Co-occurring Disorders


A dual diagnosis is when a person presents with both a substance use disorder and one or more mental health conditions. These co-occurring disorders are best treated simultaneously in the same setting to achieve lasting healing and recovery. Without properly addressing each condition, individuals may be prone to relapse and continue to suffer from the addictive cycle.

Mental health disorders and addiction issues may appear in groups. When an individual presents with both a substance use disorder and a mental health condition, we refer to these co-occurring disorders as a dual diagnosis. Research has shown that treating both conditions in the same setting provides a greater chance of long-term, sustainable recovery. Substance use can cause or perpetuate a mental health condition, and vice versa.

Without proper treatment, individuals may remain in a constant cycle that damages their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health — and loved ones suffer as well. Approximately 9.2 million American adults suffered from a substance use disorder and at least one mental health condition in 2018, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. This is about 3% of all US adults. About 1.5% of adolescents had a substance use disorder and a major depressive episode.

What We Treat at Willow House

At Willow House for women, we provide treatment for the following co-occurring disorders:

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol is a mood-altering substance that is widely available and socially acceptable. This makes it easier to abuse and harder to recognize when someone’s use of alcohol is verging on addiction. Many people who become alcoholics may experience consequences such as losing jobs, relationships, and personal stability, but other alcoholics are relatively functional, making it more difficult for them to acknowledge their addiction and seek treatment. Those suffering from mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD may turn to alcohol to self-medicate, but this only makes things worse. When addiction is severe, it’s important to receive medical supervision when stopping the use of alcohol to avoid the occurrence of serious adverse withdrawal symptoms.
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Drug Addiction

Drug addiction can happen very quickly, and no one who begins using drugs does so with the goal of becoming a drug addict. Instead, people often turn to drugs to alleviate pain or suffering, whether physical or psychological, but end up becoming reliant on mood-altering substances to feel normal. Drugs like heroin and cocaine can cause addiction after just one use. These drugs are more difficult to obtain than prescription opioids and benzodiazepines, which tend to be mistakenly viewed as safer. The opioid epidemic has stolen many lives: According to the CDC, 130 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses. Prescription drug addiction can happen as a result of taking something prescribed and feeling compelled to keep taking it for fear of pain or withdrawal. Mental health conditions and compulsive behaviors can complicate and perpetuate drug addiction.
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Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a condition in which an individual experiences episodes of depression as well as periods of mania or hyperactivity. Also known as manic depression, bipolar disorder can cause individuals to behave erratically, confusing loved ones and creating instability in the sufferer’s personal and professional life. This disorder can make it difficult for individuals to function well, so some turn to substances or develop other compulsive behaviors in order to cope. Bipolar I consists of pronounced periods of depression and mania while bipolar II describes depression with a milder form of mania.
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Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, histrionic, borderline, schizoid, schizotypal, avoidant, narcissistic, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Personality disorders manifest themselves in rigid patterns of thinking and behavior that can be treated with therapeutic intervention, counseling, and assistive medications. Those with severe personality disorders may develop compulsive behaviors, addictions, or other mental health conditions as a result of their psychological suffering. It’s important to consult experts in the treatment of personality disorders, which can frequently disrupt the livelihood of the individual and his or her loved ones.
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Disordered Eating

Disordered eating occurs when an individual seeking a measure of control, often due to unresolved trauma or mental health conditions, adopts unhealthy patterns of eating (or not eating). A person may be absorbed in fear, anger, or toxic beliefs that compel someone to manage their intake of food in ways that damage the body (and thereby the mind). Disordered eating may accompany substance abuse and can be a compulsive behavior; it may also appear alongside emotional trauma and sexual addictions.

Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders at Willow House for Women

At Willow House, we have a high degree of expertise in treating co-occurring disorders. We help women rediscover their value and find physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing. Our program consists of 45 days of intensive treatment, but we do not measure recovery in months, but in years. We equip patients with the tools they need to own their recovery and continue on their journey of healing after they leave the treatment environment.

If you or a loved one needs treatment for co-occurring disorders, emotional trauma, or intimacy disorders, please contact our team. We would love to tell you more about our program and help you get started on the road to recovery.

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