Tuesday, September 12, 2017

What Defines a Co-Occurring Disorder?

A Co-Occurring Disorder
Co-occurring disorders are defined by the presence of a substance-use disorder and a mental health disorder.  Co-occurring disorders are what is referred to as “dual diagnosis.”  The term can also be applied to cognitive disorders and the presence of a mental health disorder.  Despite the use associated with other disorders, co-occurring disorders are typically used to describe a substance-use disorder and a mental health disorder.  Common co-occurring disorders include alcohol-use disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.  Others might include cocaine dependence and generalized anxiety disorder.  There is no one cluster of disorders that define co-occurring disorders, rather there is a variation of disorders that are present.

Defining co-occurring disorders requires the assessment of a mental health professional.  One reason for this professional intervention is to determine the severity of the disorders.  There are degrees of impairment such as chronic, acute, and level of severity.  Most people with a co-occurring disorder experience severe and chronic social, medical, and psychological issues.  

A person who has a co-occurring disorder is at a higher risk of relapse for psychological problems; however, relapse in substance use also creates a greater risk of relapse in psychological functioning.  Due to this combination of disorders and each presenting with varying degrees of severity, relapse prevention is commonly used as a treatment goal.

Treatment for co-occurring disorders is integrative.  Integrated treatment involves the therapist working on both disorders simultaneously, as opposed to treating each disorder separately.  The reason for treating both disorders has to do with symptom management.  A person recovering from a substance-use disorder may start to feel overwhelmed with anxiety, which could increase the risk of relapse.  Conversely, if a person is overwhelmed with depression, they may start to use medications or other illicit substances to combat the depression.  With a co-occurring disorders, both disorders are addressed and the individual will have the tools to cope with both substance-use recovery and psychological distress.  

It is important for the individual to be treated by the same mental health professional.  This professional can address both disorders, instilling hope, teaching life skills, and providing support in order to manage both disorders.  Treatment through separate professionals may create confusion, as each therapist might use different therapeutic approaches.  An individual who is recovering from a substance-use disorder and a mental health disorder already has a great deal on their plate.  The individual is learning to adapt to life without substances and at the same time, dealing with psychological issues such as depression or anxiety.


Cottonwood Tucson has received international recognition and critical acclaim for its integrative approach to the treatment of co-occurring disorders. Call us today for information on our recommended residential treatment programs and full continuum of care:
(800) 877-4520

10 Reasons People Develop Body Image Issues

body image issues
Issues with body image typically begin in childhood.  Children and young adults learn that there are unwritten rules about body image, as society creates evaluations of how one should look.  The problem with this is we are not creating our body images based on internal evaluations.  We look at how others perceive us and what society dictates as acceptable and less on how we feel about ourselves.  These views can be carried into adulthood.  Below are 10 reasons this can happen.
1. The media.  The media plays a role in how we see ourselves.  Most everyone that appears on television or in the movies matches an ideal of body image.  Impressionable children can view these people and think that is how they should look, because that look is celebrated.  Adults can also share this impression and try to look like celebrities, not realizing the extreme measures celebrities often take to maintain their “beauty”.
2. Parental influence.  Children learn from their parents.  If a parent has an issue with their body image, they may teach their children similar thinking habits.  This includes eating specific foods, engaging in excessive exercise regimens, or getting cosmetic surgeries.
3. Peer pressure.  Adolescents have a desire to fit in and sometimes peer pressure can influence issues with body image.  If your friends think that Starbucks is a food group and helps to not overeat, you might develop similar behavior in order to fit in.
4. Teasing.  Friends and family members may tease a child or young adult about their weight or physical appearance.  If this happens, the young person may begin to feel there is something wrong with them.  If a young person is teased for being overweight, they might develop a negative body image and either continue gaining weight or experience other body image issues.
5. Lack of self-esteem.  If a person lacks self-esteem,  they can develop body image issues.  Self-esteem defines how you feel about yourself and the respect you have for who you are.  Self-esteem also guides how you take care of yourself physically.  Low self-esteem can create a focus on what is wrong with your body instead of what is right.  People with low self-esteem emphasize faults in physical appearance and place too high a value on what they see in the mirror.  A person may not feel worthy of having a healthy body or lack the confidence they need to eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise.
6. Internalizing emotions.  If emotions are not properly dealt with, a person may resort to food for comfort.  This can create and reinforce a negative body image through being overweight and eating in a way that does not promote confidence.
7. Control.  Body image issues can start when someone feels like they have no control in their lives.  We all need to feel some control over our lives but if a person feels they have no control, they might start overeating or undereating.  This can reinforce body image issues.
8. Distorted self-view.  If you look at the mirror and focus on imperfections, you can develop body image issues.  You may see things that others do not, which are either real or not real.  You may be overly critical of your shape or how you look in general.  Obsession over perceived flaws can lead to body dysmorphic disorder.
9. Unrealistic expectations.  If you have unrealistic expectations about yourself, you can develop body image issues.  If you expect your body to be a certain way and your physical body is not able to live up to that, you could develop body image issues.
10. Fear.  Experiencing fear or anxiety about how one looks and how one is perceived by others, can create body image issues.  Chronically worrying about acceptance from others creates a constant fear of imperfection.

