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Co-Occurring Disorder (COD) Counseling and Treatment at YES

Lidia Harding
Blog Programs Substance Abuse Youth and Family Counseliing
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According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 8.9 million people in the United States have co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Traditionally, treatment for drug/alcohol addiction was separate from treatment for mental health issues, and usually delivered at different treatment facilities, using different and potentially conflicting therapies. As a result, many people who use substances do not receive treatment for the underlying causes that may contribute to their addiction, making recovery more difficult.

More recently, research has shown that when mental health and substance use issues are treated simultaneously, people are more successful with long-term recovery. According to the federal agency Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the integration of treatment therapies for mental health and addiction disorders can lower the rate of relapse, reduce the number of suicide attempts and foster long-term abstinence from substance use. Today, SAMHSA promotes co-occurring disorders treatment as the gold standard for individuals assessed with substance use and mental disorders.

At YES, we understand that part of providing integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders is the use of dually-certified therapists — Masters-level, licensed therapists who are also certified as Chemical Dependency Professionals (CDPs), including those who conduct initial assessments for youth who access our
walk-in services (Open Access). We specifically recruit dually-certified therapists and provide additional training for staff.

“With a significant core of our work being done with adolescents, it’s necessary for our clinicians to be dually trained in both mental health and substance use treatment. Teens are more likely to experiment and, unfortunately, many of those with mental health disorders often turn to alcohol or other drugs to self-medicate. ” – said David Downing, Chief Operating Officer with YES.

Treatment helps:

  • Those who have substance use and
    mental disorder(s);
  • Those who experience negative mental health impacts from using substances; and
  • Those who may be at risk for COD due to early childhood trauma or adverse events, a family history of substance use and/or mental disorders, traumatic brain injury, or other risk factors.

Access to co-occurring disorders treatment can be difficult to find, especially for youth. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, most of the youth with mental health disorders (75-80%) do not receive services. Because of this, it is vitally important that YES continue to provide co-occurring disorders treatment for young people in our community, whether or not they can afford care.


We are able to do this through the generosity of our donors, and funders. Please consider donating today in order to help provide the best, evidence-based practices for our youth in East King County.

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