Understanding Co-Occurring Disorders

According to SAMHSA, about 9.2 million US adults have a co-occurring disorder. A co-occurring, or dual diagnosis, is when someone is diagnosed with both a mental health disorder and substance use disorder. Co-occurring disorders can be difficult to treat because it’s essential to treat both conditions simultaneously. Otherwise, failure to treat one disorder and not the other disorder heightens one’s risk of relapsing. 

If you are struggling with a co-occurring disorder or suspect you have both an untreated mental health disorder and addiction, help is available. Understanding co-occurring disorders can be difficult; read on to learn more about co-occurring disorders and co-occurring disorder treatment options.

Rise in Malibu is a luxury drug rehab in Malibu committed to helping patients overcome addiction and lead a long-term life of sobriety. We offer a range of treatment services so recovering addicts can receive tailored treatment to best help them take back control over their lives.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you on your recovery journey. 

What Is A Co-Occurring Disorder?

Understanding co-occurring disorders can be tricky to comprehend at first, especially if you’ve never heard the term before.

A co-occurring disorder is when someone is suffering from both a mental health condition and a substance use disorder. Typically, most people who have an untreated mental illness are more at risk of suffering from a substance use disorder. Conversely, those who struggle with a substance use disorder are more likely to develop a mental illness.

If someone is struggling with a co-occurring disorder, the individual must receive treatment for both conditions. Otherwise, treating one disorder but not the other puts the individual at a heightened risk of relapsing. For example, if someone struggling with depression and alcohol addiction only receives treatment for their alcohol addiction but not their depression, this increases that individual’s risk of relapsing.

A co-occurring disorder can be any combination of a mental health disorder (i.e., depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, etc.) and a substance use disorder (i.e., alcohol or drug addiction). 

Signs Of A Co-Occurring Addiction And Mental Health Diagnosis 

A co-occurring disorder can involve virtually any combination of substance abuse disorder and mental health disorder. Because of this, an individual with a co-occurring disorder can experience a range of symptoms. Below are some common symptoms of someone who may be struggling with a co-occurring disorder.

  • Engaging in riskier behavior
  • Inability to control how much of a substance you are using
  • Experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms
  • Increasing tolerance levels to achieve a desired effect
  • Turning to alcohol or drugs when angry or sad
  • Physical changes (i.e., significant weight change, poor hygiene, etc.)
  • Cognitive changes (i.e., difficulty focusing, panic, episodes of confusion, etc.)

Depending on an individual’s unique diagnosis will inevitably influence what symptoms they may experience. For instance, someone suffering from depression and alcoholism will likely show varying signs, from someone with anxiety and a heroin addiction.

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

If you or someone you know is struggling with a co-occurring disorder, help is available. Depending on your exact dual diagnosis will influence which treatment may be right for you.

Below are some common examples of different dual-diagnosis therapy options.

  • CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy): Therapy that helps change negative thoughts and behaviors and replace them with healthier, more positive thoughts and behaviors. This type of therapy is versatile and helps with a range of mental health conditions and addictions.
  • DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy): Treatment used to reduce harmful behaviors (i.e., substance abuse) and replace them with positive behavior.
  • Holistic therapies: More alternative therapies such as yoga, swimming, equine therapy, and more. 
  • Group therapy: A group of patients that meet and discuss their experiences and problems, typically under the supervision of a therapist. This is a great way for recovering addicts to feel less alone in their recovery journey.
  • Family therapy: Type of psychotherapy that can help family members better understand the individual struggling with a co-occurring disorder and rebuild potentially fractured relationships among family members.

Top-Rated Drug Rehab Center

Understanding co-occurring disorders is important so you can better recognize if you may be struggling with both a co-occurring addiction and mental health condition.

Co-occurring disorders can be difficult to treat, especially all on your own. Because a dual diagnosis involves a combination of both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder, it’s critical you receive treatment for both conditions simultaneously. Otherwise, treating one condition but not another condition increases your risk of relapsing. 

At Rise in Malibu, we don’t just treat your disease; we treat the whole person. Using a variety of traditional, holistic, and medical methods, we provide comprehensive treatment for patients to receive the best possible care to treat their addiction and mental illness and maintain life-long sobriety.

Ready to take back control over your life? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you on your road to recovery!

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