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Barriers to treatment of co-occurring disorders and ways to deal with them

Barriers to treatment of co-occurring disorders and ways to deal with them

A person may suffer from mental illness and substance use disorder (SUD) simultaneously leading to a case of dual diagnosis. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reveals in a recent report that 2.6 million American adults had co-occurring disorders in the past year whereas, 333,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 suffered from the same condition.

The treatment of co-occurring disorders follow the principle that they should be treated concurrently as the symptoms are more persistent and severe, and are often unresponsive to the usual treatment given to individuals with only of the disorders. The initial goal is to identify which problem developed initially. Since there is a dearth of treatment facilities equipped with licensed doctors to make the correct diagnosis, along with other factors such as insurance coverage and stigma, either the disease is left untreated or the treatment is delayed. However, recent developments in health care services towards implementation of appropriate screening and treatment in a variety of settings might be able to tackle such issues.

Accessible co-occurring treatment programs at county level

An earlier study, conducted to highlight the obstacles of service delivery to people with co-occurring disorders stated that there are barriers on two major themes. The first one is within the mental health system which includes organizational failure to sustain integrated care, limited support for training staff, and diagnostic and billing restrictions. The other theme refers to the barriers in coordinating care with specialty substance abuse treatment providers, which include perceived shortcomings of SUD treatment system, challenges communicating with SUD treatment providers and the difficulty in reconciling different treatment approaches.

In reference to these factors, recent development however has given much needed hope for the accessibility of effective treatment for people suffering from co-occurring disorders, especially at the localised level, particularly, in the counties. A new program merging drug abuse and mental health problems at the Camden County in New Jersey is benefiting the populace in the area. The program was announced by the Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, where he stressed on the need for easily accessible treatment services. He mentioned that people are not ashamed of the illness, or to seek help, and they know where to go. The county’s office of mental health and addiction carried out training for the first responders and kept them informed about the program. Other welcoming services include assistance with insurance coverage for mental health patients as the treatment may be already fully or partially funded by the program. The county acts as an advocate for residents’ problems with the main objective of connecting the patients to adequate services.

Along these lines, there are also other counties that have made attempts to help people with co-occurring disorders, where one such effort is that of the Oregon county, which has designed a resource directory in order to assist people in locating appropriate services as well as provide information about identified service providers.

Help for dual diagnosis

Early diagnosis of co-occurring disorders can lead to timely treatment and long-lasting recovery. Living with both the conditions can be extremely challenging and in the absence of adequate professional and personal support, the patient’s health can deteriorate. While medications help correct the chemical imbalances in the brain, experiential therapies can address behavioural problems. An integrated treatment approach combining the services of physicians and psychiatrists is also beneficial in improving the treatment outcomes.

NTR/NAD Detox of Arizona can help those suffering from dual diagnosis gain more information about the condition and medically supervised detox procedures. Call us on our 24/7 helpline 866-337-7631 to get connected to the best rehabilitation centers in Florida or chat with a trained professional to know more about evidence-based detox programs in Florida.