People diagnosed with both substance abuse and one or more mental illnesses have a co-occurring disorder. Though some specific ailments and substance abuse may appear more common than others, the addiction and mental health issues that occur are considered co-occurring disorders.
Who is at Risk for a Co-occurring Disorder?
Drug addiction can affect anybody, so it doesn’t matter the origin of your gender, ethnic group, race, social status, profession, etc. However, those who struggle with mental illnesses have high risks of experiencing addiction problems than those who don’t. The following are factors that increase the chances of developing a co-occurring disorder:
- A recent mental illness diagnosis
- Delayed substance abuse treatment
- A past trauma
- Any combination of one or more mental disorders
- Absence of suitable treatment for a mental illness
- A historical family associated with substance abuse or mental illness
Does a Person Initially Get Affected with Mental Illness or Addiction?
Since the co-occurring disorder involves both these two conditions, people usually confuse which one comes first. The truth is it can vary from individual to individual, and any condition may influence another’s occurrence.
For instance, some people may develop substance abuse while attempting to free themselves from mental illness problems. Also, if people fail to treat mental illnesses early enough, they can sometimes feel overwhelmed, that they end up looking for possible mistaken substitutes such as alcohol and drugs.
Alternatively, others with delayed substance abuse treatment can make the condition manifest itself as a mental illness.
Treatment of Co-occurring Disorder
Treatment does not consider whether mental illnesses or substance abuse come first. However, most available rehab centers near you will address both the substance addiction and the mental illness at once using either therapy, medical detox, group counseling, or any other treatment programs depending on your needs. Also, treatment involves addressing both disorders simultaneously since either mental illness or substance abuse can aggravate each other.
Symptoms of a Co-occurring Disorder
Signs and symptoms of mental health issues may vary from person to person in different ways.
Usually, it is difficult to deduce how symptoms of the co-occurring disorder may manifest in a person. The reason is that substance and drug abuse can also change the display of these symptoms.
However, some revealing signs of the co-occurring disorder may include:
- Lying or concealing the truth
- Separating or withdrawing from other people
- Personality changes
- Unable to maintain a relationship or a job
- Low self-esteem or self-respect
- Unstable work or home life
- Denying to obtain support services from a therapist or rehab provider
- Sudden mood changes
- Lack of interest in past hobbies or activities
Final Words on Getting Help
People affected with both mental illnesses and substance abuse may feel overwhelmed, alienated, and lonely.
If you or a loved one struggle with a co-occurring disorder, there is always help available in a professional rehab center near you. Most rehab facilities have knowledgeable addiction treatment specialists who offer customized treatment programs to match your recovery journey needs.
Ensure you visit and inquire about any available rehab center early enough before a co-occurring disorder becomes a severe issue.