“Counseling is an essential part of drug abuse treatment for many people. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy, and other therapy approaches can help people recovering from opioid addiction stay clean. Psychotherapy can also treat other mental health conditions (co-occurring disorders) that often contribute to prescription drug abuse.”
Why Counseling Is Important in Addiction Treatment
Opioid addiction is more than a physical dependence on drugs. Even after the physical dependence has subsided, there are powerful psychological and social factors that create the risk for relapse:
- Stress, especially when it is the result of sudden or traumatic events
- Cues in your environment, like visiting a neighborhood or encountering a person that you associate with your addiction
- Issues surrounding social networks, like spending time with friends who continue to use drugs
These factors can create ongoing, nearly irresistible urges to use drugs. Prescription drug abuse counseling helps addicts manage their cravings and learn to cope with life without using drugs.
Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment
Positive Pathways now has a full-time Psychiatrist on staff for our patients.
The presence of a psychiatric disorder along with substance abuse — known as “co-occurring disorders” — poses unique challenges to a treatment team. Individuals diagnosed with depression, social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, or other serious psychiatric conditions have a higher rate of substance abuse than the general population. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that substance abuse is twice as prevalent among people with a serious psychiatric disorder. The total number of American adults with co-occurring disorders is estimated at nearly 8.5 million, reports the NIH.
Why is substance abuse so common among people living with mental illness? There are several possible explanations:
- Imbalances in brain chemistry predispose certain individuals to both psychiatric disorders and substance abuse.
- Mental illness and substance abuse may run in the family, increasing the risk of acquiring both disorders through heredity.
- Drugs or alcohol may be used to self-medicate, or to manage symptoms if those symptoms aren’t properly treated,
- Drug or alcohol abuse may aggravate the symptoms of a psychiatric disorder or trigger the onset of a latent psychiatric illness.
Positive Pathways offers addiction treatment therapies in Pennsylvania for clients living with co-occurring disorders. We understand that these patients require an intensive, highly personal approach to care. That’s why we tailor each treatment plan for co-occurring disorders to the client’s diagnosis, medical history, psychological needs, and emotional condition.
Treatment for co-occurring disorders must begin with a complete biopsychosocial evaluation to determine the client’s needs, identify their personal strengths, and find potential barriers to recovery. Utilizing this information, the treatment team can develop a specialized plan of care including addiction treatment therapies in Pennsylvania. This plan addresses the client’s substance abuse and mental health issues concurrently.
Some clients may already be aware they have a psychiatric diagnosis prior to their first visit with our psychiatrist. Others might be receiving this diagnosis for the first time. The National Alliance on Mental Illness indicates that 60 percent of adults who have received psychiatric diagnoses reported receiving no therapeutic help in the previous 12 months. For these individuals, a treatment program for co-occurring disorders represents a new source of hope.
In order to treat both conditions successfully, a facility’s mental health and recovery services must be integrated. Unless both issues are addressed simultaneously, the outcomes of treatment will be negatively impacted. A client with a serious mental illness who is treated only for addiction is likely to either drop out of treatment early or to experience a relapse of either their psychiatric symptoms or substance abuse.
At Positive Pathways, we offer a range of addiction treatment therapies in Pennsylvania. We make it a priority to treat co-occurring disorders within the same program, using the following methods:
- Intensive individual therapy with a psychiatrist or therapist to address the symptoms and challenges of the psychiatric disorder
- Behavioral modification therapies (cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavior therapy) to teach coping skills and increase self-awareness
- Medication therapy to help manage psychiatric symptoms or to reduce the cravings for drugs or alcohol
- Group therapy with peers who are also faced with the challenges of a dual diagnosis
- Introduction to 12-step principles to initiate the process of spiritual recovery
- Mental illness can pose specific obstacles to treatment, such as low motivation, fear of sharing with others, difficulty with concentration, and emotional volatility. The treatment team must take a collaborative approach, working closely with the client to motivate and assist them through the steps of recovery.
Call us today at 412.224.2812 to start your road to recovery.