Treating Co-Occurring Disorders Together

By Kimberly Langbart


It is not uncommon for individuals struggling with a substance use disorder to also have a mental health disorder. Many people turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “About a third of all people experiencing mental illness … also experience substance abuse.” And, “about a third of all alcohol abusers and more than half of all drug abusers report experiencing a mental illness.”

A dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorders, is the co-existence of a mental illness and a substance use disorder. Drugs and alcohol addiction is not just about physical dependence on a substance, but also the changes that occur in the brain.

At Liberty Resources Integrated Health Care, clients in dual diagnosis treatment program receive individualized care and evidence-based strategies geared specifically to their needs, as well as their strengths and those of their families.

Drug treatment centers and mental health clinics have been historically separated, making co-occurring disorders difficult to treat on a practical level.

When one condition is treated but not the other, it can increase risk of relapse. Mental health plays an important role in relapse prevention and living a higher quality life. Through dual diagnosis treatment, clients build an understanding of how substance use, mental health disorders, and physical health are intertwined.

Liberty Resources Integrated

Health Care is dedicated to the health and well-being of the “whole person”: providing behavioral health, substance use treatment, and primary care. Treating these co-occurring conditions in adolescents and adults simultaneously is essential for effective recovery.

Kimberly Langbart, a licensed clinical social worker who holds a Master of Public Administration degree, is the vice president at Liberty Resources Integrated Health Care in Syracuse.

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