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Treatment Options For Co-Occurring Disorders

Learn more about treatment for co-occurring disorders and which option would be best for you in this comprehensive article.

Table of Contents

Understanding Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders are a collection of mental conditions that frequently occur simultaneously in one person and show comparable signs. Being able to identify both of the disorders that are co-occurring is key to receiving appropriate treatment.

treatment for co-occurring disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders Definition

Mental illnesses that co-occur with other disorders, such as addiction, are known as co-occurring disorders (CODs). These include, among others, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders.1

Why is it Important to Treat Co-Occurring Disorders?

Effectively treating CODs lowers your chance of relapsing and enables you to concentrate on a single treatment for co-occurring disorders at a time.

Dual Diagnosis vs. Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders and dual diagnoses are two categories of mental health conditions that are likely to occur in the same person. Even though these illnesses are widespread and can affect people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, they can also be challenging to identify.
A person with two or more mental health illnesses at once is said to have a dual diagnosis. This could indicate that a person has bipolar disease and schizophrenia, or both a mood problem or a substance issue. Disorders can co-occur with other mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or ADHD. Facilities such as dual diagnosis treatment centers are made available for such treatment.2
Dual diagnosis includes two separate diagnoses where co-occurring disorders exist under the same diagnosis.

Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Treatment for co-occurring disorders can include both psychotherapy and medication-assisted treatment. By combining both therapy and medication, the intention is to assist patients in managing their co-occurring disorders concurrently, treating them as one diagnosis.

What is Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders?

An approach to treatment for co-occurring disorders known as an integrated treatment includes utilizing both psychotherapy and medication. For it to be successful, the patient must be prepared to treat both disorders simultaneously as a singular diagnosis, making for an extremely intensive process.

Benefits of Integrated Treatment

There are numerous advantages to pursuing an integrated treatment plan for a co-occurring disorder, including, but not limited to:
  • It lowers the possibility of drug interactions
  • It lowers treatment costs because each therapy is paid for separately rather than having to pay for several therapies at once
  • It enables you to get the most from your therapies, minimizing side effects and maximizing the efficacy of your medication

Integrated Treatment Program

Holistic client care is the goal of integrated therapy programs. Holistic, complementary, and alternative therapies are incorporated into these programs alongside conventional therapy.
Therapists in integrated substance abuse treatment programs are educated to treat patients’ physical, emotional, and mental health concerns using various methods.


Any integrated substance abuse treatment program must include detoxification to purge the body of the substance being abused. Aiding the body to heal from the inside out is essential to beginning recovery.

Residential Treatment

A crucial part of the integrated treatment process for co-occurring disorders and substance misuse is residential therapy. It can be used autonomously or in combination with other treatments, such as group therapy or counseling. 

There are many advantages to residential treatment for co-occurring disorders, including:

  • A greater sense of security and stability
  • Improved access to services and initiatives 
  • A more structured setting where you can speak with skilled and knowledgeable staff in treating substance use disorders one-on-one.


A practical treatment option is the use of medication as part of a comprehensive, integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders. Medication-assisted treatment for co-occurring disorders can assist persons with addiction disorders in managing their illnesses.
The best remedy is addiction treatment without producing adverse side effects or other issues. These include naltrexone (suboxone), buprenorphine, methadone, and Vivitrol.

Continuum of Care

The continuum of care is an integrated treatment strategy that involves drug rehabilitation, individual and group counseling, and family therapy. It treats several illnesses like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and alcohol or drug misuse.

Outpatient Care

Outpatient treatment is an excellent option for patients who need treatment but don’t want to stay at a hospital or rehab facility. It’s an integrated treatment for co-occurring disorder program that offers the same level of care as an inpatient program but with fewer restrictions and constraints of being at an institution.

Partial Hospitalization Programs

In place of conventional mental institutions, partial hospitalization programs provide a structured atmosphere that enables patients to go home and maintain relationships with their families. 

These programs offer many of the same advantages and can be employed as an integrated treatment program component.

Transitional Living or Sober Housing

Integrated treatment can include transitional living or sober housing. In this program, the client spends some time in transitional or sober housing before moving into an apartment. It is in the client’s best interest to have family involved in this transition because the client needs social and emotional support.

