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Flowers while huckleberry Picking
Dual Diagnosis or Co-Occuring Disorders

The National Association of Mental illness (NAMI) defines dual diagnosis as a term for when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance abuse problem simultaneously. Dual diagnosis is a very broad category. It can range from someone developing mild depression because of binge drinking, to someone’s symptoms of bipolar disorder becoming more severe when that person abuses heroin during periods of mania. (


One or the other issues can develop first and the person suffering from Dual Diagnoses (or Co-Occurring Disorders) may use addictive behaviors to self-medicate their discomfort.  For an example, it is very common for an individual with ADHD to self-medicate with a stimulant such as methamphetamine to help them feel “normal.” 


Some of the symptoms of Dual Diagnosis may include


  • Withdrawal from friends and family.

  • Sudden changes in behavior.

  • Using substances under dangerous conditions.

  • Engaging in risky behaviors when drunk or high.

  • Loss of control over use of substances.

  • Change in mental functioning and mood changes


When a client comes in for treatment, Deborah will complete a psychosocial and substance use assessment and make treatment recommendations based on the assessment.  Treatment may include Detoxification, Inpatient , Outpatient and/or self-help groups.​


If it is indicated that medications could be helpful, Deborah will refer to a medical doctor for proper evaluation and medication recommendations. The medical doctor will also provide medication management for the client.  

Addiction and Substance Abuse

Deborah has been a certified SAP since 1998.  She owned and operated a DoT Consortium for 16 years and is familiar with all of the regulations and requirements of the DoT Return to Duty Process for DoT regulated employees who violate the drug testing requirements.  DoT requires that the SAP accept appointment through the Drug and Alcohol Clearing House,  conduct an initial assessment for the employee, make treatment recommendations and assist the employee in locating appropriate treatment, monitor the treatment compliance and conduct a final assessment to determine treatment compliance of the employee.  The SAP will submit an initial report to the employer and the final assessment report with follow up testing requirements (49 CFR Part 40).  The SAP will also complete documentation on the Clearinghouse so the DoT Employee is cleared to go to work if the employer wishes.

When under the control of alcohol and other addictive substances and/or behaviors, life can get lonely.  The addiction becomes the most important thing in the addict’s life because a relationship develops where the addict can rely on the substance or behavior to provide a certain feeling or relief from unwanted feelings.  The addictions become predictable.  The alcoholic will wait for the warm rush from the first drink of alcohol and the heroin addict eagerly anticipates the feeling of the drug entering their veins.


An individual can be addicted to many things and the addictions control their lives and the lives of the people who care about them.

  • Alcohol

  • Drugs

  • Cigarettes

  • Gambling

  • Shopping


If you are an individual who is struggling with addiction or a family member of an addict, call Deborah at 406-270-9286 for an appointment.

Substance Abuse Professional (SAP)

Are you wanting to make positive changes in your life but not sure where to start?  A Life and Transitions Coach provides you with a positive and supportive environment to help your dreams come to fruition.


Inner Fire Life Coaching uses a non-therapeutic approach that helps you find direction in your life and to reach goals that may have previously appeared unreachable.


Often, when you tell your dreams to our family and friends, they scoff and attempt to discourage you from making a change in your life.  The Deborah as your Life Coach, listens to your dreams and concerns and walks side-by-side with you to develop a plan, help you move forward and overcome obstacles in your path


Packages are available that will allow for ongoing support sessions, both in-person, on the phone or via a secure internet connection.  Visit our facebook page at Inner Fire Life Coaching. 

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