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There’s no debating the link between mental health and substance abuse. Not only is it well-established that addiction is itself a mental health disorder, but the interplay between drugs or alcohol and the brain is impossible to ignore. The way being drunk or high makes you feel is directly related to changes in your brain chemistry caused by the substance in use. But introducing these substances to your brain is dangerous — over time and with continued drug or alcohol use, the changes that happen while drunk or high become your brain’s new normal. The neural pathways affected by these substances become unable to function normally on their own. As a result, imbalances in the brain are introduced or exacerbated. Symptoms of mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorders, eating disorders or personality disorders commonly occur alongside substance abuse.

The presence of an accompanying mental health diagnosis alongside a substance use disorder is known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. A national survey conducted in 2017 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration estimated that 18.7 million American adults had a substance use disorder, and about 8.5 million of them (roughly 45%) had a co-occurring mental illness. Studies also suggest that people with pre-existing mental health disorders are at a higher risk of abusing substances and developing an addiction, and that in the long run, substance abuse often triggers or worsens symptoms.

The Need for Specialized Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Experts agree that individuals who have a dual diagnosis need treatment that integrates both mental health and addiction recovery programming. Without a combined, targeted approach, the risk of relapse is much higher. If addiction is treated alone, unmanaged mental health symptoms may continue to lead an individual to substance abuse as they attempt to self-medicate. If mental health is treated alone, the individual will be left without a way to cope with the pull of addiction, and continued substance abuse may make mental health symptoms worse again. 

Treating both concerns at once is the most effective way to offer people with co-occurring disorders a real, sustainable way forward in their lives. Fortunately, addressing co-occurring disorders is relatively straightforward: many of the same therapies are used to treat both mental illness and substance abuse, so all it takes is a shift in perspective, a trained eye for diagnosis and attention to each individual’s needs. Addiction recovery centers are increasingly providing specialized dual diagnosis programming as the industry shifts toward personalized care, holistic treatment and sustainable solutions. 

Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment Right for You? 

Dual diagnosis treatment is a necessity for anyone who is struggling with both addiction and mental health diagnoses. If you are already aware of your dual diagnosis, you should seek treatment at a recovery center that offers targeted care for patients with your particular concerns.

Not everyone enters treatment with formal diagnoses, though. In many cases, clients know they need help with their addiction but have never considered that there may be other concerns involved. For this reason, it’s beneficial to seek treatment at a center that offers dual diagnosis even if you aren’t sure you need it; secondary diagnoses may emerge upon admissions evaluations, after detox or during therapy sessions. At The Guest House, we thoroughly evaluate each new client to determine where they are with their mental and physical well-being. If our clinical team determines that there are underlying symptoms of a co-occurring mental health disorder, we will recommend an appropriate dual diagnosis treatment plan. 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment at The Guest House 

The Guest House is ahead of the curve when it comes to providing appropriate treatment for clients with mental health concerns. Our founders were deeply impacted by the intersection between issues like trauma and grief and substance abuse, and have dedicated their careers to educating and healing people who are dealing with similar co-occurring concerns. Our treatment methods are firmly rooted in the idea that mental health must be restored and bolstered in order to find long-lasting recovery from substance abuse. When your mind is healthy, you can be the one in control of your choices and behaviors, instead of falling into negative patterns where drugs or alcohol take over.

Our staff includes licensed mental health counselors who specialize in a range of disorders, including trauma, eating disorders, codependency and more. We use a variety of therapeutic modalities to address each client’s needs, and we encourage exploration of all our methods so clients can discover which techniques resonate with them. Some of our treatments include: 

  • Group and individual talk therapy
  • Meditation/yoga
  • Conscious connected breathwork
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Somatic therapy
  • Equine therapy
  • Adventure therapy
  • Music and art therapy

Rather than working to heal the symptoms of addiction, we aim to find the underlying causes that initially led an individual to substance abuse — often, these causes are undiagnosed or unmanaged mental health disorders. We heal these underlying causes and equip our clients with the tools they need to control addiction and cope with mental health concerns. In turn, we give them a chance to once again live a fulfilling, independent life without the threat of relapse looming over them. 

What We Treat

The Guest House specializes in treating self-defeating behaviors, like substance abuse, that are brought on by underlying causes including trauma, stress, grief and other mental health concerns. We are one of just a few treatment centers in the nation and the world with this unique focus so deeply ingrained in our mission and methods. We are fully equipped to provide top-quality treatment for men and women who are struggling with addiction and co-occurring disorders. We provide a range of levels of care, from detox through outpatient services, for individuals struggling with addiction to substances and processes including:

  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Gambling
  • Hallucinogens
  • Heroin
  • Internet
  • Opioids
  • Sex
  • Shopping
  • Video games 

Our mental health counselors are experienced in treating disorders including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Other compulsive disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Trauma

No matter what you or your loved one may be going through, we want to help — please reach out to us to learn more about our programs and to find out if we are a good fit for your needs. Our treatment for dual diagnosis patients is comprehensive and effective. We individually evaluate each potential client in order to be sure that we can provide the right kind of treatment, and we fully commit to every person who enters our programs with a high staff-to-client ratio, customizable treatment plans and personalized care and services.