Recognizing Co-Occurring Disorders When Treating Addiction

It is a reality that many individuals who struggle with mental illness will self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. It’s also a sobering truth that many otherwise healthy individuals who fall into addiction eventually acquire mental illness.

The Link Between Addiction And Mental Health Issues

The link between addiction and mental illness is undisputedly strong.

In fact, it’s estimated that around 50 percent of all individuals who have one or more mental health conditions also suffer from drug and/or alcohol abuse.

Some disorders are particularly common in those who suffer from addiction. These include depression, social anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder.

However, it is also seen in many patients who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and even schizotypal personality disorder.

The Importance Of Recognizing Co-Occurring Disorders When Treating Addiction

Because there is such a strong connection between addiction and mental health problems, effective addiction treatment must also include identification of any underlying mental health conditions, as well as specific treatment for them.

Recognizing and treating mental illness is vital to allow the individual healing and a more complete recovery from both the addiction and any mental health or traumatic causes or triggers.

Getting Help For Co-Occurring Disorders

Often, it’s the addiction that leads to an individual with co-occurring disorders to get help. Unfortunately, most of these individuals will find themselves in treatment programs that do little or nothing to address mental health problems. Significant research has shown that the chance of relapse is very high for those with co-occurring disorders who do not get combined treatment for addiction and mental illness. However, co-occurring disorders treatment can help those suffering from addiction and mental illness.

Getting real, lasting help requires stopping the cycle of self-medication. Only receiving treatment for both the addiction and related or underlying mental health conditions can truly address the self-propelling cycle of co-occurring disorders. An integrated approach to treatment is needed that includes detoxification, therapy, education, relapse prevention, and more.

Because recovery followed by relapse often leads to a worsening of symptoms of both the addiction and the mental illness, effective treatment that addresses both conditions is vital to sustaining recovery and preventing the frustration and heartache of multiple relapses.

Don’t Delay

Are you or a loved one suffering from addiction and a mental illness? Yes, it can be overwhelming, but effective treatment is available. With each passing day, it can be more difficult to treat. This is why it’s essential to be proactive in seeking treatment. Call us for more information on co-occurring disorders treatment.


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