How Are Comorbid Disorders Treated?

By O'Connor Professional Group

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Most individuals who are seeking treatment today are living with comorbid disorders. Also called dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder, these individuals have a diagnosable substance use disorder as well as a mental health disorder. Mood disorders like depression and anxiety are extremely common with personality disorders like borderline personality disorder coming in second. In the past, comorbidity was not treated concurrently. Individuals went to treatment exclusively for addiction or exclusively for mental illness. Until recently, mental illness and addiction weren’t seen as co-occurring disorders. Now, the industry has widely held understanding that addiction and mental illness go hand in hand. Treating both is necessary for healing both. Otherwise, treatment providers simply treat a gunshot wound with band aids.

The first step in treating comorbid disorders is a proper assessment. Clinical assessments are a first line of defense in healing mental illness and addiction. In addition to assessing the severity of substance abuse, treatment providers get a detailed history which can indicate mental illness. Commonly, treatment providers utilize a BPS, a biopsychosocial, which takes a client’s biological history, psychological history, and social history into account. Clues from the BPS can direct treatment providers toward necessary clinical assessments for specific mental health disorders. Assessments are critical because they inform a customized, individualized plan of care. Someone with an addiction to alcohol who also suffers from depression can not be treated in the same way someone with an addiction to crystal meth who also suffers from bipolar is treated. Though there are no standards in care among addiction and mental health treatment, there are many evidence based therapeutic treatments proven to reduce symptoms and potentially put diagnoses into remission.

Each individual needs a plan of treatment designed to meet their specific needs, interests, likes, and dislikes. For examples, two clients with the same exact diagnosis might react to massage therapy differently because of their unique experiences with trauma.

Most important to understand is the necessity that comorbid disorders be treated concurrently. Mental illness with comorbid addiction disorders are intimately connected. Healing both means healing both as opposed to one or the other.

Let the O’Connor Professional Group take the guesswork out of putting a treatment plan together. Our combined personal and professional experience empowers us to empower you with a private consultation and customized plan of action for getting the help you need. Call us today for information: 617 910-3940

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