Co-occurring Disorders Summary
- Many, if not most, people who are addicted to alcohol or other drugs suffer from another mental health disorder at some point.
- People with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders must be treated for both disorders at the same time to improve the likelihood of recovery.
People with addictions often suffer from other mental health disorders. Some with untreated mental health problems start using alcohol or drugs as a way to self-medicate. Conversely, there are cases where an individual begins to develop the symptoms and signs of a mental illness only after using drugs; suggesting that drug abuse caused or exacerbated the mental disorder. Illnesses that frequently co-occur with addiction include:
- ADD (attention deficit disorder )
- ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder)
- BAD (bipolar affective disorder)
- conduct disorder
- PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
In 2002, substance abuse agencies reported that 10-12 million people in the United States and Canada have co-occurring mental and alcohol or drug use disorders. People are less likely to recover from addiction when their co-occurring illness is left untreated.
Frequently, caregivers try to treat one illness without becoming aware of or addressing the other. So health practitioners helping a person with depression, for instance, may neglect to screen and treat the patient for alcoholism. Conversely, a caregiver working with a person with a cocaine addiction may fail to recognize and address an underlying bipolar disorder.
It is strongly suggested (by addiction professionals) that proper and thorough assessment before undertaking treatment of co-occurring disorders is critical to maximizing the chances of success in treatment. If both disorders are treated together, the chances of recovery increase. In addition, if one of the co-occurring disorders goes untreated, both usually get worse.
Talk to us today on how we can help you deal with any disorders that are impacting your life!