Hi, I'm Brooke Alexander and you're watching Spotlight on Bipolar. On this episode, we turn our attention to an issue that packs a devastating one or two punch.
According to the Dartmouth Evidence-Based Practices Center, roughly half of all people living with a mental illness also have a substance abuse problem.
This combination is commonly known as a co-occurring or dual disorder. And historically, finding a treatment regimen to treat both conditions at once has posed a serious challenge.
The one thing that we know about folks with co-occurring disorders is that if you treat just the addiction piece and not the psychiatric piece, the whole person gets worst.
And if you treat just the psychiatric piece and not the addiction piece, the whole person gets worse.
So we know we have to treat both things at the same time if people are really going to become well.
Physicians have been working for years to change the way dual diagnosis disorders are treated introducing new attitudes and techniques into the main stream, but it has been a real fight.
Society has this false views about the dangerousness of mental illness. And unfortunately, people who have both addiction and mental illness get hammered from both sides.
And it makes it extremely hard for families and people with co-occurring disorders to recognize that they have these problems and to admit it to themselves and to seek out treatment.
In 2000, Dartmouth established the Evidence-based Practices Center to help establish evidence-based programs across the country.
In recent years, access to programs to treat co-occurring disorders has been rising.
A recent study of evidence-based treatment conducted at Dartmouth found that 50% to 60% of people with co-occurring disorders were able to become stable and sober after a few years.
The study found that their risks of relapse, hospitalization, incarceration and family problems all went down dramatically.
Researchers at Dartmouth and elsewhere remain hopeful that the system for treating dual diagnosis patients will become even more fully developed in the near future.
The idea here for clinicians is to help people set goals for themselves in their life, for us to help people work towards their goals and for people to be able to get into recovery
so that they can live the life they want to live and do the things they want to do.
To learn more about services offered at the evidence-based practices center and the progress that is being made across the country, visit this website on your screen.
And that's it for this episode of Spotlight on Bipolar. We'll see you next time.