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Co-Occurring Disorders

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The impact that drug or alcohol addiction can have on someone’s physical health is well known. However, everyone realizes that it can also have a major impact on someone’s mental health as well. These mental health effects often lessen as someone tries to get treatment. For others, however, their mental health symptoms are the sign of a deeper issue: a serious and diagnosable mental health condition. Our treatment for co-occurring disorders helps patients learn more about this condition and provide the care they need.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center - Mind Body Wellness

What is Dual Diagnosis?

A dual diagnosis is when someone has both substance addiction and at least one mental health condition. This is also called a co-occurring disorder. Some mental health symptoms were apparent before their addiction, whereas others find addiction created these symptoms. Either way, a dual diagnosis makes addiction treatment more complicated–and all the more vital. Some of the mental health conditions that we see most often include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • ADHD
  • Depressive disorders
  • Mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Trauma-related disorders, such as PTSD

Co-Occurring Disorder Statistics

Despite not being as well known, co-occurring disorders are actually extremely common for those with addiction. In fact, nearly half of all people with an addiction have a dual diagnosis. Men are more likely to end up with this condition, as are military veterans and those who live at or below the poverty line. Less than half of people with a dual diagnosis seek help for their mental health symptoms. Out of those who got help, only about five percent got help for their addiction and mental health symptoms.

Signs And Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis

The main thread that ties all people seeking dual diagnosis treatment together is having symptoms of addiction and a mental health disorder. From there, however, the similarities may be few. There are different signs of a dual diagnosis because all drugs and all mental health conditions can have their own unique symptoms. In general, however, you can look for:

  • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Sudden changes in behavior or habits
  • Major changes in the way that you think or feel
  • Feeling like you have no control over your substance use
  • Resorting to stealing or lying to get substances
  • Sudden and severe mood swings
  • Periods of delusion or hallucinations
  • Feeling like you need substances in order to function
  • Severe feelings of depression or anxiety
  • Constantly thinking about or reliving negative or traumatic experiences
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Risk Factors for Co-Occurring Disorders

Researchers find it nearly impossible to truly determine which came first for most people with a dual diagnosis. They have, however, decided that there are three certain risk factors that can contribute to a dual diagnosis:

  • Both addiction and mental health disorders can be caused by genetics, past trauma, and high-stress levels.
  • Certain mental health conditions can lead to an addiction if people self-medicate with drugs and alcohol instead of seeking mental health treatment.
  • Substance abuse can change your brain in ways that make it more likely for you to become addicted if you abuse substances.

Addiction And Mental Health: How Connected Are They?

Addiction and mental health disorders frequently occur together for a range of reasons. These reasons will vary due to the unique experiences of every person dealing with this condition. A common one is people turning to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate their mental health symptoms. Much of this is due to the stigma attached to getting mental health treatment. Another can be that substances increase risk factors for addiction, such as genetics or a history of trauma. In addition, substance abuse can actually make existing mental health symptoms worse, especially for those with depression or anxiety disorders.

How are Co-Occurring Disorders Treated?

If you are seeking dual diagnosis treatment, you need to be sure you find a facility that has the proper staff and programming to treat your unique needs. Your addiction and your mental health disorder need to be treated simultaneously, or your risk of relapsing is extremely high. In fact, people who choose to only get help for their addiction are twice as likely to relapse within the first year as those who got proper treatment.

The most effective way to treat a dual diagnosis is with behavioral therapy. Working with a therapist helps you to get to the reasons behind your addiction and mental health symptoms. In addition, you also learn how to cope with both in a healthy and positive way. Lastly, a therapist can prescribe medications that help to control your mental health symptoms, giving you a long-term option that helps set you up for success.

Begin Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders Today

At Mind Body Wellness, we know it can be difficult to take your first step toward recovery when dealing with the effects of an untreated mental health disorder. Our treatment for co-occurring disorders will help you every step of the way to build a sober and fulfilling life. Our addiction treatment experts can help design an individualized treatment plan that helps you get sober while also addressing all of your mental health symptoms. Contact us at our admissions team today to get started on the path to both mental and physical wellness.