How to Handle Co-Occurring Disorders

Addicts find themselves fighting many battles beyond breaking from addictive substances or habits. Typically, addiction stems from stress in real life with jobs, family, friends, even mental health problems or personal internal struggles. In the case of waning mental health, these instances are known as co-occurring disorders.

Such cases vary, as sometimes a person’s depression might lead to their drinking, but other times their drinking leads to their depression. Furthermore, said depression can continue to feed and encourage the alcohol abuse they find themselves trapped in. For many addicts, it can be an endless cycle of turmoil, but one that has a solution: dual diagnosis treatment.

The dual diagnosis treatment addresses both a person’s addiction and mental health simultaneously. Through blending the best aspects of mental health treatment care and substance abuse treatment, dual diagnosis treatment tackles both problems. Since addiction and poor mental health align with each other, one cannot be left untreated over the other. Instead, both an addict’s substance abuse and mental health problems should be treated simultaneously.

How Do Co-Occurring Disorders Develop?

While not guaranteed, co-occurring disorders develop frequently amongst addicts with mental health and addiction going hand in hand. Due to this, co-occurring disorders have two major points of origin: the addiction itself or an addict’s mental health.

Studies show that many people who struggle with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety also battle substance abuse. Substance abuse such as alcoholism or heroin abuse help addicts cope with their declining mental health; however, once the effects of these substances wear off, addicts will continue abusing them to suppress negative feelings.

Additionally, this development can occur in reverse. A person who starts abusing alcohol or drugs can begin to have their mental health spiral downwards. In fact, abusing drugs can increase problems such as heightening anxiety and feed new thoughts of depression. As such, this nurtures both the addict’s substance abuse and encourages it, leaving them trapped in their addiction. By encouraging both addictive behaviors and poor mental health, both problems can continue to persist indefinitely.

Healing Addicts with Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders not only develop together but can also perpetually feed into one another. Because of this, both addictions and mental health must be tended to and treated simultaneously. An addict cannot cure depression through drug abstinence, nor can they see a psychiatrist and expect their addiction to disappear.

Instead, an addict should seek therapy that can diagnose both addiction and underlying mental health problems. In rehabilitation, an addict should consider professionals to determine their problems and the causes of them. Addicts can receive therapy, counseling, education, and medical attention all at once in drug rehab.

This can be accomplished through the process of dual diagnosis treatment. Though a more lengthy and difficult process, it has proven to be more effective for addicts dealing with co-occurring disorders. With the help of both psychiatric professionals and experienced therapists, dual diagnosis treatment may be the best way to treat co-occurring disorders.

Do You Need Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Though co-occurring disorders may be fairly common among addicts, not all addicts deal with both addiction and mental health issues. Some addicts simply feel frustration as opposed to depression and anxiety or handle entirely different personal problems. If you feel unsure if you or another might be an addict with a co-occurring disorder, consider the following:

  • Has substance abuse worsened mental health symptoms?
  • Do you consider substance abuse to handle mental health problems, such as anxiety or suppressing negative feelings?
  • Does your family have a history of substance abuse or mental health disorders?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider rehabilitation and proper dual diagnosis treatment. By discussing these problems in rehabilitation, you may find the best treatment for both your addiction and mental health.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact a local Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Alternative Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.

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