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Co-occurring Disorders

When a person experiences a mental health problem at the same time they are struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, they may be diagnosed as having a co-occurring disorder. The KeyStone Center is OMHSAS licensed as a co-occurring disorders center fulfilling all requirements to provide services to patient suffering dual diagnoses.

Some common examples might include alcohol dependence and Major Depressive Disorder, cocaine abuse and Bipolar Mood Disorder, or Xanax dependence and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. 

People often ask which problem comes first; however, there is no specific direction or “one way” in which a co-occurring disorder develops. In other words, people are just as likely to be addicted to drugs/alcohol and then develop a mental health problem as they are to having a mental health problem that leads to addiction.

Regardless of which came first, it is very important to understand the current relationship between a person’s mental health problems and their addiction to drugs/alcohol as this provides information about how each condition can impacts the other.

For example, imagine a person who is feeling clinically depressed who abuses Percocet to deal with their emotional pain. If the single focus of treatment was on the person’s addiction to Percocet, the depression would still continue to exist. Consequently, the depressed person might use Percocet again as a means of “numbing” or escaping from their distress.

On the other hand, consider a person who struggles with severe clinical anxiety whose co-occurring addiction to alcohol has led to severe financial, legal and marital problems. If treatment exclusively focused on the person’s anxiety, the unaddressed alcohol addiction would continue to lead to destructive consequences that would likely reignite or significantly worsen their anxiety, worry, or fear

At the KeyStone Center, our philosophy of treating co-occurring disorders is to:

1) Acknowledge the importance of addressing our clients’ mental health and addiction problems simultaneously

2) Help our clients understand how the two issues affect one another

3) Provide our clients with multidisciplinary treatment approaches to holistically address their concerns.

We provide a variety of services including: psychiatric evaluations to determine the need for mood stabilizing medications; individual (i.e. one-on-one) psychology consultations that allow people to express, identify, and develop coping skills to manage their concerns; group/family therapy to provide interpersonal strategies to openly and honestly discuss their problems with others; and educational seminars to teach our clients about topics in mental health and addiction/recovery.

Left unaddressed, a co-occurring disorder can lead a person to experience significant and devastating consequences in their lives. Our goal at the KeyStone Center is to provide you or your loved ones with the comprehensive treatment that they deserve to begin the process of addressing with their co-occurring addiction and mental health problems.

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