Treating Co-Occurring Disorders with Integrative Treatment Plans


shutterstock_242965117According to the American Addiction Centers, a co-occurring disorder is defined as a person living with a substance use disorder as well as a mental illness, A combination of mental health disorders and addiction qualifies for what is also called a dual diagnosis. This may include alcoholism and depression, anorexia and cocaine dependence and more.


Which Comes First

Individuals experience addiction and mental health differently. Some people begin to notice symptoms of mental health issues in childhood or adolescence. Mental health issues can occur during childhood or adolescence and coincide with experimentation of drugs or alcohol. Others may self-medicate to cope with trauma and mental health concerns. A third group of people may develop an addiction which becomes so problematic that the onset of mental health symptoms are triggered.




Integrative Treatment

Mental health disorders co-occurring with substance abuse or addiction can be a lethal combination. Poor lifestyle choices combined with a co-occurring disorder require focused, professional treatment. Integrative treatment provides a range of services including resources and therapy to cope with:


  • disrupted sleeping patterns
  • chronic medical conditions
  • communication skills
  • nutritional deficits and poor eating habits
  • repairing family relationships
  • job skills and work-related issues
  • legal issues


Integrated treatment programs offer comprehensive rehabilitation with medical, therapeutic and holistic resources to assist the whole individual with physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development.


Treatment Plan

An individual who seeks treatment for a dual diagnosis might wonder what is involved. Several elements can be included to help create a well rounded plan which treats the entire person including the addiction and any mental health issues.


  • Medical detox – person provided with medical support and monitoring throughout to help stabilize in treatment
  • Evaluation – ensure all mental health symptoms are diagnosed properly and identify any other issues which might be an obstacle in treatment
  • Diagnosis – help client better understand past experiences and plan for future
  • Treatment plan – uniquely designed with each individual for range of therapeutic and medical interventions with a goal to empower the individual
  • Therapy – one-on-one treatment, discussion of past experiences, current issues and goals for the future (based on initial treatment plan)
  • Group and family therapy – 12-step groups, support groups for mental health concerns, or other groups may be integrated into plan. Family may be brought together to discuss their role in recovery and how to support the person, including resources for themselves



Prior to leaving treatment, individuals are encouraged to discuss post treatment options with a therapist. Included will be unique services, goals and needs of the person on an ongoing basis to support a healthy, long lasting recovery. Transition to independent living will be discussed and resources provided as needed. Individuals who seek integrated treatment will receive recommendations for continued mental health services and alternative therapies as needed.

If you are seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one dealing with mental health and addiction, contact Lead Recovery today at 800-380-0012. Trained counselors are available to help answer questions and provide resources for treatment.