The Role of Psychotherapy in Addressing Co-Occurring Disorders in Substance Abuse Patients

In many cases, illegal substance use creates co-occurring mental health problems or contributes to the development of already existing ones. It is highly recommended to seek professional help and manage the situation without disturbing the individual’s condition. But firstly, let’s understand what a co-occurring mental health disorder is, and why it is important to approach it professionally.

What is a co-occurring disorder?

A co-occurring disorder is when the individual experiences both mental health and substance use disorders. The presence of mental health disorders (like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia) can cause substance use as a self-medication solution, which occasionally worsens the mental health condition.

This can also have the opposite effect, meaning that substance use can lead to the development of mental health issues. For example, regular usage of a certain substance can cause depression, anxiety, or paranoia.

In conclusion, one condition leads to the other, the treatment of which requires an extensive approach to both mental health and substance use disorders (like alcohol or drug addiction). A narcology clinic can have a huge impact on the process since the treatment is carried out by qualified professionals. 

Narcology clinics and psychotherapy

Although detoxification and medication are a part of drug treatment, there is another key aspect that has to be addressed and managed by professionals, and this is the therapeutic approach. Therapy sessions often help uncover the deeper issues, which usually stay unresolved if not for psychotherapy. And with that, let’s understand the impact of therapy sessions.

Uncovering the underlying issues: Drug abuse is often a symptom of deeper unaddressed issues, and psychotherapy helps individuals study their past traumas, conflicts, and in some situations, even the genetic inclinations that cause their present condition.

Helping to develop coping mechanisms: The treatment of drug addiction often includes relapse cases. In these conditions, therapy sessions can lead to individuals developing coping mechanisms, which help navigate triggers more easily, therefore avoiding possible relapses.

Helping with mental health symptoms: Psychotherapy is essential for co-occurring symptoms. It addresses the symptoms like anxiety, depression, and so on. And managing these syndromes leads the person to a better mental place, therefore decreasing the risk of relapse.

Customized approaches in psychotherapy

The co-occurring symptoms are various, and to address all of them, psychotherapy is diverse as well. There are:

  • Individual therapies: One-on-one therapy sessions allow the patients to fully and freely express themselves. During these, the individuals get the chance to talk about their struggles, feelings, and fears.
  • Group therapies: These set an environment where the patients feel united with a sense of community, shared understanding, and mutual support. They give an opportunity to express themselves to groups of people who can relate, share their coping mechanisms, and overall make progress in their treatment process.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (CBT): This type of therapy identifies negative thoughts and their patterns, which lead to substance usage, therefore is beneficial for co-occurring cases. It is also worth mentioning that the recognition of negative thought patterns can help work on them and replace them with healthier ones.
  • Family therapies: These sessions are great tools to understand the family member going through a withdrawal process. They contribute to repairing damaged relationships and developing a supportive family environment for the patient.

The journey

Even though psychotherapy is an effective treatment tool, the symptoms can mask each other, making the diagnosis process tricky. For example, the symptoms related to anxiety or depression can be considered as a result of substance abuse. Therefore being overlooked and unaddressed.

However, with the advancements in the narcology field, the clinics are now well-equipped to address the details concerning co-occurring disorders and their hidden roots. 

In conclusion, the treatment of drug abuse is not only physical but also psychological. And to get rid of the bad habits, it is important to address both of the aspects of the disorder. It is possible and highly recommended to seek professional help and start a journey toward a healthy life as soon as possible, without wasting time. And keep in mind, that considering getting help is already progress!