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Addiction and Mental Health Treatment Issues

In 2004, as reported by a survey conducted by the Substance Memory Plus Program Review Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there were 4.6 million adults with both serious psychological distress and a substance use disorder of which 41.4% received treatment only for mental health problem; 5% received treatment only for substance use problems; 6% received treatment for both mental health and substance use problems; and 47.5% did not receive any treatment. These numbers are astoundingly high and seem to make it obvious that more attention needs to be paid to the proper treatment of people with co-occurring disorders.

However, the likelihood of an individual receiving the proper treatment is very low. The main reason for this is in diagnosing someone with co-occurring disorders. A diagnosis of co-occurring disorders can be difficult because you need to be able to establish at least one mental disorder and one substance abuse disorder independently of each other. The reason that the multiple disorders are to be established separately and then diagnosed together as co-occurring disorders is because the best possibility of recovery from both is when they are treated together at the same time.

There is an obvious a relationship between the mental disorder and the substance abuse disorder in co-occurring disorders and a common question whether one could possibly be causing the other. While this may seem like an important question, it is much more important to keep in mind that whether or not one caused the other, they are both there and one can cause the other's symptoms to increase in number and intensity, so if one is treated while leaving the other unchecked treatment and recovery from both will be near impossible.

A large part of recovery from addiction, and maybe even more so with co-occurring disorders, is hope. It is important to remember that even though successful treatment and recovery of multiple disorders often takes more effort, time, and patience than just one disorder on the part of both the individual affected and the treatment provider it can and has been done. Another vital aspect of recovery and maintaining hope is to not be discouraged if a relapse occurs. Although a relapse may not be a desired part of recovery, it can happen, and most people can bounce back from them quickly, with some effort, and move on with their recovery.


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