Co-Occurring Disorders

co-occurring disordersThere is no denying a definite link between mental disorders and addiction. Recent research reveals that this link might be stronger than was once believed. When an addiction is present alongside a mental health disorder, this is known as a co-occurring disorder. Here at Northpoint Washington, we pride ourselves on offering comprehensive mental health treatment to individuals struggling with a substance use disorder (an addiction to drugs or alcohol). Treating both conditions simultaneously can help individuals make a lasting recovery.

Understanding Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders can make it so difficult for people to overcome their addictions. This is because they use drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms. A psychological disorder can affect everything about a person, including how they see themselves and the world around them. Several different co-occurring disorders can occur alongside addiction. These disorders include:

  • Depression
  • General Anxiety
  • Panic Disorder
  • PTSD
  • Eating Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • OCD
  • Personality Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Adult ADHD/ADD
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Cyclothymic Disorder
  • Sexual Disorders
  • Phobias

It can be difficult to say which came first; mental health or addiction. Regardless, what usually happens is that the two end up feeding into each other. This only serves to perpetuate both problems.

It’s quite common for people with addictions to be suffering from a co-occurring disorder. When this is the case, they often feel trapped, and there’s no way to recover from either problem. Treating co-occurring disorders simultaneously as addictions is the best way to help people experience recovery.

Perhaps this is the situation that you’ve found yourself in. Whether you have been diagnosed with a mental health condition or not, you may still have one. You may have been using drugs or alcohol as a dysfunctional way to cope with your symptoms. Many people do because they don’t see any other option for them. If this has been your experience, please know there is support available.

Recognizing the Signs of a Substance Use Disorder

Several different signs of addiction or substance use disorder are typical for using actively. These signs include:
  • Experiencing sudden changes in mood or personality
  • Exhibiting poor performance in school or at work
  • Having little to no appetite
  • Having problems with sleeping at night
  • Feeling fatigued during the day
  • Experiencing symptoms of depression
  • Having symptoms of anxiety
  • Becoming hyperactive
  • Frequent sensations of euphoria
  • Becoming paranoid
  • Brain fog or forgetfulness
  • Becoming socially withdrawn
These and other symptoms are clear indicators that an addiction is present. However, they can often become confused with signs of mental illness.

Recognizing the Signs of a Mental Health Issue

The signs and symptoms will vary depending on the individual and the particular mental health issue they are struggling with. However, broadly speaking, the following are signs of a mental health issue:
  • Becoming easily angered
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • Becoming socially withdrawn
  • Having irrational fears
  • Having hallucinations or delusions
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Sensations of euphoria

It’s easy to see where the lines quickly become blurred after comparing these two lists. Even so, the fact remains that when someone suffers from a mental illness, they are much more prone to addiction. It’s also important to note that someone with an addiction probably has different brain chemistry than someone who doesn’t. For example, serotonin and dopamine are directly affected by drugs or alcohol.

These neurotransmitters are responsible for maintaining mental health and performing other jobs in the brain. When substances throw the process off, the result can easily become the emergence of a mental illness. Fortunately, dual diagnosis treatment has been proven to successfully treat co-occurring disorders.

How Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Northpoint Washington Can Help

Not all addiction treatment facilities are equipped to handle the challenges of treating patients with co-occurring disorders. Unfortunately, there are still people suffering from them in the U.S. who are forced to get treatment separately. This generally benefits the patient because the root issues are never identified and treated.

If you’re suffering from a co-occurring disorder, dual diagnosis treatment offers you hope for recovery. It truly doesn’t matter if you have ever been diagnosed with a mental illness before. It also doesn’t matter if your mental illness occurred after the addiction took hold. You can still get help. Dual diagnosis treatment combines addiction treatment and treatment for mental illness in a very effective way. We can provide you with the support and help you need here at Northpoint Washington. If you have a co-occurring disorder that you need to be treated for, reach out to us today at 888.450.2153.