When a person has symptoms of two different conditions happening at the same time, it is considered a co-occurring disorder. This could mean having a chronic physical condition like diabetes as well as a substance use disorder like a heroin addiction.
Co-occurring disorders also mean having a mental health condition like depression, anxiety, PTSD, or schizophrenia as well as a substance use disorder or a physical health diagnosis. This can make diagnosis and treatment more complicated because the symptoms mix together and the treatments for one condition might impact the treatments for the other condition.
Studies have shown that people who have a substance use disorder are more likely than a member of the general public to have a chronic mental health condition. It is not always clear which condition starts impacting a person’s life first but it is clear that managing two conditions at the same time is a challenge that needs to be addressed for many people who struggle with managing their use of substances.
The effects of drugs and alcohol can mimic the effects of mental health or physical health conditions which can result in only getting treatment for one condition rather than the whole picture. It used to be that primary care doctors and mental health counselors would require patients to stop using drugs or alcohol before receiving their services so that they could be sure that the symptoms where not from a substance.
This outdated model is not in the best interest of the patient and has been shown to be less effective than comprehensive treatment for co-occurring disorders.
To makes sure that people with co-occurring disorders receive the best possible care at the New Century, we have an integrated care model. Our substance abuse counselors, mental health providers, and psychiatric nurse practitioners work together with you or your loved one to identify concerns and create a well-rounded plan to address all areas of need.
An integrated care model means that rather than going to three different specialists at three different offices, you can have all of your concerns addressed in one location. Our providers work closely together to provide a continuity of treatment. You don’t have to remember everything your doctor said so that you can tell your counselor because our doctor’s and counselors can sit down and talk at our team meetings to help brainstorm the best route forward.
We recognize that your healthcare is always your choice. If you already have a trusted provider that you would prefer to see, we are happy to coordinate with the provider of your choice. Make sure to tell us about your preferences so that we ask if you would like to sign releases of information so that your providers and our providers can work together for your care.
The first step in the process is to identify all the challenges you or your loved one are facing in our comprehensive intake assessment. Maybe you have been previously diagnosed with a mental health condition like schizophrenia and have had medication to help manage your symptoms. Maybe you have never had a diagnosis but you can’t remember the last time you felt happy.
Our screening tools in our intake assessment will help you and our clinicians sort out what you’re experiencing and what will help you the most. Remember that it is important to be honest with your clinician. We are not here to judge you but the more we know about what you are facing, the more we can do to support you.
After you and our providers have the best picture of what challenges you are facing, we will work together to develop a treatment plan. Remember that the health care you receive is your choice and that you have the right to choose your treatment. Based on your needs, our providers might recommend that you receive mental health counseling, substance about counseling, medication management, detox services, or primary care support.
The last step is to stay in communication with our providers. Let us know if something is not working or if something changes! No one knows you better than you know yourself and we need your expert advise to make sure that we are meeting your unique needs!