Co-occurring Disorders Treatment

At Feinberg, we support families through the process of organizing medical treatment for loved ones. We can assess the person’s condition, design an integrated treatment plan, and make recommendations and referrals to specialist health providers. Over the years, we have worked with many clients who have substance use disorders combined with other mental health issues. In these cases, we make recommendations for co-occurring disorders treatment.

There is a well-established connection between mental illness and substance abuse. We have seen the evidence of it firsthand. Many clients develop co-occurring disorders after using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate the symptoms of mental distress. This, in turn, can worsen or create new mental health problems.

When a substance use disorder co-exists with another mental health disorder, it is important to treat both to ensure recovery.

What Is the Link Between Addiction and Mental Illness?

When a family member has co-occurring disorders, they need treatment from specialists who understand how substance abuse and mental illness interact. We can help because we have extensive knowledge of addiction and mental health services across the country. Our recommendations may include providers in several different fields who can work together to support your loved one.

Research by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found a significant link between substance use disorder and other mental disorders. In 2021, 19.4 million adults had co-occurring disorders. When individuals had a serious mental illness, their likelihood of also having a substance use disorder increased.

Drugs and alcohol affect how neurotransmitters work in the brain and, therefore, have noticeable effects on mood, behavior, and thinking. Some people with mental health disorders abuse these substances to alter their mental state, allowing them to escape from the symptoms of their illness briefly. Self-medicating with substances is never a good idea because this can also lead to mental health disorders.

Continuing to abuse alcohol or drugs over a period of time can leave individuals with debilitating mental health symptoms and disordered cognition. After a prolonged period of time, drug abuse can permanently alter the structure of the brain, causing significant damage.


Integrated treatment that tackles both substance abuse and other mental health conditions is vital for people with co-occurring disorders. To be successful, substance abuse treatment must deal with the reasons why a person started abusing substances. So, if your loved one began drinking alcohol to self-medicate anxiety, they should receive treatment for anxiety and also for alcohol addiction.

When you come to us, we do not expect you to know whether or not your loved one is self-medicating for a mental health disorder. During our assessment process, we can find out if self-medication is a factor in your loved one’s story. If you first come to us to plan an intervention, we can start by asking you and your family about your loved one’s situation. Later, if they agree to receive help, we can work together with your family member to assess their condition and design a treatment plan.

Common Co-occurring Disorders

Research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that nearly 18 million people in America were suffering from a mental health issue as well as a drug or alcohol misuse disorder. Without substance abuse treatment, it is very difficult to stabilize the symptoms of a serious mental illness. Similarly, treating substance misuse yet neglecting the mental health condition is likely to result in relapse.

Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety are particularly common with drug or alcohol abuse. However, it is possible to experience any mental health condition in conjunction with substance use disorders. Some of the most common include the following.

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Eating disorders

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

As an onlooker, you may have difficulty distinguishing between the symptoms of your loved one’s co-occurring disorders. For example, a person could avoid food because they have an eating disorder or because they misuse drugs that suppress their appetite. For this reason, it is important to be vigilant if your loved one is presenting with possible mental health symptoms such as loss of appetite, sleep difficulties, social withdrawal, sudden mood changes, out-of-character behavior, and loss of interest in favorite activities.

Substance Use Disorder Symptoms:

  • A person tries to stop using alcohol or drugs but fails
  • A person experiences withdrawal symptoms when they lack access to the substance
  • A person feels they need alcohol or drugs to cope with life
  • A person neglects their responsibilities
  • A person spends a considerable amount of time using substances or feeling the after-effects of the misuse

Co-occurring disorder treatment can help your family member to regain control of their life. Our team can support your loved one by arranging an integrated treatment plan that takes full account of all their mental health needs.

Accessing Mental Health Services for Co-occurring Disorders

The most beneficial treatment for co-occurring disorders is an integrated treatment plan that is customized to the needs of the individual and their mental health conditions.

At Feinberg, we take a concierge approach to supporting our clients. We get to know them and work with them to ensure that they are happy and comfortable with the treatment we recommend. We want our clients to feel that their mental health providers are a good fit for their needs.

We will be with your family and loved ones on every step of their recovery journey. We will stay by your side while your loved one is undergoing treatment. If your loved one’s care involves multiple stages or providers, we will ensure that they move seamlessly through the process.

When a family member is in crisis, it affects the entire family group. Members may feel worried and uncertain about how to help their loved ones. They may also be reeling from damage caused by their loved one’s co-occurring disorders. With our family coaching services, we can give family members the tools to grow in strength, understanding, and resilience.

Co-occurring Disorder Treatment

At Feinberg Consulting, we vet treatment providers to ensure that we can trust them to work toward our client’s recovery needs and goals. Our recommendations for co-occurring disorder treatment are tailored to the individual client. We recognize that every person is unique and that people benefit from different combinations of approaches. Your loved one’s recovery journey may include online treatment, outpatient care, support groups, and, in some cases, residential treatment. Your loved one may also encounter the treatments listed below.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a widely used treatment for mental illness that focuses on the way our emotions are impacted by our thought processes. Through CBT, individuals can address, understand and replace anxious thoughts with more productive, positive thinking.


Interventions can take many forms, but at Feinberg, they always begin with an in-depth interview with the family. The purpose of this is to understand the needs of the person of concern and to ensure that the intervention is a good fit for them. We aim to ensure that interventions are a safe space for the client.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

DBT can be used to effectively treat mental health conditions by addressing dysfunctional behavior and finding ways to alter negative thought patterns which lead to that distress.  Individuals will be guided to find ways of easing intense emotions through a range of mindfulness techniques. In turn, this can result in reduced negative actions such as self-harm and substance abuse.

Community Support Groups

Support groups offer people a sense of community in a safe, supportive environment. Meeting others who have co-occurring disorders can reassure your loved one that they are not alone and that recovery is achievable.

After Care

Every person’s path through co-occurring disorder treatment is different. Depending on the mental health conditions that a person has, treatment can last for varying amounts of time and can even be a lifelong journey. Many treatment facilities offer after-care programs for their alumni. These may include relapse prevention activities, educational and social events, support groups, and ongoing therapy. At Feinberg, we can help design an after-care plan that sustains your loved one as they rebuild their life.

Dual-Diagnosis Care With Feinberg Consulting

At Feinberg Consulting, we specialize in supporting families through the complex process of recovery. We are available to guide you and your loved ones through the crisis to a place of healing and growth. Our team is made up of a diverse cohort of experts who can provide insight, guidance, and care for each step of the journey.

Our concierge approach means that everything we do is centered on our clients and their families. When your loved one comes to Feinberg Consulting, we will do everything we can to ensure that they feel seen, heard, and understood. We always work cooperatively with the person of concern.

Get in touch with our team to find out how we can help your loved one and your family. We’re ready for your call.