Person in fetal position near bed suffering co-occurring disorders.Fighting addiction to drugs or alcohol is an uphill battle every single day. Making your struggle even harder, you may suffer mental illness at the same time. Many people get into substance abuse to self-medicate their mental problems, such as depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder or PTSD. These co-occurring disorders make substance abuse easy to start, but harder to recover.

Definition of Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders are the pairing of a mental illness with a substance use disorder. Also called a dual diagnosis, these two conditions fuel each other. Both require treatment at the same time for a real chance of lasting recovery.

A substance use disorder is the abuse of alcohol or drugs. This substance abuse disrupts work, school, socialization, financial stability and other aspects of daily life. At the same time, the substance use makes mental disorders worse.

People with substance use disorder commonly suffer mental conditions. The most common of these conditions are mood and anxiety disorders. The most common mood and anxiety co-occurring disorders are bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. People with severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder have high percentages of substance abuse and addiction as well.

Most Common Co-Occurring Disorders

Anyone with an addiction can also exhibit signs of mental illness. But there are some addictions that tend to combine with specific mental illnesses.

Alcohol frequently self-medicates mania, dementia, and schizophrenia. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is most closely tied to alcohol addiction. People who suffer alcoholism are 21 times more likely than non-drinkers to also suffer ASPD. Unfortunately, drinking alcohol only worsens the symptoms of ASPD.

Another common co-occurring disorders pairing is that of marijuana with schizophrenia. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, half of all people with schizophrenia also suffer substance abuse disorders. It is not difficult to understand why this is true, as marijuana use mimics the negative symptoms of a schizophrenic episode. So using marijuana just makes life more difficult for people with this co-occurring disorders.

Cocaine abuse and anxiety frequently occur together. The more you use cocaine, the more obvious your anxiety symptoms. These symptoms include paranoia, hallucinations, insomnia, and violence. Cocaine also brings on anxiety.  They need to be treated together.

People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) tend to use opioids as their self-medication. Doctors prescribe these prescription painkillers for physical injuries like those sustained in many PTSD-related incidents.

Heroin addiction affects the brain in ways that reduce natural ability to feel pleasure. This brain damage leads to long-term problems with depression and worsens depression that already exists.

Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

When co-occurring conditions of addiction and mental illness exist, dual diagnosis treatment provides real hope for lasting recovery. If both problems do not gain treatment, the untreated condition usually makes the treated condition worse, and relapse is imminent.

In the past, mental illness was a taboo subject. Few people admitted they had depression, PTSD, anxiety or other mental disorders. But today mental illness openly affects the vast majority of people’s lives, whether they have the mental illness themselves, or love someone who does.

The pathway to healthy recovery begins with quality treatment in a licensed dual diagnosis rehabilitation center. Through therapies, support and education, you gain an understanding of your co-occurring conditions and how to keep yourself healthy.

Addiction therapy services during dual diagnosis treatment include:

Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

In Newport Beach, California, Ocean Recovery provides integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders. At our California addiction treatment center, we constantly stay up-to-date with the newest and most effective forms of treatment and therapies available.
Some of our standard treatment programs include:

If you or someone you love suffer addiction with the possibility of a dual diagnosis, Ocean Recovery can help. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about our available rehab and treatment programs at the serene backdrop of Newport Beach. Call us today at (855) 271-6289.