Offering an integrative approach to the treatment of co-occurring disorders, Cottonwood Tucson provides critically acclaimed residential treatment and an entire continuum of care.

Call us today for information: (800) 877-4520

Monday, September 11, 2017

What is a Process Addiction?

What is a process addiction?
A process addiction is any disorder that does not involve chemical usage.  Process disorders can include compulsive gambling, sexual addiction, Internet addiction, or compulsive shopping.  These addictions are considered behavioral in nature such as visiting a local casino when feeling overwhelmed or when experiencing stress, or excessive shopping to alleviate anxiety or depression.  
The behaviors can cause significant impairment to daily functioning and can interfere with relationships or work interests.  

Even though a substance is not ingested, inhaled, smoked, or snorted, this does not diminish the severity of a process addiction.  There are still problems that can arise from participating in process-oriented behavior including legal trouble, lack of control, and relationship problems.  The addictive behavior can become such that the individual develops a compulsion to participate in the behavior.  This means that the individual may feel like they have to engage in the behavior and there are no choices except to visit the casino, engage in sexual encounters with multiple partners, or spend money that one does not have.  In addition, there are issues with obsessions related to process addictions.  An obsession means that the individual thinks about the problem behavior even when not engaged in the activity.  A person may find that the obsessions prevent them from concentrating at school or work, or may begin to cause problems in personal relationships. , the addiction controls the life of the addict and all behavior centers around where to find resources to engage in the behavior.  
A process addiction is just as complex as a drug or alcohol addiction and oftentimes, the genesis of the disorder is similar to an alcoholic or drug addict.  Genetics, psychological disorders, and personal experiences can all contribute to the development of a process disorder.  Process addictions do have a physical component.  When engaging in compulsive gambling behavior, for example, the gambler can experience the same heightened physical response to gambling as an alcoholic would experience with alcohol.  Over time, what begins as a social outing to gamble or a well-deserved shopping spree, process addictions can become problematic as the individual seeks to maintain the euphoria experienced.  
One concern related to process disorders is related to treatment.  As human beings, we need to eat, have appropriate sexual relationships with spouses and significant others and we do need to shop.  Treatment for process addictions should be specific to the disorder, as one will need to learn to stop engaging in the compulsive behavior while working through emotional, legal, and relational issues in order to eat, shop, and engage in appropriate, non-compulsive sexual activity.  Often, treatment involves individual therapy, group therapy, family systems therapy,
pharmacologic interventions, and 12-step programs.  The goal of treatment is abstinence from the problematic forms of the behavior and learning effective coping skills so that one can think about food, sex, shopping, and Internet use without the recurring obsessive thoughts and subsequent behavior manifestations.

Offering an integrative approach to the treatment of co-occurring disorders, Cottonwood Tucson provides transformational programs for healing mind, body, and spirit.

Call us today for information: (800) 877-4520

8 Ways Life Will Change After Going to Treatment

8 ways life will change after going to treatment
Following treatment, one can begin to experience positive changes in physical, emotional, and psychological health.  Here are eight ways life can change following treatment.

1.    You will experience emotional regulation.  Your emotions will be less exaggerated and you might feel that you have some control over your emotions.  This is an important consideration because when you were engaged in your addictive behavior, emotions were not confronted; you simply avoided emotions altogether.  You will begin to feel again.  This is an important step in your recovery provided the emotions are considered and processed appropriately.

2.    You will experience happiness and joy.  You may see a smile returning to your face and interactions with others that were ignored while you were engaged in the addictive behavior, may bring you happiness.  You might begin to reciprocate a hug from a family member and mean it.  You might find joy in a neglected hobby or decide to pursue other interests that bring you happiness.

3.    You will begin to live an honest life.  You will begin to be an honest person.  Honesty is essential for recovery.  Cherish being an honest person.  If there were lies that you told while engaging in the addiction, then make them right. Living honestly will open many doors and allow you to recover with a clear conscience and provide a sense of peace.

