What Is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

What Is a Co-Occurring Disorder

Addiction can affect anyone, of any race, social status, job or gender. If you struggle with a psychological disorder, there’s a higher chance you may fall prey to addiction. If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol and also have a mental health condition, this is called a co-occurring disorder.

Many people try to mask or treat their psychiatric symptoms by turning to drugs or alcohol. Too often, they find that addiction takes hold, worsening their mental health and creating even more hopelessness. Co-occurring disorders are also known as dual diagnosis. 

If you believe you’re living with both a Substance Addiction and a mental health disorder, you need a treatment center capable of addressing both issues simultaneously. 

Examples of Co-Occurring Disorders

You may be wondering what came first — the Substance Addiction or the psychological disorder? Everyone who has a co-occurring disorder is unique, so the answer varies. 

Some people use drugs or alcohol to escape the suffering their mental illness has caused. Others experience psychiatric problems after prolonged and untreated addiction. Drugs can change the chemical makeup of your brain and lead to a wide spectrum of mental disorders. 

Those with a dual diagnosis have complex needs and may struggle with a varied range of problems. Along with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, some of the mental health disorders that individuals may face include:

  • Mood-related disorders: Depression, bipolar disorder
  • Severe mental illness: Schizophrenia, psychosis
  • Anxiety-related disorders: Generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, social anxiety, panic disorder, OCD

Co-Occurring Disorder Signs and Symptoms

It’s not always easy to identify a co-occurring disorder in those with Substance Addiction. That’s why, after you seek treatment, addiction professionals strive to differentiate between the pre-existing mental illness and the symptoms induced by the substance itself. 

Symptoms vary from person to person, but some of the signs of a co-occurring disorder could include:

  • Family history of mental illness
  • Refusal to seek help from a mental health professional 
  • Alienation from others
  • Extreme mood swings and inability to control moods
  • Shifts in personality
  • Sudden disinterest in hobbies or friendships
  • Unstable personal and professional life
  • Inability to hold jobs or relationships
  • Lack of self-worth or self-respect
  • Legal issues
  • Financial difficulties

How 7 Summit Pathways Can Help

Some people struggling with co-occurring disorders feel hopeless and afraid to let others know their secret. Others may not even know that both of these conditions exist simultaneously. 

If you’re battling an addiction to drugs or alcohol and suspect that mental illness may be contributing to your difficulties, help is available. The experienced and compassionate team at 7 Summit Pathways has helped thousands of people in situations similar to yours. We don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach to your care. We will tailor a dual-diagnosis approach that fits your exact needs, addressing your physical, emotional and mental symptoms. 

If you’re ready to change your life, contact us to learn more. You can also schedule an appointment to speak with a compassionate and understanding member of our team.

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