A treatment center in Arizona called High Standards Recovery seems to be seeing an increase in co-occurring disorders, according to this article. An individual is said to have co-occurring disorders when they are suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction and a mental health issue (severe depression, anxiety disorders, etc) at the same time. The complex nature of both of these types of illnesses makes it difficult to successfully treat each issue separately. Instead, success is much more likely when they can be treated together.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) was created in 1992 to help reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental health disorders on communities throughout the country. According to their website, “people with mental and substance use disorders, because of their illness, have largely been excluded from the current health care system and rely on public ‘safety net’ programs.”
Bryan Hullihen, Executive Director of the High Standards Recovery center, says that he thinks part of the rise in diagnosis of co-occurring disorders is because of increased awareness amongst the public. The efforts of SAMHSA and the countless facilities across the country working to treat co-occurring disorders have been a significant factor in this increased awareness.
A recent publication from the Canadian Center on Substance Abuse (CCSA) took an in-depth look at Concurrent Disorders. CCSA’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Rita Notarandrea, says that “treating each problem separately leads to poor client outcomes that are characterized by frequent relapses and crises, placing undue strain on the healthcare system and its professionals.” As such, CCSA has released a list of critical needs that Canada must address in order to more successfully handle concurrent disorders… check them out here. Some of these are similar to the objectives laid out in the SAMHSA strategic plan, which you can read here.
Read about this potential new legislation in Colorado here, then let us know what you think about North America’s efforts to treat co-occurring disorders.