The Relationship of Substance Use Disorder and Mental Illness

suicide and substance abuse, gateway treatment centersAt Gateway, we recognize that mental illness and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) often coincide. In fact, the presence of a co-occurring diagnosis is more the “rule” than the exception. The terms “dual diagnosis” or “co-occurring” refer to an individual that is affected by two or more disorders or illnesses.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that 37% of individuals with alcohol use disorder and 53% of those with a drug use disorder also have at least one serious mental illness.

It is difficult to diagnose which came first – the SUD or the mental health disorder. Drug use can cause one to experience symptoms of mental illness. However, mental illness can also lead to drug use as a form of self-medication to manage symptoms. There are many overlapping factors that can make it difficult to detect the initial issue.

“There is no question that no matter which came first; both issues need to be addressed in treatment,” said Katie Stout, Executive Director at Gateway. According to reports from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the most common reason for relapse is an untreated mental health problem.

“The best chance of recovery is through an integrated treatment program that includes treatment of the SUD and the mental health illness,” said Katie Stout.

Evidence-based treatment for co-occurring disorders includes: motivational interviewing, mindfulness based therapy, trauma informed therapy and 12 step facilitation.

Gateway is a recognized leader among behavioral health care providers in offering substance use disorder treatment, as well as treatment for individuals that are diagnosed with a co-occurring mental illness. To learn more about our treatment programs visit us at RecoverGateway.org.

Co-Occurring Disorders: The Chicken or the Egg?

Known as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder, substance abuse and mental health issues frequently occur together. In fact, 80% of individuals with addiction issues have a co-occurring mental health issue according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The question comes down to the chicken or the egg – which came first and which do we treat first? The mental health issue or the substance abuse issue? “The likelihood of succeeding in treatment is greatly enhanced when both are treated simultaneously. Integrated treatment approaches coordinate substance abuse and mental health interventions to treat the whole person,” said Sally Thoren, Executive Director of Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Chicago.

Desperate man

Individuals arriving at Gateway receive a comprehensive assessment and those who are found to have a mental health disorder may be admitted into our specialized dual diagnosis program. “We use a variety of clinically proved treatment methods to address co-occurring substance abuse and mental health problems at the same time, in the same program by the same treatment team,” said Thoren.

As each individual is unique, so should be their treatment plan. We work together with individuals to develop a customized treatment plan that capitalizes on methods that may have worked for them in the past. In addition, medication assisted treatment may be used if deemed appropriate for the individual.

If you know someone struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues, know that help is available. Visit RecoverGateway.org for more information.

Mental health and alcohol abuse: Is there a connection?

During the month of May, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers, Mental Health America and countless other organizations across the country are bringing awareness to mental health. Mental Health Awareness Month aims to fight the stigma associated with mental health issues as well as provide support to those who may be struggling.

While we support mental health awareness year round, this May, GatewayiStock_000059997060_Medium Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers would like to highlight the strong correlation between mental health issues and alcohol abuse.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA), 80 percent of individuals with addiction issues have a co-occurring mental health issue. These can include depression, mood disorder, ADD, among others.  “In our experience the number of people with a dual diagnosis may be even higher,” says Jim Scarpace, Executive Director, Gateway Aurora.

Alcohol abuse and mental health issues go hand in hand because both are tied to similar centers of the brain. Alcohol temporarily energizes the center of the brain responsible for depression and anxiety, decreasing those symptoms for a person.

The effects of using alcohol to self-medicate are fleeting, leaving a person feeling substantially worse than prior to using. Still, many use this “band aid” approach because it helps them obtain some manner of immediate relief. However, when a person drinks to make them self feel better, they create a cycle that repeats, so both the alcohol abuse and mental health issue worsen.

