in the groups like improved mental health, better attendance in treatment programs, and fewer substance-related issues.5
How to Choose a Rehab Center for Co-Occurring Disorders
There are many options to consider when choosing treatment for co-occurring disorders. Here are a few important factors to consider when researching rehabs:
- Accreditation: Agencies check for proper certification, use of evidence-based treatments, and standard living conditions.
- Co-occurring disorder treatment available: Check to see if they can treat people with co-occurring disorders and what level of treatment they offer.
- Specialty programs: Do they offer programs for specific people groups? Gender-specific? Veterans? LGBTQ+?
- Individualized treatment plan: Check that the facility offers comprehensive treatment that meets all your needs.
- Insurance: What kinds of insurance are accepted and what does it cover?
- Cost: The cost of treatment will vary depending on several factors like location, type of facility, amenities, and level of care.
Barriers to Treatment
People with co-occurring disorders can face several barriers that make it difficult to get treatment.5 Some face difficulties finding treatment that meets their cultural, linguistic, or gender-specific needs.5 Other common barriers include:5
- Socioeconomic barriers like low income or insurance restrictions.
- Systemic barriers like poor service availability.
- Practical barriers like lack of transportation, childcare, or limited access to resources.
- Cultural barriers like lack of acknowledgment of mental illness or shame for getting treatment.
- Personal barriers like lack of insight or motivation for treatment.
Find Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment Centers Near Me
If you find yourself experiencing any of the barriers listed above or simply feel ready to get help for co-occurring disorders, it can be difficult to know where to start. You are worth quality treatment and American Addiction Centers (AAC) can help you find that treatment. Contact AAC today free at to speak with our compassionate team who can help you check insurance, learn about treatment options, and get into recovery today.
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