There has been a continuing push to include addiction and mental health together in behavioral health treatments. For many people, this makes tremendous sense, as people with mental illness often try to self-medicate their condition and develop substance abuse. The reverse also seems to be true, in that many addicts develop mental health disorders as a result of their drug and alcohol abuse.

Several years ago, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimated that roughly 60% of substance abusers also had one or more mental disorders. While most experts agree today that a rehabilitation facility should treat dual diagnosis (also called co-occurring disorder) patients, exactly how that should be accomplished can elicit a variety of responses.

A more traditional method of treating both addiction and a mental disorder today would include some forms of therapy or counseling, which is accompanied by one or more medications. There are many rehabs throughout the country who use this approach and are finding success. There are also places that feel that many of the symptoms associated with one disorder or another can be treated through non-prescription methods of treatment.

Sometimes the diagnoses are more the result of the effects of being addicted to drugs, as depression, anxiety and other mood disorders can be created by drug use. When the addiction is effectively treated then they experience recovery from their other symptoms as well.

However, for those people who truly do have a mental illness of some type or mood disorder, if it is not properly addressed then it can be a major cause of relapse. Therefore, when you’re researching drug rehabs, it is best to find out for yourself how they address dual diagnosis situations and what treatment protocols they follow. You have to be comfortable and confident that their approach will be the right fit for your situation so all of the barriers to living a successful, drug-free life can be addressed.