Addiction treatment can be extremely complex. In addition to the fact that it may be a sensitive topic in certain families and communities, taking action to deal with dependency is rarely simple from a medical perspective. In many cases, the issues that influence and lead to addiction may be accompanied by co-occurring disorders.
How might co-occurring disorders impact the journey toward freedom from addiction? When you understand the following concepts, it can help make recovering from addiction that much easier.
Defining Co-Occurring Disorders
Co-occurring disorders are ailments that affect sufferers at the same time as other conditions. They aren’t limited to addiction or substance abuse. For instance, they may manifest in children who have behavioral issues and PTSD or persons with mental health problems and intellectual disabilities. The terms dual disorder and dual diagnosis were previously used to describe the same condition.
Now, dual diagnosis treatment is a type of treatment typically used when someone is diagnosed with addiction as well as one or more mental health conditions. The concept of dual diagnosis highlights the fact a person may be suffering from mental health and substance abuse issues simultaneously, and they need help with both. Dual-diagnosis treatments can be more involved due to the complexities of integrated care, but it is the most beneficial way to handle co-occurring disorders. Both substance abuse and co-occurring disorders can affect each other, so it’s critical to tackle them all comprehensively.
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Co-occurring Disorders That You Might Encounter in Addiction Treatment
According to psychologists, many disorders that co-occur with substance abuse involve mental health issues. For instance, individuals with bipolar disorders, anxiety or schizophrenia may be at an increased risk of developing problems with alcohol abuse.
Co-occurring disorders may be more prevalent among specific populations. Further complicating the issue, there’s no one-to-one equivalence between certain forms of substance problems and specific psychiatric problems. Common co-occurring conditions run the full spectrum of ailments, such as:
- Social isolation
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Bipolar disorders
- Sexual or physical victimization
- Chronic medical illness.
What Comes First? Exploring the Links Between Addiction and Other Disorders
One of the unique aspects of co-occurring disorders and substance abuse is that it’s not always clear how the two are tied. This reality makes it imperative to work with a rehab or treatment center that can provide personalized care in a controlled setting.
In some situations, individuals with existing disorders unknowingly use substances that end up worsening their conditions. For example, people who have mental health disorders under control might be prescribed painkillers after getting into accidents or going through surgeries. Opioid drugs, such as morphine, have been connected to increased levels of depression and control issues, and such links might make life even harder for individuals who were already at risk.
Although it’s somewhat inaccurate to assume that using a particular substance is guaranteed to cause a mental health issue or vice versa, the interactions are worthy of attention. Since each person has a different reaction to specific drugs and psychiatric influences, individually tailored assistance is key.
Treating Addiction Intelligently
Dealing with addiction requires a holistic approach that addresses the possibility and existence of co-occurring disorders as well as the problems brought on by drug use. It’s not enough to just treat one or the other. Addiction specialists need to be willing to provide comprehensive services that address a broad range of concerns.
How do reputable rehabilitation companies help individuals who struggle with addiction and co-occurring disorders? Here are some core concepts to keep in mind:
Safe Detox Environments Are Essential
Stress is a significant factor in substance abuse tendencies. Multiple studies conducted on significant population groups have discovered that stressors like conflict, relationship changes, hunger, insomnia and even exposure to extreme temperatures may make someone more likely to seek drugs. In some cases, binge-using drugs can be a stress factor that leads to a vicious cycle of abuse.
Detox environments that help individuals struggling with addiction feel safe may prove key to prevent relapses. Since having a co-occurring mental disorder can be a stressor itself, going to a rehab environment that doesn’t trigger the condition is wise.
Knowledge Furthers Your Ability to Bounce Back
Research has shown that being more educated about mental health makes people more likely to seek help with their addiction. Understanding the stress factors and being educated about the symptoms may make it easier to get them under control without using substances as an outlet.
People are more than their substance abuse struggles or co-occurring disorders. The most effective addiction treatments take care of the whole person — not just the symptoms they face. Learn more about finding a solution that fits by contacting Ocean Hills Recovery today. Our approach to treatment can make all the difference in recovery success!
About the author:
Greg opened his home and heart to alcoholics and addicts in 2003. He is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATCI). Starting in 2009 Greg has fostered the growth of Ocean Hills Recovery into one of the most respected and effective treatment centers in the area and has been working with people with addictions since March of 2001. Greg believes in a holistic approach to recovery. His focus is on drug alcohol addiction treatment with a combination of 12 Step work, therapy and counseling, and the rejuvenation of the body through healthful eating and exercise. He has designed his program to foster a family-like atmosphere and believes that people in recovery are just beginning their lives. He encourages the people he works with to learn to enjoy life in sobriety. Greg is married to Nicole; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.