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Co-occurring Substance Use Disorders

NBI treats Anxiety, OCD, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders and other psychological diagnoses that are further complicated by substance use disorders or problems such as addiction to “gaming” or on-line gambling. Given the epidemic of addictive problems, the prevalence of such cases is high.

Studies show that psychological disorders and addictive behaviors tend to magnify one another. And, the potential risks of substances and addictive behaviors are often very under-estimated, particularly for already psychologically or socially vulnerable individuals, as well as those experiencing a high level of stress. Since individuals with addictions often deny, rationalize, or hide what they are doing, or resist getting the help they clearly need, NBI can offer guidance to their loved ones about how to navigate this quandary constructively.

Sometimes psychological conditions onset first, sometimes it’s the addictive process that does. Either way, however, having this dual problem creates many challenges for treatment that need to be addressed comprehensively, and with evidence-supported methods for both sides of the equation.

Regarding addictive behaviors, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown effective in helping individuals with this problem become ready and motivated to make positive changes, develop more effective ways of coping with negative feelings, improve self-regulation, learn the skills they need to function without their preferred substance or addictive activity, and persist in abstinence and managing setbacks through relapse prevention training.

Patients treated at NBI with CBT for this dual problem can be concurrently engaged in other services, such as substance abuse counseling. They frequently will also be engaged in peer support groups like Marijuana Anonymous or other 12 Step Programs, as well as family or couples therapy—and for younger patients, parent training. And, given the expectable complex needs of dually diagnosed individuals, the optimal treatment plan will often include medication. In this population, the best outcome likely will be achieved with a team approach.

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