Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders

Many people diagnosed with substance use disorder (SUD) have co-occurring mental health issues. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “People with substance use disorders are at particular risk for developing one or more primary conditions or chronic diseases.” One 2021 study reported that “approximately 9.2 million adults in the United States have a co-occurring disorder.” Avery Lane uses evidence-based treatments to help women in recovery manage co-occurring disorders. 

How Do Untreated Co-Occurring Disorders Impact Recovery?

Women recovering from SUD may experience more severe or longer-lasting symptoms if they have untreated co-occurring disorders. However, mental health disorders may remain undiagnosed due to overlapping symptoms with SUD. An accurate diagnosis and professional mental health treatment provide essential support for individuals in recovery. 

If left untreated, co-occurring disorders have the potential to do the following: 

  • Reduce the effectiveness of therapy and other treatments 
  • Increase overall stress 
  • Reduce self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Increase symptoms of anxiety and depression 
  • Worsen symptoms of SUD
  • Make it more difficult to form positive social connections

Avery Lane prioritizes whole-being treatment and uses personalized, integrative care to address all co-occurring and underlying issues. In addition, comprehensive admissions assessments ensure clinicians have an accurate diagnosis to reference during treatment planning. 

Common Co-Occurring Disorders

Often, co-occurring disorders are left untreated for prolonged periods before a person begins treatment for SUD. Individuals with SUD are more likely to experience more severe mental health symptoms during early recovery if their mental health disorders are left undiagnosed or untreated. 

Women in treatment may have unique co-occurring disorders, including postpartum depression (PPD). However, some of the most common co-occurring disorders diagnosed alongside SUD include: 

  • Bipolar disorder (BD) 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) 
  • Panic disorder 
  • Specific phobias, including agoraphobia 
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) 

Everyone reacts differently to co-occurring disorders. In addition, the symptoms exist along a spectrum and may overlap with SUD. Clinical assessments ensure clients get the help they need to heal. Avery Lane uses various assessments and screening tools to ensure clients receive an accurate diagnosis for any co-occurring mental health disorders. 

How to Recognize Signs of Co-Occurring Disorders

The symptoms and side effects of a mental health disorder depend on various factors, including family history, genetics, age, environment, and gender. Women may have different symptoms and warning signs compared to men. Young adults with co-occurring disorders may also react very differently to older adults. Context is important. The care team at Avery Lane considers all factors when treating clients in recovery. 

Women and their families benefit from knowing how to recognize the signs of co-occurring disorders. Some of the most common warning signs include: 

  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities 
  • Ambivalence about overall health or daily activities
  • Unusual changes to appetite causing noticeable weight gain or loss
  • Lethargy, exhaustion, and sleep disturbances 
  • Abrupt changes in energy levels
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Unusual irritation, anger, or aggression 
  • Uncharacteristic lack of personal hygiene
  • Difficulty completing everyday tasks, including cooking, dressing, or cleaning 

People need to remain aware of any changes to their thoughts or routines. Small behavioral changes may indicate significant mental health issues. For example, suddenly having difficulty preparing for work most days or an unusual and prolonged disinterest in previously enjoyed activities may indicate a person has developed a mental health disorder.

Medical Stabilization and Assessments at Avery Lane

Mental and physical stabilization is essential during early recovery. Individuals diagnosed with SUD and co-occurring mental health disorders require personalized treatments to ensure the best outcome. Avery Lane uses multiple tools to determine what treatment may best support someone in recovery.

Medical stabilization may involve the following: 

  • Complete psychiatric and medical assessments
  • Naturopathy
  • IV vitamin therapy 
  • Psychotherapy
  • Additional holistic therapies 

New clients may undergo screening with a physician and psychiatrist during the medical stabilization and assessment period. The clinicians review all current medications and use GeneSight Genetic Testing to determine which medications best fit each client’s DNA. 

What Is GeneSight Testing?

GeneSight psychotropic testing is only conducted by certified clinical professionals. The test provides clinicians with information about variations in a client’s DNA. According to the GeneSight Overview page on, “The GeneSight Psychotropic test is a pharmacogenomic test that analyzes clinically important genetic variations which may impact how your patient metabolizes and responds to certain medications used to treat depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other psychiatric conditions.” Clinicians use the test to help determine what treatment options best fit a client’s circumstances. Women in recovery rely on their care team to use tools like GeneSight to provide them with the most effective treatments. 

Treatment Options at Avery Lane

Simultaneous treatment for co-occurring disorders is essential to avoid complications during recovery. According to MedlinePlus, “Someone with a dual diagnosis must treat both conditions . . . Treatments may include behavioral therapies and medicines.” Women at Avery Lane collaborate closely with their care team to address any active or underlying issues affecting their health. 

