Angel Rodrigues

Angel Rodrigues

Dennis Zellers

Dennis Zellers

Written by: Angel Rodrigues, Mainstay Life Services Program Manager
In collaboration with: Dennis Zellers, Mainstay Life Services Behavioral Specialist

Mainstay Life Services provides care to many individuals with several types of disabilities, including those who live with co-occurring conditions. Co-occurring conditions, sometimes referred to as dual diagnosis, occur when an individual has both an intellectual disability and a mental health disorder such as schizophrenia. During my 20 years as a manager, I have learned that individuals who have two or three diagnoses can often struggle to gain footing in each diagnosis, which can make it difficult to lead a fulfilling life.

According to a 2008 study, “Over one in ten individuals with dual diagnosis had an intellectual disability with co-occurring schizophrenia,” (Morgan, 2008). In other words, the combination of both an intellectual or developmental disability and schizophrenia is more common than you might expect. However, dual diagnosis is not limited to schizophrenia. Many individuals with dual diagnosis live with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and Autism. These co-occurring mental health disorders are often overlooked in individuals with an intellectual disability. Often, the intellectual disability claims the efficacy of the symptoms of the mental health disorder by doctors and psychiatrists, so these symptoms and disorders remain untreated. This can lead to behavioral concerns, poor mental health, and an increased risk of social barriers, such as bullying or isolation from the community.

Living with intellectual disabilities and mental health disorders can be a tightrope walk between two worlds, fraught with medical appointment after medical appointment that does not seem to end. It is up to the care team assisting the individual to provide stability and insight into finding balance. Luckily, this can often be achieved with the right care and supports in place. At Mainstay, we aim to deliver just that.

Specialized support services are an integral part of our distinct programs. We always strive to provide assistance that makes life easier and more fulfilling for those receiving our care, no matter how complex or unique the circumstances. Our goal is to provide the care teams necessary to support the unique lifestyles of those living with co-occurring conditions and the daily challenges that come with them. We know that it might not always be easy, but when an individual is given the tools for a balanced life plan, success is not only possible, but inevitable.

If you or someone you know is struggling with co-occurring conditions, finding the support and care that you need is just a click or a phone call away. Mainstay helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by giving them the support of a Behavioral Specialist. An individualized support plan based on the individual’s needs will help them to reach their goals and achieve maximum independence. In addition, our full 24-hour care provides supports such as medication administration, household upkeep, nutritional needs, and more. Contact Mainstay Life Services today to find out how to get started on a care plan that is right for you or your loved one.