Substance abuse is often accompanied by a significant secondary condition that contributes to an individual’s alcohol or drug misuse. Often misunderstood, chemical dependency is not a character deficiency or moral weakness. It is a progressive, potentially fatal disease. But many aren’t just battling addiction. Years of study have shown that at least 30 percent of people who recognize their alcohol and/or drug abuse also have other emotional disorders. If these co-occurring mental health issues aren’t addressed, long-term recovery is difficult to achieve.

Co-occurring or “dual diagnosis” issues can include depression, extreme anxiety, childhood sexual abuse, trauma, bipolar and more. These conditions exacerbate the addiction, and really need to be treating concurrently for the best results. During co-occurring treatment, the addicted individual learns first to confront the negative effects of addiction. At the same time, the family learns to understand why chemical dependency is a disease, what may complicate recovery and how to relate to each other constructively.

Treatment for everyone begins with an evaluation and assessment, creating a foundation for treatment. The appropriate level of care is determined — inpatient, partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient – and if detox is needed to withdrawal, that happens prior to the beginning of the rehabilitation phase of treatment. A personalized treatment plan is then created that includes a mix of group and individual therapy, activities and family therapy. But treatment doesn’t end there. Continuing Care provides continuous, comprehensive support after discharge. It includes ongoing access to the hospital staff, individual and group therapy sessions and family support as well as referral to, and monitoring of, AA/NA program participation.

Characteristics of Alcoholism