Many Americans are unaware of just how commonplace co-occurring disorders have become. Recent studies have shown that nearly 50% of those struggling with addiction have a simultaneous co-occurring disorder, exacerbating their addiction and possibly making it much worse. Learning more about co-occurring disorders and what can make them so dangerous can ultimately mean the difference between a new lease on life and tragedy. So what are co-occurring disorders?
What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?
By definition, co-occurring disorders are the simultaneous diagnosis of a mental illness as well as confirmed substance abuse in a single person. Studies have shown that those already predisposed to or diagnosed with a mental illness have a far greater likelihood of developing a substance abuse problem at some point during their life.
Mental illness and addiction play off of one another, oftentimes feeding on the struggles and suffering of a person until there is nothing left. Co-occurring disorders prove particularly dangerous because many times a mental health condition will go undiagnosed or unchecked. This may stem from mistakenly identifying the co-occurring disorder as only a substance abuse problem or vice versa. This means that many people suffering from co-occurring disorders may go without much-needed treatment and medication that they would have received if properly diagnosed.
Some Common Co-Occurring Disorders
There are several common co-occurring disorders that one will be most likely to come across in reference to substance abuse. Mental illness is commonly found in conjunction with substance use disorders. Common ones include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Eating disorders
- Other personality and mood disorders
Many people attempting to self-medicate will accidentally end up becoming addicted to a substance, even though that was not their original intention. The person may not find themselves aware that they were struggling with a disorder to begin with. This can be even more dangerous as many of the disorders most significantly impacted by co-occurring disorders can also be the most unpredictable. Another danger that may be exacerbated by an unpredictable underlying disorder involves accidental overdose.
Being aware of the diagnosis of one of these conditions can be crucial when determining whether or not someone is suffering from a co-occurring disorder. One will also have a better idea of whether or not someone may be predisposed to one of these conditions or drug addiction if they have already been suffering from one of the aforementioned disorders.
Dual Diagnosis and Co-Occurring Disorders
In the realm of mental health and care, a dual diagnosis refers to a person being diagnosed with a mental health disorder at the same time as they are diagnosed with an addiction disorder. So what are co-occurring disorders then? The terms “dual-diagnosis” and “co-occurring disorder” are virtually interchangeable. Some clinicians favor one term over the other but they mean the same thing.
When evaluating a person for a drug disorder, it is important for licensed physicians to also explore the mental health history of their client. Many users were once living with untreated mental health disorders. Because of this, they began to knowingly or unknowingly self-medicate using illicit narcotics. Our medical professionals perform a full assessment of each person. This ensures that they receive the highest and most appropriate level of care possible.
How To Treat Co-Occurring Disorders
Co-occurring disorders can range greatly in their effects, profiles, diagnosis timelines, and the types of specific disorders present. Treatment options also vary greatly. The key is to treat both the mental health disorder that is present as well as the addiction disorder. When a person receives the appropriate care for both disorders that they need, a patient can truly begin to heal.
Another advantage of treating co-occurring disorders relates to how treatment affects both of them. For example, a person who gains better control of their mental health proves less likely to want to abuse substances. Conversely, a person who is in recovery from addiction often finds their mental health symptoms lessen.
Having the right group of trained medical professionals can make all the difference during the detoxification and rehabilitation process. Going through withdrawal on your own ends up in dangerous, sometimes lethal consequences. On top of this, solo withdrawal leads most often to relapse and continued use. By finding the proper system of professional support, one gives themselves the highest likelihood of a successful and long-lasting recovery.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders in Orange County
Ocean Hills Recovery in Orange County employs a team of compassionate and highly skilled professionals. They stand ready to give you the tools necessary to reclaim your independence from co-occurring disorders. We provide a relaxing family-friendly environment in which you can heal and prosper. Here at Ocean Hills, your prosperity and well-being are our top priority. Over the years, we have seen how destructive drugs and alcohol can be to a person’s life. We have also seen how effective treatment can reverse much of the damage done through drug and alcohol use. Allow our dedicated staff to help you every step of the way during your recovery journey. There has never been a better time to reclaim your freedom and your life. Contact our admissions page today and take the first steps in your journey to recovery.