4.    You will begin to develop empathy.  When in the grips of an addiction, many people find it difficult to understand how another feels or have the ability to put oneself in another’s shoes.  You will find that you might be able to express empathy to friends and loved ones.  Empathy will allow you to be a more genuine person through recovery.

5.    You will find that you can manage stress more effectively.  Throughout your addiction, you probably did not manage stress very well.  You went to the bottle or the pipe to alleviate stress and now without those things, you will be more inclined to call a friend or go to a meeting when feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

6.    You may develop a spiritual awakening.  Most addicts believe that their drug of choice is their higher power.  Post treatment, you may begin to develop spirituality in terms of a relationship with your higher power.  You may start attending religious services to foster this relationship with a higher power.  You may seek guidance through prayer or meditation. Spirituality does not imply religion or religious pursuits.  Spirituality involves concern over
yourself and others through mindfulness of your own existence and less to things that might have less significance.

7.    You will begin to see possibilities and not so much of what you cannot do.  Following treatment, you may feel that life is overwhelming.  You have accumulated debt, your relationships are tarnished, and you need to find a job.  You will see the possibilities and begin to understand that it all will take time and patience on your part.  Over time, you will see that problems become manageable and you can visualize a solution.  As long as you are not drinking or using drugs, you will find the possibility in any situation.  Remember that recovery is a process and managing life one day at a time is specifically what you need to focus on.

8.    Following recovery, relationships will begin to improve.  Maybe not right away but over time your friends and family members will begin to see positive changes in you.  They will begin to trust you (this takes time) and they will begin to enjoy your company again.  You may find that there are some who will support your recovery and want to share in your accomplishments and with increased abstinence, you may find that your relationships are quite possibly better than they were before your addiction began.

Recovery holds promises you cannot know until you begin. Begin your recovery today by calling Cottonwood Tucson for information on our residential treatment programs and full continuum of critically acclaimed co-occurring disorder care.

(800) 877-4520

Friday, September 8, 2017

Why Do People Become Codependent?

Why Do People Become Codependent?
Codependency is a behavior typically learned in childhood.  Codependency affects a person’s capacity to have a positive, rewarding relationship with others.  A codependent person can be a mother, sister, son, grandparent, or spouse and it is not specific to any age or gender.  Historically, codependency was a term used primarily in the substance abuse industry to describe the experience of the spouses and family members of alcoholics in recovery; however, over the years this has changed.  Today, a codependent person is anyone who gives up their emotional needs to satisfy the wants and needs of others.  

A person becomes codependent by watching others or from having low self-esteem.  Children often learn to become codependent by taking care of a parent or caretaker who is not able to take care of themselves or their homes.  The child learns to adapt their behavior and becomes the responsible one in the family.  What happens is the child is actually learning that their needs are not important compared to the needs of their parent.  It becomes more important to take care of the parent and the parent’s needs.  The child begins to define themselves by the parent who is ill or addicted.  This pattern is learned and can extend into adulthood.  The adult can relive these childhood experiences by creating a similar environment in grown-up relationships, defining themselves by how they are needed by others.

People with low self-esteem often get into relationships as adults where their needs become secondary to the spouse or significant other.  If a person does not have self-worth or value in what they do, they may become dependent on others to feel valuable or worthy.  The codependent person stops being an individual and defines who they are by the other person.  If the spouse is angry, the codependent takes on this anger and tries to resolve it, for example.  Sometimes the codependent person will make excuses for the spouse or significant other to cover up their negative behaviors.  A spouse may make phone calls to the other spouse’s work to say that their husband or wife will not be at work due to being sick, when in reality, the spouse is hungover or drunk.  Over time, the codependent person gets emotionally rewarded for taking such good care of the other person; however, over time taking care of the other person becomes the priority for the codependent person.  This can lead the codependent person to act compulsive in terms of taking care of the other person and all associated responsibilities.

The payoff for remaining in a codependent relationship is having someone who relies on you emotionally.  You feel wanted, loved, and worthy.  The problem with this is you cease to exist independently.  Your existence is defined and determined by another.  It can take time but the codependent can learn to live without needing others for worth or value by attending CODA meetings, working with a therapist, or going to a codependency-focused treatment program.


Codependency can be painful without intervention and treatment. Cottonwood Tucson is an international leader in treating co-occurring disorders. If you are struggling to cope with codependency by abusing drugs and alcohol, there is help available.

Call us today for information: (800) 877-4520

CARF - Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation FacilitiesNATSAP | National Association of Therapeutic Schools and ProgramsNBCCNAADAC