Living with trauma is anything but easy. Trauma is insidious and often precedes the development of unhealthy coping habits, one of which being substance abuse. This risky behavior can either lead to new underlying mental health disorders or exacerbate those that are already present. With the help of a trauma therapist, any underlying mental health disorders that trigger addictive behaviors can be addressed and learned to be maintained for long-term abstinence.
Our understanding of treating addiction today takes into account the importance of addressing both mental health and the addiction itself. An individual diagnosed with alcohol or drug dependency can also have an entirely separate mental health diagnosis.
This combination is defined as co-occurring disorders (or dual diagnosis) and treatment for co-occurring disorders involving substance abuse is now a widely recognized field in professional therapy. A licensed therapist that provides counseling for dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders treatment uses a specialized approach to achieve sustainable results.
Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment
Due to the nature of drug dependency and mental health, co-occurring disorders are often intertwined and the symptoms of one directly impact the other. Without treating both aspects of co-occurring disorders, new symptoms can develop or current symptoms can worsen, increasing the likelihood of relapsing into old behaviors.
For instance, symptoms of anxiety or depression can lead a person to use mind or mood altering substances as a coping mechanism for undesirable thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Though it might work initially, over time alcohol or drug dependency exacerbate existing mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
If left untreated, the underlying disorder can become unmanageable without using the substance, cause an increase in thoughts of suicide, and could even develop into a disorder only treatable by psychiatric intervention. By combining treatment strategies, a dual diagnosis trauma therapist is able to offer replacement strategies to cope with unwanted symptoms and effectively increase the chances of sustaining long-term abstinence.
Achieving & Sustaining Abstinence
Freedom from addiction is possible and with the help of a licensed trauma therapist long-term abstinence can be achieved and sustained. However, it is important to remember living life free of alcohol or drug dependency begins by learning to maintain the symptoms triggering the impulses that lead to substance abuse.
Co-occurring disorders treatment and addiction counseling allow an individual struggling with a dual diagnosis to learn healthy coping mechanisms in place of substance use. Developing new and healthy coping strategies helps to alleviate the desire for substance abuse while arresting the progression of the underlying mental health disorder.
Counseling for co-occurring disorders treatment can include individual counseling, family counseling, EMDR therapy, group therapy, medication therapy, and other related therapeutic options, including an integrated approach. Regardless of which method is used, the importance of co-occurring disorders treatment is most notably seen in the lives of those forever changed because they sought out help.
Are you living with an addiction-related dual diagnosis and ready to begin taking the steps towards long-term abstinence? To make an appointment with a trauma therapist in Boca Raton, contact Morgan Center For Counseling & Wellbeing.