Clients manage co-occurring disorders during early recovery using the following services: 

  • Case management 
  • Medication management
  • Family support services 
  • Individual and group therapy 
  • Aftercare planning

Many people diagnosed with SUD have co-occurring mental health issues that require simultaneous treatment. However, co-occurring disorders are not always easy to diagnose. Avery Lane uses various tools to ensure all clients are accurately diagnosed. Treatment for co-occurring disorders usually involves a combination of psychotherapy, peer support, prescription medication, and complementary therapies. Clients control their own recovery and collaborate with the care team to develop an individualized care plan. Avery Lane provides every woman in recovery with the support and guidance she needs to heal and thrive. 

Avery Lane is a treatment center for women and prioritizes gender-specific and trauma-informed care for all clients to ensure the best possible outcomes. To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at (800) 270-2406.


Summer Lan Franco
MA, MFT-t, Primary Therapist

Summer Lan Franco loves working with people to facilitate recovery from substance use disorders, disordered eating, mental health issues and complex trauma. She earned her BS in Nutrition and Food Science from California State University Chico and MS in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University of California. She has worked in community-based and private practice settings. Her approach is personable and sincere. Summer believes in helping people rediscover their true selves by uncovering barriers that stand in the way. Her warmth and earnest interest in others’ wellbeing are always present in the work she does with people seeking help. She has experience with trauma recovery, substance abuse recovery, codependency, family issues, disordered eating, treatment for anxiety and depression, and working with personality disorders.

Alaina Dunér
Office Manager, Sound Healing Group Facilitator, Reiki Master

Alaina Dunér is a Sonoma County native. She studied sociology and outdoor adventure programming for two years at Loyola University of New Orleans and Warren Wilson College. In 2016 Alaina was on a recreational skydive and had a crash landing that resulted in her fracturing multiple vertebrae in her spine. Since her accident, Alaina has emersed herself in understanding the nuances and complexities of health and spirituality. She is passionate about supporting clients through Reiki and Sound. Since taking a pause from university, Alaina has become a certified Reiki Master Teacher in the Tibetan Usui system, an Ayurvedic yoga instructor, a health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and a trauma informed sound facilitator. At the end of 2022 Alaina will attend Southern Utah University to complete her bachelor’s in aerospace and aviation with an emphasis on rotary flight.

Sunnie Skillman
Energy Worker

Sunnie has worked within the field of Energy Psychology for over 20 years and has been trained in a number of healing modalities, including EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Access Consciousness. She has been using the tools of Access Consciousness for 23 years, teaching classes and working with clients using various hands-on energy body work techniques. She specializes working with clients who have symptoms of PTSD and assisting in clearing where trauma is stored in the body.
Sunnie brings her personal experience with trauma healing as well as her kind and
caring energy to support the ladies interested in working with other healing modalities
at Avery Lane.

Nicole Collins,
AMFT, Primary Therapist

Nicole Collins entered the field of healing after receiving her BA from Colorado State University
in Human Services, which led her to work in domestic violence. Following her beliefs and
passion in the body-mind-spirit connection and the Intelligence of the Self-healing power, she
got her MS from Touro University in Vallejo. She believes that addiction, alcoholism,
depression, the things that push against your joy, calm, serenity, and sense of security, are
powerful and baffling. Still, there is something unique inside of you that is ready to push back
against it all. The fear, anxiety, depression, and trauma that press against your head and chest
are real, but they should not define you. She feels her role is to help you find the resources
within to overcome the challenges and suffering that life may bring. She specializes in trauma,
substance abuse, LGBTQIA+ community, matters of belonging, helping individuals heal in their
relationships within themselves. In your work together, she will meet you where you are and
support you in reacquainting you, with all parts of yourself, including your inherent wisdom.

Erin Miller, RADT
Recovery Counselor

Erin is a Registered Alcohol Drug Technician, Certified Recovery Coach, and Certified Clinical
Trauma Specialist-A (Trauma and Addiction). She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in
Psychology and Addiction Studies at Aspen University. Through her personal experience with
alcohol addiction and recovery, Erin was inspired to support others on their recovery journeys.
She brings kindness, compassion, and encouragement to her work at Avery Lane. Erin lives in
Sonoma County with her husband and their two adventurous children.

Laurel LeMohn
Recovery Counselor

is a Mendocino County native. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Sonoma State University in 2014 and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University. She has been a Recovery Counselor at Avery Lane since October, 2021, and works from a trauma-informed, psychodynamic, and humanistic lens. She has had a desire towards helping others since she was young and looks forward to working with you as you transition your life into one where you are thriving and proud to be living.