How to Conquer and Manage Co-Occurring Disorders

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Can Help Manage Both Disorders

What is a co-occurring disorder? Those who suffer from co-occurring disorders struggle with both an underlying mental health illness as well as a substance abuse problem. These two disorders require unique and separate treatment methods in order to manage their symptoms. Typically, the mental health disorder is treated first since that is the foundation and root cause of the issue at hand. Once the mental health illness is regulated, the addiction will be treated.

Some types of mental health issues that individuals may suffer from are:

  • Clinical depression
  • Generalized anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • ADHD
  • OCD
  • Schizophrenia
  • PTSD

When an individual struggles with a mental health disorder, it often disrupts their entire life. They may not be able to hold a steady job or maintain a relationship. Add an addiction to drugs or alcohol on top of it and it’s a recipe for even more complications. It’s important the root cause is first treated as this is the foundation for a successful recovery.

Recovery for Co-Occurring Disorders

There are several different treatment programs that aid in the recovery of those who struggle from a mental health disorder as well as an addiction. Dual diagnosis treatment is reserved for those who struggle with both disorders and can help patients manage their mental health disorder as well as their addiction.

Sometimes, medications are prescribed for those who have a mental illness so that they can be regulated. Types of treatment can involve individual therapy, group therapy, peer support groups, and cognitive behavioral therapy. This will all be determined after an initial patient assessment has been completed.

When patients attend treatment for their mental health disorder, they will notice a drastic change in their ability to concentrate more, have more motivation and experience an enhanced social life. The medication that may be prescribed will help in addressing the mental health disorder as well, further allowing you to manage both of your disorders.

Contributing Factors to Co-Occurring Conditions

There are many different reasons as to why some suffer from co-occurring disorders while others do not. Some of the reasons may be:

  • Hereditary: Genes play a large role in whether or not you are predisposed to a mental health issue.
  • Stress or Trauma: If you have had any previous trauma in your life, you may be at higher risk for addiction.
  • Brain Development: Abusing drugs or alcohol during a time when your brain is still developing can have repercussions such as a mental health disorder later in life.
  • Neurological Factors: Mood disorders are often a repercussion of mental instability which can be managed with the right medications and treatments.

Some other reasons you may struggle with a co-occurring disorder could be an underlying health issue such as a thyroid problem or various environmental factors.

Mental Illness Associated With Alcohol Use

Studies have shown that those who suffer from a mental illness are more susceptible to alcohol abuse. Those who suffer from anxiety may self-medicate in order to ease their nerves, especially in social situations where they feel intense anxiety. Depression is also a mental health disorder where one in three people struggle with AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder).

It’s important that if you self-medicate in order to help your mental health disorder, that you seek dual diagnosis treatment for your co-occurring disorder. Treatment can help you find balance once again and also teach you various coping mechanisms and trigger management skills that are essential to a successful recovery.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64179/

https://www.alcohol.org/co-occurring-disorder/

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.