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co-occurring disorders

Quite often drug addiction or alcoholism is accompanied by one or more forms of mental illness. Anxiety disorder, depression, and bipolar disorder are some of the common psychological ailments that can occur along with drug and alcohol addiction. Both addiction and many mental health diagnoses involve symptoms that affect mood and can cause fluctuations in perspective and patterns of behavior. Other disorders that exist alongside addiction include eating disorders, sex addiction, gambling addiction, among others.  In Behavioral Healthcare, when an individual is living with two or more disorders, this is referred to as “co-occurring” disorders.

One of the challenges of working with individuals that have co-occurring disorders is that it can be difficult to determine what symptoms are coming from where. For example, depression can be a result of prolonged alcoholism and drug abuse and withdrawal from substances, but a person’s depression can exist separately and be a cause of why they developed a drug or alcohol problem. For the latter, unless their depression diagnosis is given the attention it warrants, it may be a factor that plays a role in leading to a relapse later on down the line. The same concept can apply to anxiety disorder. If someone with anxiety is in the habit of turning to alcohol or substances to deal with the symptoms of their anxiety, this is likely the behavior they will return to after treatment unless their anxiety disorder is equally addressed and treated.

Individuals coping with a co-occurring mental illness and addiction are especially susceptible to suicidal ideations and they may exhibit violent tendencies or other concerning behaviors associated with their mental health diagnosis. Patients who have co-occurring disorders may, therefore, be at high-risk (of either self-harm or variations of poor anger management) and will commonly need a more comprehensive level of care than those without mental illness. Fortunately, an appropriate level of care is available at Inspire Recovery.

When a person’s psychological health and drug addiction or alcoholism are wrapped up in one another an extended length of treatment time may be advisable. There’s no proverbial “quick fix” when it comes to mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction. A person with co-occurring disorders will have to approach all of the multiple different disorders which contribute to their overall problem. The whole person needs to be treated.

An unfortunate reality is that a high percentage of people who suffer from mental illness end up developing an addiction disorder. Social drinking and casual experimentation with drugs can quickly escalate into the practice of “self-medicating,” which is using substances to relieve the symptoms of their mental illness with no professional aid. A person in this habit will continually increase the dosage of their preferred substance to attain the effect that gives them relief. Suffering from a mental illness can create the delusion that one has no choice but to continue their drug use in order to cope with life. Fortunately, there are thousands of treatment programs designed to solve addiction and alcoholism issues that also provide treatment for mental illness. Good treatment programs for those with co-occurring disorders progress at a relaxed pace that will be comfortable for the patient. Easing them along in a way that induces minimal stress and pressure is a widely used technique. It is important to provide education, tools and coping skills that make managing mental illness and a happy fulfilling life a reality for our co-occurring disorders patients on the journey of recovery to the goal of lasting sobriety.

At Inspire Recovery, we are here to support clients with co-occurring disorders who have substance use as a primary concern. We treat the whole person, not just their addiction. Through one-on-one therapy, combined with our clinical, creative and wellness-based groups, clients learn the core skills necessary to manage aspects of mental health disorders that aid to relapse prevention. Some of these skills include evidenced-based therapies such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Emotional Regulation. All clients benefit from participating in these groups, whether they are diagnosed with depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, etc. Contact us today to find out more about our programs and therapies: 561-899-6088 or click here to be directed to contact us by email.