Continued Counseling or Therapy for the Co-Occurring Disorder

Integrated therapy aims to help patients recover from mental illness or substance use to enhance their quality of life. Continued counseling or therapy for the co-occurring disorder is essential to recovery and maintaining sobriety.

Behavioral Therapies

A therapeutic approach known as “behavioral therapies” places more emphasis on the client’s behavior and thought processes. They focus on treating patients with mental health conditions like depression or anxiety.3

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Psychotherapy that teaches patients how to alter their behaviors is known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Although CBT does not always include discussing your emotions, it strongly emphasizes recognizing negative thoughts and replacing them with constructive ones.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT, or dialectical behavior therapy, is a psychotherapy strategy that emphasizes mindfulness and distress tolerance techniques. DBT was originally intended to help patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD), but it can also be used to address co-occurring disorders, including depression and anxiety.

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT)

Assertive community treatment is a behavioral therapy that supports self-care and aids in helping people with mental illness. ACT’s objective is to assist those managing their mental illness symptoms independently without seeking professional help.

Therapeutic Communities (TCs)

A form of group therapy known as a therapeutic community (TC) uses a social setting to help participants obtain treatment for various conditions. This therapy is based on the idea that neighbors who share a living environment can support and instruct one another while they work through issues.

Contingency Management (CM) or Motivational Incentives (MI)

Contingency management or motivating incentives are two types of behavior therapy that employ positive reinforcement to support the desired behavior. It is used frequently in clinical settings, including schools and hospitals. Contingency management has proven to be successful in preventing relapse in addicted adults and lowering teen drug usage.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy forces the patient to confront their phobias and concerns head-on. This can be achieved by exposure in writing or verbally and through mental tools like audio or videotapes to help with visualization.

Integrated Group Therapy (IGT)

Integrated group therapy (IGT) is a behavioral therapy that aids patients in resolving issues. IGT aims to teach people healthy coping mechanisms for their problems and thoughts rather than engaging in self-destructive behavior.

Signs and Symptoms of Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders are also called a “comorbidity” because they occur together in the same person. Co-occurring disorders can cause significant distress for the person who has them and those around them. They can also be a challenge to treat due to the wide variety of signs and symptoms and the overlap of symptoms.

Mental Health Disorder Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of a mental health disorder leading to a diagnosis of a co-occuring disorder depend heavily on the type of mental illness that a client has. These symptoms can also overlap with the symptoms of substance use disorders. 

These symptoms can include:4

  • Persistent depressive feelings
  • Altered sleep patterns
  • Brain fog
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior

SUDs Symptoms

People may find it challenging to notice their substance use disorder symptoms if they have a co-occurring disorder due to so much symptom overlap and mirroring. Common symptoms of a SUD include abnormally high substance tolerance, inability to control substance use, and signs of withdrawal.

treatment for co-occurring disorders

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders at Ripple Ranch Recovery

At Ripple Ranch Recovery, we are committed to assisting our patients in the treatment of their co-occurring disorders. We provide a range of therapeutic choices, such as treatment interventions for co-occurring disorders or individual and group therapy for kids, teens, and adults.

Our clinicians are qualified to assist you in overcoming your problems and mending the harm the ailment might have caused to your life. However, we are aware that occasionally asking for assistance from others won’t suffice. 

If this applies to you, we provide both in-house residential treatment and outpatient treatment through our partner program Continuum Outpatient Center, as part of our co-occurring disorders treatment program. Whatever your unique situation might be, we are here to provide support.

Does Insurance Pay for Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment?

Treatment for co-occurring disorders may not always be fully covered by insurance. You can request a fee waiver if your insurance doesn’t pay for it. If you cannot pay the entire cost of your treatment, you may be able to earn a reduction due to this type of coverage.

We at Ripple Ranch Recovery understand this and have developed a comprehensive sample treatment plan for co-occurring disorders to help you get back on your feet. 

Our first step is determining which disorders you may have to ensure that we provide the proper treatment for your needs. We also offer medication management and other forms of therapy and counseling.

Call Us Today

Don’t wait—call Ripple Ranch Recovery today to learn how we can help you!