Struggling With a Co-Occurring Disorder

Mental Illness and Addiction

When an individual struggles with a co-occurring disorder, they suffer from both mental illness as well as an addiction to drugs or alcohol. For individuals that struggle with both of these, dual diagnosis treatment is required. This type of treatment works to treat both the underlying mental illness as well as the addiction. Both of these need to be treated in order for the individual to make a full recovery from their addiction as well as manage their mental illness.

It is not uncommon for individuals who struggle with mental illness to also struggle with addiction. Oftentimes, the foundation of the addiction is the mental health disorder which is why it is important to treat the underlying condition first as this is the basis of a successful recovery.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

When the addiction and mental health disorder overlap, dual diagnosis treatment is required. Through a series of treatment modalities that focus on both helping the individual manage their mental health disorder through treatment and medication as well as treat their addiction, they will be better able to manage their disorders.

Some types of mental health disorders that may affect addiction are:

  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Clinical Depression
  • Dementia
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
  • PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Schizophrenia

Through a patient evaluation, individuals will be able to confront their mental health disorder as well as their addiction so that they can get the help necessary to get better. Locating a treatment center that offers tailed care and support can help make the recovery process easier.

Underlying Mental Illness

Oftentimes, an underlying mental health issue is the driving force behind drug and alcohol abuse. Once the mental illness is under control and managed, it will give the individual the mental clarity needed to go through with their addiction treatment. They will have the confidence to complete their treatment once their mental illness is properly managed.

Through a patient assessment, individuals will be able to determine if dual diagnosis treatment is required or whether just certain therapy is needed. There are various signs and symptoms that individuals will possess if dual diagnosis treatment is required. Some red flags that may indicate that an individual needs dual diagnosis treatment as a result of their mental illness and addiction are:

  • Getting fired from their job
  • Inability to keep up with responsibilities
  • Abandoning friends and family
  • Becoming secretive about their habits and whereabouts
  • Trying to quit but failing repeatedly
  • Enduring withdrawal symptoms
  • Showing signs of compulsive behavior

There are a number of treatment options available to those who struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may require aftercare support and intensive outpatient treatment once your residential treatment is completed.

It’s important that you seek help for your mental health disorder as well as your addiction so that you can lead a healthy, quality of life. If your conditions go untreated, they run the risk of worsening the longer that you wait to get help. As soon as you get the help that you need you will be able to carry on leading a fulfilled and content life.


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.