Common Co-Occurring Disorders

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co-occurring disorders

For those who suffer from substance abuse, there is often an underlying cause at its root. It is quite common for addicts to have a specific co-occurring mental disorder. According to statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), nearly 8 million people in the U.S. experience co-occurring disorders. Of those people, 4.1 million are men. While common, more than 50 percent of with a co-occurring disorder did not receive any type of professional help while in drug treatment.

For those who have a dual diagnosis of a mental disorder along with substance abuse, the road to recovery becomes more difficult. Both disorders exacerbate each other, and it can be tough to pinpoint the exact roots of one’s addiction. For those with co-occurring disorders, it is important to receive comprehensive care for both disorders. The following article details the most common co-occurring disorders found in drug addiction.

Alcoholism an Anti-Social Behavior Disorders

One common co-occurring disorders is the presence of anti-social behaviors in those who struggle with alcohol abuse. According to statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, people who abuse alcohol are 21 times more likely to display anti-social disorders compared to those who are not alcoholics. The most common traits of anti-social behavior include the following:

  • Lack of empathy for others
  • Express their opinions without listening to others
  • Feel comfortable with breaking laws
  • Feel no remorse in exploiting or manipulating others
  • Harm animals
  • Engaging in lying often

For people who suffer from anti-social behavior, chronic alcohol abuse often makes their behaviors worse. As a result, they become isolated from family, friends and the community. Additionally, they may also run into legal consequences and may find themselves serving jail time for their actions.

Cocaine Abuse and Anxiety Disorders

Those who use cocaine do so because it gives them a euphoric rush. When the drug is abused, people will experience a wide variety of symptoms closely associated with anxiety disorders. The most common symptoms include the following:

  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Suspiciousness
  • Insomnia
  • Violence

According to a literature review done by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, paranoia occurs in 68 to 84 percent of cocaine users, and 55 percent of users engage in violent behaviors. In those users who committed suicide, 18 to 22 percent of users had used cocaine prior to the act. Additionally, many people who abuse cocaine to the point of dependence were found to have a co-occurring psychiatric disorder such as anxiety disorders.

co-occurring disorders

Opioid Addiction and PTSD

Another common co-occurring disorder seen with addiction is opioid dependence with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental health problem that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event. Examples of these events include combat, a natural disaster such as an earthquake or tornado, a car accident, or physical or sexual assault.

Oftentimes, people who survive catastrophic events emerge with very serious physical injuries. To treat those injuries, prescription painkillers are often prescribed to help ease the pain. In addition to pain relief, opioid drugs can also boost feelings of pleasure and calm inside the brain. For those experiencing PTSD, they can often abuse these drugs to stay in a euphoric state. Without receiving professional help to deal with the pain of past traumatic events, people can quickly become addicted to prescription medications—and their mental state takes a turn for the worse.

Heroin Addiction and Depression

Depression is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. According to statistics provided by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA):

  • Depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3.
  • The condition affects more than 16.1 million American adults or about 6.7% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
  • While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5 years old.
  • Depression and depressive disorders are more prevalent in women than in men.

Additionally, it is estimated that 48 percent of heroin users experience significant periods of depression in their lifetime.

For some who battle depression, they may turn to heroin for relief. Heroin is a powerful opiate drug that creates powerful feelings of sedation and calm. While heroin users enjoy the powerful euphoria generated by the drug, heroin is highly addictive. For some users, all it takes is one-time using heroin to become dependent on the drug.

Integrated Intervention is Key in Treating Co-Occurring Disorders and Drug Addiction

To adequately treat co-occurring disorders and drug addiction, you must find a treatment facility that employs an integrated treatment approach. This includes a comprehensive medical detoxification to help you gradually wean off substances. During detox, experienced treatment staff will perform a comprehensive mental health evaluation to detect any co-occurring mental disorders. If any are discovered, treatment staff can incorporate the appropriate therapies to address those issues.

In addition to detoxification, an integrated treatment approach includes intensive inpatient drug treatment, individual and group therapy, life skills training and aftercare programs. Additionally, these facilities will provide mental health staff who will work with you to address the deeper issues that allowed your addiction to grow and flourish. No matter how severe the issue, treatment staff will work with you to develop the tools and support you need to succeed in recovery.

Don’t Let Co-Occurring Disorders Stop You from Achieving Recovery

If you are struggling with substance abuse, recovery can be an uphill battle. If you are also dealing with mental illness, the path to lasting recovery can be even more challenging. While the odds may seem stacked against you, help is just one phone call away. The treatment professionals at Pinnacle Recovery will put their experience to work for you. Our experienced staff can create a treatment program that will help you deal with your addiction as well as any mental health issues. Don’t suffer from co-occurring disorders any longer; call Pinnacle Recovery today and become truly happy and healthy.

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