Caught in the spiral, it is almost impossible to stop the cycle without help and support. To learn more visit RecoverGateway.org/MentalHealth

Treat Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders Together

dual-diagnosis, co-occurring, gateway treatment centers

Article By:
Gilbert Lichstein, LCPC, M.S. Clinical Psychology
Program Director
Gateway Chicago West

Known as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder, substance abuse and mental health issues frequently occur together. The likelihood of succeeding in treatment is greatly enhanced when both are treated simultaneously.

Clients arriving at Gateway receive a comprehensive assessment and those who are found to have an Axis 1 mental health disorder may be admitted to the dual diagnosis unit. Axis 1 disorders include depression, mania, excessive anxiety and psychosis. One of Gateway’s distinguishing features is the depth with which we are able to address these issues.

Dual diagnosis care involves creating an individualized, client-centered treatment plan, which is a hallmark of Gateway’s approach to all treatment. We work together with clients to develop mental health care that capitalizes on things that may have worked for them in the past.

During this process, we listen to strategies clients believe will work and synthesize this information with our expertise to provide feedback and enhance those strategies.Medication assisted treatment is offered, but not mandatory.

One aspect of treatment that sets Gateway programs apart from other programs is our co-occurring disorders group, which is a standard part of all our residential programs. The core curriculum is a mindfulness based sobriety curriculum that combines relapse therapy, motivational interviewing, and acceptance and commitment therapy, all of which are evidenced-based practices. Treatment for mental health disorders is built into the continuum of care, so discharge planning starts when the person enters treatment.

Patients may elect to have family and loved ones involved; our family group component is an evidence-based practice for mental health concerns.

Chicago-IL-West-Drug-Abuse-Psychologist-Office

Treatment Programs and Gateway Chicago West

Life Skills Treatment and Recovery: the LSTAR Program

The LSTAR program at Gateway’s Chicago West location is an enhanced co-ed residential treatment program for people with both substance abuse and moderate to severe mental health concerns. More robust than our standard dual diagnosis program, LSTAR has proven to be effective for clients who did not succeed in other programs.

LSTAR provides more one-on-one contact, addressing mental health concerns with greater concentration. Individual counseling, psychological consultation, monitoring, nursing, testing and assessment are ongoing.

Additional components of LSTAR include:

  • Co-occurring group which uses an evidenced-based cognitive behavioral therapy curriculum
  • Mindfulness based sobriety, motivational interviewing, and seeking safety, a curriculum for co-morbid trauma and substance abuse
  • Single and multi-family group counseling, 12-step facilitation and transition groups to help clients adjust to outside care
  • Recreational therapy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) anger management curriculum

To learn more about the treatment of co-occurring disorders, or for a free consultation, call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers today at 877-505-HOPE (4673) or visit RecoverGateway.org.

Gateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center in Chicago Suburbs Offers Dual Diagnosis Program

Group Treatment at Gateway Aurora

Group Treatment at Gateway Aurora

To meet the unique needs of individuals struggling with addiction as well as untreated anxiety, anger or trauma-related concerns, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Center in Aurora offers an Adult Co-Occurring/Dual-Diagnosis Residential Treatment Program (Co-Ed) wherein both concerns may be addressed at the same time by one collaborative team.

Research supports integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis—and decreases the odds for relapse. Through this effective treatment program, individuals with co-occurring disorders can learn not only how mental illness impacts their lives, but how to:

  • Manage their condition with a healthy lifestyle and prescribed medications.
  • Regulate their emotions using proven techniques like mindfulness.
  • Nurture healthy relationships by improving communication and coping skills.

What is a Co-Occurring Disorder/Dual Diagnosis?

Often times people abuse alcohol or drugs in an attempt to escape their distressing thoughts and painful feelings created by an underlying mental health concern. In fact, it’s more common than not for people with a substance abuse problem to also have a mental health issue, such as depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety. When someone has both issues it is referred to as a co-occurring disorder. For lasting recovery, it’s extremely important for people with co-occurring disorders to take the necessary measures to manage both concerns. That’s because untreated mental health problems increase the likelihood for substance relapse.

