Addiction, Anxiety, & Depression – Common Co-Occurring Disorders
Co-Occurring Disorders – What does this mean?
Co-Occurring disorder is a replacement term. It replaces the terms dual disorder and dual diagnosis. The term refers to an individual who has a co-existing substance-use disorder and a mental illness.
Working in the addiction field, we hear the term co-occurring disorder often. The term can apply in the vast majority of people seeking help for alcoholism or other forms of addiction. Addiction manifests in many ways. And many of those ways overlap with symptoms that may be termed mental health conditions. Thus, at Serenity Vista, we treat addiction as the primary condition. That includes it’s many and varied manifestations. Therefore, the solution is to treat the whole person. In contrast, we do not focus on one specific diagnosis. The solution encompasses body, mind, and spirit. Therefore, it is a holistic solution.
Mental illness, however, is a different story. It runs the gamut. And most of them appear in association with addiction in about half of all cases presenting for help with addiction. From acute psychosis to multiple personality disorder. From agoraphobia to transient anxiety. And it runs all points in-between, including bipolar illness, depression, PTSD and ADHD. There is no one cure or treatment for all ‘mental disorders’. Within the mental health field, treatment of each is on an individual basis.
How Does Serenity Vista Address Addiction and Co-Existing Disorders?
There is a full complement of therapies for individual treatment of guests at Serenity Vista. Counselling and music. Art and great food. Yoga, massage, a great dog. And a terrifically beautiful mountain forest setting. These are just some of them. The fog begins to clear quickly for guests. Then the healing begins. Guests are learning new ways to think. They learn new ways to act. And more importantly, unlearn old toxic behaviors and thinking.
We have found most people with substance abuse disorder suffer also from some form of anxiety and/or depression. In fact, so does most everyone else. Inevitably, at some point in their lives, they will feel anxious or depressed. Consequently, most people in the Western world experience some form of anxiety and depression. When it comes to chemical dependency, addiction, anxiety and/or depression commonly co-exist. One may exacerbate the other. Chicken and egg.
What About Medication?
Yes, there is true clinical depression that can pre-exist prior to the use of any addictive substance. We are absolutely not discounting such medical conditions. The role of antidepressant medication in such cases is well founded. In other cases, depression may develop as the addiction develops.
Our approach is to treat the whole person affected by addiction. And if there is a co-occurring condition such as depression, it invariably improves as the person recovers. The recovering guest finds healthier ways of living sober. If a person presents already on mental health treatment, in most cases, the recommendation is to keep that constant throughout addiction treatment.
In some cases, medications such as benzodiazepines used for anxiety, can be highly addictive and may be part of the addiction problem. To address this, referral is made to the prescribing physician for assessment of the need to adjust medication prior to going to rehab.
Following rehab, the guest is encouraged to go back to their mental health professional for follow-up. Reassessment of the need to continue with psychotropic medication such as an antidepressant can then be made.
Learning New Tools to Cope with Addiction, Anxiety & Depression
The process of addiction recovery is all encompassing in Serenity Vista’s holistic approach. The whole person heals. There is a new clarity. Thus, addiction, anxiety & depression lose some of their power. As a result, anxiety is seen for what it really is at it’s base. It is fear. This fear is usually vague. It is foundation-less. Anxiety is fear of the future. This fear stems from the past. Depression quickly begins to lift because the depressive substance is no longer being taken. Alcohol, for example, is a central nervous system depressant. People start to feel hope. They feel joy. They feel love.
Serenity Vista in Panama & Co-Occurring Disorders
Serenity Vista Addiction Recovery Retreat in Panama is a new paradigm in alcohol, nicotine, and other drug addiction treatment. We treat our guests with respect and dignity while they recover. Empathy, individualization, and fun are just some hallmarks of the program. Treatment of addiction is seen as the primary disorder in all of its various manifestations. This includes that which would otherwise be classified as co-occurring disorders. Therefore, rather than focusing on the problems, the ‘disorders’, Serenity Vista focuses on the solution. Thus, we help the whole person heal in body, mind and spirit.
Learn more about Serenity Vista and what makes it a great place of healing from addiction in all of it’s various manifestations.