Mental illness is not a cookie-cutter condition; many people have the same disease with different circumstances and extenuating factors. Oftentimes those suffering from a substance use disorder are also suffering from another mental illness at the same time. This is often referred to as a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.
Table of Contents
- What Is Dual Diagnosis?
- What Causes a Co-Occurring Disorder?
- What Are the Symptoms of a Co-Occurring Disorder?
- What Disorders Commonly Co-Occur With Addiction?
- Mental Illness Isn’t Easy; Illinois Recovery Center Can Help You
What Is Dual Diagnosis?
A dual diagnosis is when someone has both a mental health disorder and an addiction. This can make treatment tricky because each condition needs to be addressed separately. But with the right help, people with a dual diagnosis can recover and live healthy, productive lives.
Mental health disorders are common, affecting millions of people around the world. Addiction is also very common, and it often goes hand-in-hand with mental illness. Addiction is one of the mental illness’s most common comorbidities (co-occurring conditions). Comorbidity occurs when two or more conditions exist together.
There are many types of mental health disorders, but some of the most common include anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Addiction can manifest itself in many ways, but some of the most common types include addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, food, sex, and shopping.
What Causes a Co-Occurring Disorder?
Addiction and mental illness often co-occur because substances can temporarily relieve symptoms of mental illness. For example, someone with anxiety might drink alcohol to relax, or someone with depression might use drugs to escape their negative feelings.
However, using substances this way is only a temporary fix and can make mental health symptoms worse in the long run. Addiction can also lead to financial, legal, relationship, and job loss.
Getting treatment for both conditions is essential if you have a dual addiction and mental illness diagnosis. Addiction treatment programs often include group and individual therapy, 12-step programs, medication management, and other evidence-based treatments. Mental health treatment for disorders like anxiety and depression might include talk therapy, medication, and self-care strategies.
What Are the Symptoms of a Co-Occurring Disorder?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the symptoms of co-occurring disorders can vary greatly depending on the individual and the specific disorders involved. However, some common symptoms that may be experienced by someone with co-occurring disorders include:
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Sleep difficulties
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Substance abuse or dependence
A qualified mental health professional can conduct a thorough assessment to determine if a co-occurring disorder is present and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Treatment for co-occurring disorders often includes a combination of medication, therapy, and support groups. With treatment, it is possible to manage the symptoms of both disorders and live a fulfilling life.
What Disorders Commonly Co-Occur With Addiction?
Many different mental health disorders can co-occur with addiction. Some of these include the following:
- Anxiety and addiction
- Depression and addiction
- ADHD and addiction
- OCD and addiction
- PTSD and addiction
- Schizophrenia and addiction
- Eating disorders and addiction
- Personality disorders and addiction
Anxiety and Addiction
By definition, anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry, or nervousness. It’s a normal emotion that helps people cope with potentially stressful or dangerous situations. Everyone feels anxious at some point in their lives. But for some people, anxiety can become so overwhelming that it interferes with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in the United States. An estimated 40 million adults in the U.S. (18%) have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.
Addiction is a complex brain disease that can be difficult to overcome on one’s own. Fortunately, many treatment options are available to help people struggling with addiction recover.
Depression and Addiction
It’s no secret that addiction and depression often go hand-in-hand. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 20 percent of people with substance use disorders also suffer from major depression.
There are several reasons why addiction and depression so often go together. For one, drug use can sometimes be a way of self-medicating depression symptoms. Additionally, the changes that happen in the brain during addiction can also lead to depression.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to seek help if you’re struggling with addiction and depression. Treatment for both conditions is often more successful when they’re addressed simultaneously.
ADHD and Addiction
There is a strong link between ADHD and addiction. People with ADHD are more likely to develop an addiction than those without ADHD. This is because people with ADHD often struggle with impulsivity, leading to risky behaviors. People with ADHD may also self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms.
People with ADHD are more likely to develop addictions, particularly to substances like nicotine, alcohol, and cocaine. People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are more likely to also have ADHD.
There are a few theories about why this is the case. It could be that people with ADHD are more prone to taking risks, which can lead to drug use. Or it could be that the impulsivity of ADHD makes it harder to resist the temptation of drugs. Whatever the reason, it’s important to be aware of the link between ADHD and addiction.
