When people think of mental health, they only think of common disorders like anxiety and depression. But what about someone who is suffering from both a mental illness and substance abuse? This is known as a co-occurring disorder, a health condition where two or more psychiatric diagnoses occur. A co-occurring disorder can be challenging to diagnose and treat, but it can be managed effectively with the right approach. Here are things you need to know about a co-occurring disorder.
What Is A Co-Occurring Disorder?
A co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis occurs when an individual suffers mental illness and a substance abuse problem. While this may look like a rare condition, it is common. Individuals with a co-occurring disorder often find it difficult to recover from their addiction without treatment for both conditions. This is because the symptoms of one condition can trigger or worsen the symptoms of the other. But with proper care, it is possible to effectively manage both conditions and live a healthy and happy life.
How Does A Co-Occurring Disorder Develop?
Several factors can cause the development of a co-occurring disorder. For example, genetics play a role in both mental health and addiction. If you have a family history of addiction or mental illness, you may be more likely to develop a co-occurring disorder yourself.
Environmental factors such as poverty, trauma, and exposure to substances can also increase your risk. For example, someone with PTSD may turn to alcohol or drug to self-medicate his or her symptoms of anxiety and depression. Similarly, someone with depression may begin using drugs to numb their negative emotions.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Co-Occurring Disorder?
Symptoms of a co-occurring disorder can be challenging to identify. But some common ones include:
- Increased lying
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Changes in sleeping or eating habits
- Unable to control alcohol or drugs use
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
- Having difficulty meeting school, work, or family obligations.
If you are exhibiting these signs, it’s important to seek professional help. With the help of a mental health professional, it is possible to manage both conditions and live a healthy, happy life.
How Is A Co-Occurring Disorder Treated?
Treatment for a co-occurring disorder needs to address both the addiction and the mental health disorder. The first step is detoxification, which helps the person break the physical dependence on drugs or alcohol. Detoxification must be done under medical supervision.
After detoxification, the next step is usually intensive outpatient treatment or inpatient treatment. In outpatient treatment, the person suffering from the co-occurring disorder attends therapy sessions during the day but goes home at night. In inpatient treatment, the person stays at a residential treatment facility for some time.
The overall goal is to help patients manage their symptoms, develop healthier coping skills, and ultimately improve their quality of life.
If you or a loved one is struggling with co-occurring or dual diagnosis disorder in Harrisburg, it’s vital to seek help. The best way to start your treatment for mental illness and substance abuse is to contact Bold Steps Behavioral Health at 717-818-0731.
Harrisburg PA 17112