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A Dual Diagnosis is Challenging but Treatable

Substance Use Disorders and Mental Health Disorders

If you are old enough (or just into vintage commercials), you might remember the old “two great tastes that taste great together” commercials for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The set up was a little silly. One person would be walking down the street eating a chocolate bar while another person was walking down the street eating peanut butter straight from the jar. These two pedestrians would collide, the two treats would become intermingled, and the walkers would learn that chocolate and peanut butter are a tasty combination.

Unfortunately, not all common pairings are so delightful. Take, for example, substance use disorders and mental health disorders. The two kinds of disorders are often intertwined—and each can be made worse by the other. Fortunately, there is help available to treat both kinds of disorders. In fact, Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health is equipped to effectively address substance use and mental health issues so that the individuals we serve can regain their sobriety while also seeing improvement in their mental well-being.

Let’s take a closer look at how Johnstown Heights addresses these dual diagnoses.

The Connections are All Too Common

A substance use disorder comes with lots of challenges. So does a mental health disorder. It can be difficult enough just to deal with one or the other. But according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, around 50 percent of people who have a mental health disorder will find themselves using drugs or alcohol in problematic ways. 

Again: around half of people struggling with depression, anxiety or panic, trauma-based disorders, or other mental health challenges end up also struggling with drugs or alcohol.

Why would this be?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) addressed this question in a 2017 blog entry. Among the organization’s conclusions:

  • Many individuals who are experiencing the symptoms of a mental health disorder turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate.
  • These individuals may not immediately think of the drug or alcohol use as problematic, which allows it to potentially develop into a substance use disorder.
  • On the flip side, ongoing use of drugs or alcohol can increase the likelihood that a person will develop a mental health disorder.

How Does Johnstown Heights Help?

At Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health, we have the expertise, experience, and empathy necessary to provide personalized treatment for substance use disorders, mental health disorders, and the combination of the two.

Our team is made up of Board-certified psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, recreational therapists, and support workers—and each member of the staff is dedicated to helping those we serve achieve a number of important goals. These include:

  • Achieving mental health stability while also minimizing the negative effects of substance use
  • Developing and improving coping skills, problem-solving abilities, and management of emotions
  • Improving home and work situations by tackling important subjects like healthy relationships
  • Improving and maintaining physical health
  • Restoring a sense of consistency and continuity in day-to-day life

Our approaches to treatment are grounded in evidence-based practices brought to bear after we have completed a comprehensive evaluation of a person’s unique situation and needs. We provide individual care plans in a structured, trauma-informed, therapeutic environment. Group therapy, recreational therapy, 24/7 nursing support, and family support and education are also at the heart of our approaches to treating those with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.

When a person’s time in residential treatment is coming to an end, we provide care coordination and discharge planning to help ensure a smooth transition back to daily life.

If You Take the First Step, We Can Help You Every Step of the Way

Making the decision to get help for a substance use disorder, a mental health disorder, or both can be difficult. Maybe you are committed to trying to muddle through on your own because you are embarrassed or afraid. Maybe you are not quite ready to admit you have a problem—even though in your heart of hearts you know you do. Maybe the effort involved in arranging for treatment—time off from work or school, child care, and other obligations—seems overwhelming.

We understand all of that. At the same time, we also understand that only you can take the first step of seeking out help. Once you overcome your hesitation, the staff of Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health will be with you for each additional step of your journey. We can help you get and stay sober, improve your mental health and maintain those improvements over time, and tackle both issues simultaneously and effectively. 

Located in Johnstown, Colorado, Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health is ready to meet you where you are—and to help you get to a better, more sustainable, happier place in your life. 

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About programs offered at Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health

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