If you or someone you know has ADHD, treatments can help. Stimulant medications like Adderall and Ritalin can improve symptoms of ADHD. And behavioral therapies can teach people with ADHD how to manage their symptoms.
OCD and Addiction
There are many different types of OCD and addiction, but they all share one common goal: to get rid of unwanted thoughts or behaviors. Many people with OCD constantly fear their compulsions and rituals and feel like they can never be free from them. This can lead to a feeling of hopelessness and despair. It’s not uncommon for people with OCD to also suffer from addiction. In fact, research has shown that people with OCD are more likely to develop an addiction than those without the disorder.
There are several reasons why OCD and addiction might co-occur. For one, people with OCD often turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to self-medicate their anxiety and compulsions. Additionally, the compulsions associated with OCD can lead to risky behavior, such as using drugs or alcohol, which can, in turn, lead to addiction.
If you suffer from OCD and addiction, it’s important to seek treatment for both disorders. Treatment for OCD usually includes exposure and response prevention therapy, which can help you learn to control your compulsions. Addiction treatment typically includes behavioral therapies and 12-step programs. You can learn to manage both disorders and live a healthy, fulfilling life with treatment.
PTSD and Addiction
It’s not uncommon for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to struggle with addiction. In fact, research has shown that nearly 60 percent of individuals with PTSD also have a substance abuse problem.
There are several reasons why someone with PTSD might turn to substances in an attempt to cope with their symptoms. For one, drugs and alcohol can help numb the emotional pain and memories associated with the trauma. Additionally, people with PTSD often suffer from sleep problems and may turn to substances in an attempt to get some relief.
Unfortunately, however, substance abuse only makes PTSD symptoms worse. Not only does it prevent individuals from dealing with the root cause of their problem, but it can also lead to a host of other issues, such as financial problems, relationship difficulties, and legal trouble.
Schizophrenia and Addiction
People with schizophrenia may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate, cope with their symptoms, or simply because they enjoy the high that substances can provide. Unfortunately, addiction can only make schizophrenia worse, exacerbating symptoms and making it more difficult to manage the condition.
People with schizophrenia may be more likely to develop an addiction because of the changes that the condition causes in the brain. Schizophrenia can alter the way neurotransmitters work, leading to cravings, compulsions, and impulsive behavior.
Additionally, people with schizophrenia may be more likely to seek out substances as a way to self-medicate, cope with their symptoms, or simply because they enjoy the high that substances can provide. Unfortunately, addiction can only make schizophrenia worse, exacerbating symptoms and making it more difficult to manage the condition.
Eating Disorders and Addiction
Eating disorders and addiction are very different things, but they can often be linked together. People with eating disorders often turn to food as a way to cope with their problems. This can lead to overeating or undereating, both of which can be detrimental to your health. On the other hand, addiction is characterized by a compulsive need for a substance, even if it is harmful to you.
People with eating disorders often turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their feelings of shame, insecurity, and low self-esteem. And people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are often consumed with thoughts of food and weight.
Personality Disorders and Addiction
It’s no secret that addiction and personality disorders often go hand-in-hand. In fact, research has shown that nearly 50% of people with a personality disorder also suffer from an addiction.
What is it about personality disorders that make them so susceptible to addiction? There are a few key factors:
- Personality disorders often lead to self-destructive behaviors
- Personality disorders can cause social isolation
- Personality disorders can lead to job loss
- Personality disorders can lead to financial problems
- Personality disorders can lead to legal problems
- Personality disorders can lead to relationship problems
- Personality disorders can impact every aspect of a person’s life
Mental Illness Isn’t Easy; Illinois Recovery Center Can Help You
Mental illness is not a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination. However, the diamond in the rough is that those who walk through the doors of Illinois Recovery Center will receive the utmost individualized treatment for their co-occurring disorder. If you or a loved one want to find out more, you can. Contact us here.
What is the most common dual diagnosis?
Dual Diagnosis: The Most Common Co-Occurring Disorders
- Depression and Cocaine Addiction.
- Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Alcohol Abuse.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Opioid Addiction.
- Bipolar Disorder and Alcohol.
- Schizophrenia and Marijuana Addiction.
- Eating Disorders and Appetite Suppressants.