Co-Occurring Disorders / Dual Diagnosis


Soul Surgery, the premier state-of-the-art Dual Diagnosis facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, provides assistance to those who have dual diagnosis, also known as co-occurring disorders (COD), or dual pathology. Dual diagnosis and co-occurring disorders refer to those who have both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue, and can cover a wide range of severe to moderate substance abuse disorders, as well as a range of mental health concerns. Substance use issues can include pain killers, alcohol, amphetamines, opioids, and more. Mental illness can include anxiety disorders, eating disorders, mood disorders such as depression, bipolar disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. Because certain kinds of drug abuse and addiction can lead to psychiatric symptoms, it’s important that the patient be diagnosed by a licensed professional who understands the differences between pre-existing mental health issues and substance-induced mental health issues, whether the issues are caused by genetic or environmental factors. Whether a patient suffers from panic disorder as well as opiate addiction, or psychosis and alcohol dependence, or depression and cannabis abuse, both the patient’s substance issues and mental health issues must be treated simultaneously in order for a patient to achieve and maintain sobriety and lead a healthy, fulfilling life.


According to a survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), roughly 17 percent of U.S. adults have co-occurring disorders. This is about 8 million people in need of help. Soul Surgery takes these conditions very seriously, and understands the balances that need to occur in order for individuals with co-occurring disorders to recover and maintain sobriety. While addiction never happens in a vacuum, patients with dual diagnosis require special care and attention that can be provided by Soul Surgery’s professional healthcare providers.


Mental illness can change the way a patient experiences and copes with addiction, and the two issues must be treated concurrently in order to be effective. According to SAMSHA, those suffering from mental illness or mental health issues are more likely than those without mental health issues to abuse alcohol or drugs. And one can trigger the other. Depending on the DOC (drug of choice), addiction can, understandably, lead to a mental health issue such as anxiety. On the other hand, a mental health issue such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) can trigger dependency on a harmful substance. And mental health issues like these are not uncommon. PTSD, for example, is experienced by 7 or 8 percent of people at some point, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.


It’s important to understand the way these issues can interact with each other on a patient-by-patient basis. Oftentimes, substance abuse disorders get treated without attention to mental health, or mental health gets treated without attention to substance abuse disorder. When one side of this spectrum remains untreated, it is more difficult for someone to maintain sobriety, even if they achieve temporary sobriety. In order for a patient to make a full recovery from substance abuse, other areas of their life must be tended to, and a patient’s mental health is paramount. For example, involving the patient’s family in the recovery process is critical to the patient’s success. Soul Surgery works with their patient’s entire landscape, for no one moves in isolation. Moreover, SAMSHA confirms that “undiagnosed, untreated, or undertreated co-occurring disorders can lead to a higher likelihood of experiencing homelessness, incarceration, medical illnesses, suicide, or even early death.” Co-occurring disorders can have serious consequences when one or both issues remains untreated.


Integrated treatments, such as the progressive treatments offered by Soul Surgery, are the most effective way to help patients with COD. These treatment strategies, of course, will vary from patient to patient, and will be tailored to individual needs. Integrated treatments for those with dual diagnosis can include Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), Professional Counseling, Psychoeducational group work, the Twelve-step method, Bio Feedback, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), IV Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, and a plethora of other services offered by Soul Surgery as part of their fully licensed Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and Outpatient (OP) programs, all conveniently offered under one roof. In addition to their evidence-based psychodynamic and medical treatments, the team at Soul Surgery believes that the integration of the physical self is critical to recovery. Therefore, Soul Surgery has a full gym with a rock climbing wall and basketball court on site, and their sober home includes a tennis court, a swimming pool, and a private chef. The Soul Surgery Addiction and Mental Health Center’s holistic approach and integrated treatments ensure that of a patient’s needs are being met across the spectrum of mental, physical, and emotional health.

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