Underlying Mental Health Disorders

Knowing the Signs and Symptoms of Co-Occurring Disorders

When it comes to locating the foundation of an individual’s addiction, it can often be difficult to pinpoint. The reality is that close to half of those who struggle with drug or alcohol addiction also struggle with an underlying and often undiagnosed mental health disorder. Co-occurring disorders are more common than one may realize and those who are victims of the disease of addiction are much more susceptible to having a mental health disorder.

What many individuals do not know is that the root cause of the addiction, which may be the mental illness, must be treated and managed first prior to the addiction being treated. Without a solid foundation for recovery, individuals run the risk of relapse.

Common Mental Health Disorders

There are a number of mental health disorders that individuals may struggle with. Some of these include:

  • ADHD (Attention-deficit Hyperactive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Clinical Depression
  • Eating Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Schizophrenia

When an individual struggles with a mental health disorder, they are at a higher risk of resorting to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Oftentimes, individuals do not know how to properly manage the symptoms of their mental health disorder so they begin to abuse drugs and alcohol as these substances can assist in numbing the side effects. This is a huge problem as resorting to substances of abuse as a means to cope puts the individual at a very high risk of developing a dependency on the substances.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an underlying mental health disorder, it’s important that they seek professional help right away.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

For those who struggle with an underlying mental health disorder as well as an addiction, dual diagnosis treatment is required. Dual diagnosis treatment will work to treat both disorders (the mental health disorder and the substance abuse problem) so that the individual is stabilized and prepared to tackle their life as a sober individual who is able to manage their mental illness.

There are a number of factors that contribute to why some individuals develop a mental health disorder and why others do not. Genetics play a large role in the chances of an individual developing a substance abuse addiction. In some cases, an individual is predisposed to the disease of addiction which means they are more likely to develop this disorder at some point in their life. Additionally, environmental triggers such as persistent stress or anxiety can trigger an individual to begin using substances of abuse in order to cope.

Exposure to substances of abuse at a young age can also be a factor in the development of addiction later on in life. Those who experiment with drug and alcohol use at a young age are more prone to lack of proper brain development as the brain is still in a vital stage of growth up until the age of 21.

If you or someone close to you is struggling, it’s time to get immediate and compassionate help.

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.