For more information about our Aurora Treatment center visit RecoverGateway.org/Aurora.

 

Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment’s Dr. Phil Welches Honored by IADDA

Gateway Foundation's Dr. Phil Welches and Michael Darcy

Pictured at the 45th Annual IADDA Fall Conference with the Dr. C. Vincent Bakeman Memorial Award is recipient Gateway Foundation’s Clinical Director Dr. Phil Welches and Gateway Foundation President and CEO Michael Darcy.

Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment, a leading provider of substance abuse treatment, announces today its Clinical Director Dr. Phil Welches received the prestigious Dr. C. Vincent Bakeman Memorial Award at the 45th Annual Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA) Fall Conference in Lisle, IL, on September 6, 2012. Named after Dr. C. Vincent Bakeman, a pioneer and a visionary in drug addiction treatment and prevention, the award celebrates the work done by Illinois’ leaders in the field of substance abuse services. Recipients of the award are those who have clear vision for the future of the prevention and treatment field, consistently communicate their vision and are tireless leaders dedicated to the advancement of substance abuse treatment and prevention.

“Dr. Welches’ commitment to implementing advancements in the treatment of addiction and his ability to improve the quality of clinical services within the field make him most deserving of the Dr. C. Vincent Bakeman Award. His leadership in integrating evidence-based substance abuse treatment practices and fidelity measures has earned Gateway Foundation a reputation as a leader in providing innovative treatment for substance use disorders,” explains Michael Darcy, President and CEO, Gateway Foundation.

With more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Welches has led efforts to promote concurrent treatment of substance abuse and co-occurring mental health problems. His success in this area of expertise earned him an invitation to participate in the nationwide Collaborative on Dual Diagnosis Capability in Addictions Treatment (DDCAT) chaired by Mark McGovern, Ph.D, of Dartmouth Medical School. Dr. Welches also served as a member of both the DDCAT Measurement Refinement Workgroup and the Dual Diagnosis Capability in Mental Health Treatment (DDCMHT) Measurement Refinement Workgroup, teams that revised the DDCAT and DDCMHT in 2011. Dr. Welches is one of only 10 individuals nationwide who is trained as a trainer on the Dartmouth-developed, Hazelden-published Co-Occurring Disorders Program.

“Mounting research data on treatment effectiveness has helped to change the way we treat addiction. Research has revealed that co-occurring mental health problems are to be expected in addictions treatment. They are the rule, not the exception. Treating co-occurring mental health problems in conjunction with substance use problems within the same program—called ‘integrated treatment’—has proven to be most effective,” says Dr. Phil Welches.

To learn more about Gateway Foundation and its free and confidential consultation, call 877-505-HOPE (4673) or visit RecoverGateway.org.

Gateway Foundation to Offer Free CEU Training in Honor of National Recovery Month

In recognition of National Recovery Month in September, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment is offering the professional community complimentary CEU workshops to enhance knowledge in order to better assist individuals with alcohol or drug abuse issues. Subject matter will include motivational interviewing, co-occurring disorders and understanding K2 and bath salts.

“Last year, Gateway Foundation provided free on-site training to more than 300 professionals to better prepare them to aid others who need treatment for substance abuse. This year, we are eager to share our clinical expertise with even more individuals by hosting three informative webinars that are ideal for professionals who work in healthcare, education, legal, mental health and substance abuse treatment,” says Gateway Foundation CEO and President Michael Darcy.

Motivational Interviewing Workshop

The webinar builds upon participants’ interviewing and counseling skills by teaching how to make a realistic assessment of an individual’s motivation for change. It outlines models to increase effectiveness with individuals who are ambivalent or who are resistant to change. The workshop is conducted by a Gateway Foundation Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who uses motivational interviewing techniques on a daily basis.

Date/Time: Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, from 1 to 2 p.m.

