What are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Co-Occurring disorders happen when someone experiences a Mental Illness and a Substance Use Disorder at the same time

Mental health and Addiction DO NOT discriminate, they can, and do affect all groups of people; These illnesses are common, recurrent, serious and very often show up, hand in hand (CFO Cole Watts and LCDC Howard M. believe approximately 90% of Stages of Recovery clients experience these co-occurring disorders). However, they are treatable, and many people do recover if given the appropriate care, management/life skills and coping skills.

Mental disorders typically involve, drastic changes in thinking, mood, and/or behavior. These disorders influence every aspect of an individual’s life, from connections and relationships with others, rational thinking patterns and choices made.

Formal diagnosis often depends on a individual’s reduction in day to day functioning. For example:

  • Serious mental illness is defined as an adult (over 18) who has had a diagnosable mental, behavior, or emotional disorder, that in turn causes serious impairment that largely limits or inhibits one or more major life activities

  • For youth populations (under 18) “Serious Emotional Disturbance” refers to a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder causing impairment that interferes or severely limits the minor’s role or functioning in family, school, or community activities.

  • Substance use disorders occur when the repeated use of alcohol or drugs overtakes most other aspects of someone’s life or causes significant damages with health, relationships, career, schooling and wellbeing, that are disregarded due to the substance use

For more information visit: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disorders

Did you know that addiction to drugs or alcohol is ALSO a mental illness? In 2014, 20.2 million adults in the U.S. had a substance use disorder and 7.9 million had both a substance use disorder and another mental illness. More than half of the people with both a substance use disorder and another mental illness were men (4.1 million). Having two illnesses at the same time is known as “comorbidity” and it can make treating each disorder more difficult.

How Does Stages of Recovery treat Co-Occurring Disorders?

  • All of our counseling staff are masters level clinicians qualified to treat Co-Occurring Disorders and all staff is familiar with the DSM-5
  • We have Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners on staff to medically treat the co-occurring disorders our clients experience — they are able to prescribe medications and manage a variety of  medical situations
  • Our curriculum encompasses mental health, psycho-education around mental health, Cognitive Based Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness
  • Early Recovery has life skills productiveness which helps with mental health (e.g. making sure clients get up in the morning, clean their rooms, keep up with their personal hygiene, how to interact in a job interview)
  • All staff collectively works together, counselors talk with house managers, Nurse Practitioners talk with counselors, and so on.
  • If we suspect a co-occurring disorder, our Nurse Practitioner will do an assessment to confirm or deny suspected disorder.
  • We always take into consideration that a co-occurring disorder may have been onset by drug usage and actively monitor symptoms to determine if treatment for this disorder is still necessary
Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment Centers, Stages of Recovery