Not all alcohol and substance abuse programs are designed the same way. Many of them address addiction alone, and attempt to provide solutions and strategies to help an individual break a physical dependency and resist returning to the drug or alcohol of choice. These programs may be successful for some people yet they typically fall short for individuals diagnosed with both chemical dependency and mental health issues. For these individuals, mental health issues can make relapse after treatment far more likely given way for a integrated treatment approach.

One emerging form of treatment provides a comprehensive approach to individuals with a dual diagnosis. It’s known as an Integrated Treatment, and the demand for it appears to be rising. According to reports published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse. Also, an Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) survey reports that 61 percent of individuals with bipolar disorder also had a substance abuse disorder. In these instances, mental illness and addiction may have developed independently or the addiction stemmed from an existing mental health issue.

Integrated Treatment Approach

Integrated Treatment involves coordinating services for mental health issues and substance abuse in the same setting. Healthcare professionals acknowledge the differences between mental disorders and addiction and give equal consideration to both. The team of addiction specialists providing treatment creates a customized program to simultaneously provide solutions for both the abuse and underlying mental disorders, with sensitivity to an individual’s personal history, cultural background, living arrangements, social network and vocation.

This comprehensive, consistent approach eliminates the need for outside consultation or contradictory interventions. Treatment is administered in stages at an individual’s own pace and influenced by the severity of both conditions. By addressing the dual diagnosis, progress made in one area also may positively influence the other disorder.

Recovery with Integrated Treatment

The optimum method of receiving Integrated Treatment is at a long-term rehabilitation facility with a focus on setting goals, establishing incentives and creating support systems. This type of setting allows an individual to make progress at his or her own pace, while providing distance from familiar places where abuse is more likely to take place. It also allows the time for new, healthy behaviors to become a way of life.

Teaching Strategies for Integrated Treatment

Another aspect of effective Integrated Treatment involves teaching strategies to change the behavior that led to substance abuse. One tactic taught in the treatment is how best to avoid past relationships (or future ones) that threaten to re-introduce drug abuse or other dangerous behaviors. While recovery and improved overall health are primary goals of integrated services, success may also be marked by a newfound ability to repair broken relationships, secure employment and avoid criminal behavior. An individual who follows treatment with regular visits to a therapist, AA or NA will increase chances for long-term recovery.

Integrated Treatment Resources

Integrated Treatment of mental health and substance abuse services is not commonly available throughout the United States. But addiction specialists at Burning Tree provide Integrated Treatment in a long-term residential setting. The Burning Tree facilities, outside Dallas and Austin, are licensed by the state of Texas and serve individuals from all 50 states. Visit www.burningtree.com or speak to an admissions representative at 1-866-287-2877.