TREATMENT STRATEGIES FOR CO-OCCURRING DISORDERS
The thought of trying to recover from a mental health disorder or a co-occurring disorder can be overwhelming, which is why a comprehensive treatment plan, as well as a supportive team, is essential for recovery success. Below show strategies to be employed for Co-occurring disorder recovery;
- Residential treatment programs: These programs provide structured, supervised support as you go through rehab. Removed from the stresses and triggers of your daily environment, you may find that it’s easier to focus on your recovery.
- Outpatient treatment options: Many rehabilitation facilities offer outpatient alternatives for clients who don’t need 24-hour supervision. For younger teenagers, parents or people with work commitments, outpatient care may be the best way to get the proper treatment without interrupting important life routines.
- Individual therapy: Individual therapy for co-occurring disorders centers on tasks like building motivation, identifying self-defeating thoughts and learning positive new behaviors. Today, the leading rehab facilities have abandoned the old, confrontational style of therapy in favor of a non-confrontational, collaborative approach to treatment that focuses on reinforcing the client’s sense of self-worth and preventing relapses in the future.
- Medication therapy: Psychotherapeutic medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotic medications, and anti-anxiety drugs, are often prescribed as part of a co-occurring disorders treatment program. Anti-addiction medications may also be prescribed to minimize cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
- Peer support groups: Social withdrawal is often the result of living with a serious mental health disorder. When an individual adds drugs and alcohol to the mix, isolation can get even worse. Peer support groups and 12-step programs like Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA) let you know that you’re far from alone in your efforts to lead a healthy, stable life. Group counseling and 12-step programs are an integral part of many rehab programs.
- Education and counseling for families: Supporting a loved one with a mental illness and a substance abuse problem can be frustrating and heart-breaking. Whether you’re the patient or someone who’s close to the patient, education and support can make all the difference in the world when it comes to surviving co-occurring disorders.
- Holistic therapies: Increasingly, mental health clinicians have come to appreciate the role of alternative therapies in drug and alcohol rehab. Acupuncture, hypnotherapy, massage, equine-assisted therapy and yoga are now offered by many rehabilitation programs as part of a treatment plan for co-occurring disorders.
- Ongoing support after rehab: After the individual has completed a rehabilitation program, the recovery journey is really just beginning. Finding a program that offers comprehensive aftercare services is as important as choosing a facility that provides integrated care. The individual should have access to counselors, support groups and other recovery resources after being discharged from treatment, so one can continue to evolve in recovery. Many facilities offer transitional housing for graduates who need a partially structured, secure environment to minimise their chance of a relapse.
Fig 1.1: Core treatment principles for adolescents with substance use disorders