1 CEU  NAADAC, Illinois – LCSW, LSW, LCPC, LPC, Nursing

Co-Occurring Disorders Workshop

The workshop introduces attendees to current, research-based approaches intended to improve one’s ability to succeed with individuals that are challenged by the presence of co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues. The webinar will be led by a Gateway Foundation Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who is experienced in working with individuals with co-occurring disorders.

Date/Time: Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, from 1 to 2 p.m.

1 CEU  NAADAC, Illinois – LCSW, LSW, LCPC, LPC, Nursing

Understanding K2 and Bath Salts Webinar

Lead by a Gateway Foundation Licensed Clinical Psychologist, this webinar is intended to increase one’s understanding of synthetic drugs, the signs and symptoms of K2 and bath salts use and the potential long-term effects of abuse. Attendees will also hear from representatives of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office to learn how the federal and state lawmakers are responding to these addictive and deadly drugs.

Date/Time: Thurs., Sept. 27, 2012, from 1 to 2 p.m.

1 CEU  NAADAC, Illinois – LCSW, LSW, LCPC, LPC, Nursing

Presented by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and its Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), the goal of Recovery Month is to increase understanding of mental and substance use disorder prevention and treatment services to achieve recovery, and to help people recognize and seek assistance for these health conditions with the same urgency as any other health condition.

For more information about Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment and Recovery Month events or to register for webinars, please visit RecoverGateway.org/2012.

Gateway Foundation Cautions Parents: Depressed Teens Vulnerable to Substance Abuse

While an estimated 2 million adolescents—or about 8% of the population aged 12 to 17—had a major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year, nearly two thirds of teens who had a past year MDE did not receive treatment despite the effectiveness of therapy options.

If your child does experience problems with sleep, energy, concentration and self-worth, you may want to seek professional help before a MDE takes place. Another reason it is key to stay attuned to your child’s mental health: adolescents who had a past year MDE were three times as likely as those without past year MDE to have had a substance abuse disorder in the past year (19.9% vs. 6.1%).

In fact, SAMHSA’s 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) also found 19.2% of adolescents who had a MDE reported abusing prescription drugs in the past year compared with 6.6% of those without MDE. Females, older adolescents and those with co-occurring substance use problems are at higher risk for MDE.

Recent research estimates that as many as half of teens abusing drugs also have mental health problems that need treating. Among teens with substance abuse problems, the most common dual-diagnosed mental health problems include depression, anxiety and trauma-related issues. There is also a subset of individuals with more severe mental health problems, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The stressors of addiction or mental health problems can often be compounded by the pressures of school and peers.  To help area teens get the help they need, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment offers specialized treatment for adolescents struggling with substance abuse and mental health diagnoses.

Gateway Foundation’s Intensive Outpatient programs are offered in the morning and after school so treatment doesn’t interfere with school. Intensive Outpatient drug and alcohol treatment for teens is ideal if a strong support system exists, a stable living situation and the internal motivation to change.

In Gateway’s Intensive Outpatient programs, adolescents participate in group and family counseling sessions several times per week as well as one-on-one counseling sessions with their primary counselor. Treatment is usually four sessions per week that are three hours each, based on an individual’s needs. Most individuals remain in an Intensive Outpatient Treatment program for four to six weeks before transitioning into less intense weekly Aftercare sessions.

The care demonstrated by Gateway Foundation substance abuse experts and the time taken to learn about each individual’s unique situation is at the cornerstone of Gateway Foundation’s success. An interdisciplinary team collaborates to develop evidence-based treatment plans with recommendations for the most appropriate therapies based on an individual’s substance abuse and mental health history.

Gateway’s ultimate goal is to provide each and every person with the counseling, therapy, knowledge and tools needed to live a life free of drugs and alcohol, replacing destructive behaviors and self-medicating with healthier coping skills. For more information, contact Gateway Foundation online or call the 24-hour helpline at 877-505-HOPE (4673).

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