The 5 Most Common Co-Occurring Disorders and How a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center Can Help

most common co-occurring disorders

If you suffer from a substance use disorder, it is likely that you also struggle with additional mental health problems. This is known as having co-occurring disorders or a dual diagnosis. According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 9.2 million adults in the United States have a co-occurring disorder.

Dealing with addiction and having an untreated mental illness can be extremely difficult. As you struggle to stop using drugs and alcohol, the symptoms of your mental health condition may perpetuate the cycle of addiction, making it very hard for you to recover.

Up to half of the people who seek substance abuse treatment also meet the diagnostic criteria for a mental health condition. As a result, there are addiction treatment centers specifically designed to help individuals recover from both addiction and co-occurring illnesses. Dual diagnosis treatment centers combine traditional substance use disorder treatment tactics with evidence-based mental health recovery techniques.

Some co-occurring disorders are more common than others. Five of the most common co-occurring disorders that exist alongside addiction include:

1. Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders include a broad range of mental health conditions. Some of these include social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, panic disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Anxiety disorders are some of the most common conditions to affect Americans daily, meaning they co-occur with addiction frequently.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 18% of the U.S. population struggles with an anxiety disorder. Additionally, studies have found that having an anxiety disorder makes you 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer from addiction.

Treating Anxiety Disorders and Addiction

Dealing with both addiction and anxiety can be difficult, but dual diagnosis treatment centers can help you recover from both conditions simultaneously. For example, therapists may use cognitive behavioral therapy to help you face your fears and change negative patterns of thinking into positive ones. You may also learn relaxation techniques to help reduce your anxiety, such as breathing exercises or mindfulness meditation.

2. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

While post-traumatic stress disorder is technically an anxiety disorder, it co-occurs with addiction so much that it deserves its own section. PTSD is a condition that develops after you experience something extremely traumatic and are unable to cope with the emotions surrounding the event. According to studies completed by the APA, almost half (46.4%) of people with PTSD end up developing an addiction.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can cause you to lean on drugs or alcohol to soothe uncomfortable emotions or memories surrounding your trauma. This begins the cycle of addiction, making it difficult for you to recover without professional help.

Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Addiction

Dual diagnosis treatment centers in California can help you overcome comorbid PTSD and addiction through the use of trauma-informed care and therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Trauma-informed care recognizes that trauma can affect every aspect of your behaviors and that your trauma must be addressed in order for you to get better. At the same time, CBT and other therapies help you heal from past traumas by challenging unhealthy emotional processes connected to your trauma, allowing you to recover from the causes of your addiction.

3. Depression

Depression is an extremely common mental health condition that affects approximately 280 million people in the world and about 20% of people who struggle with depression or another mood disorder also struggle with addiction at some point in their lives. As a result, depression is one of the most common co-occurring disorders.

Depression causes you to experience extreme feelings of sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, and social isolation. These emotions can be difficult to deal with, often causing you to abuse substances to cope.

Treating Depression and Addiction

Dual diagnosis treatment centers can help you overcome depression and addiction by using a combination treatment approach that includes traditional addiction recovery tactics and evidence-based depression treatment techniques. Oftentimes, this includes talk therapy, group counseling, and antidepressant medications if needed.

4. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes people to experience extreme emotional highs and lows. Additionally, impulsivity is a common behavior associated with bipolar disorder. This means that if you suffer from this condition, you are prone to impulsive behaviors like substance abuse.

According to SAMHSA, “as many as 30-50% of people with bipolar disorder may develop comorbid substance abuse disorder at some point in their life.”

Treating Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

While recovering from co-occurring bipolar disorder and addiction can be difficult, attending a dual diagnosis treatment program that specializes in the treatment of this comorbidity can make recovery much easier. These treatment programs use therapeutic approaches like dialectical behavior therapy to help you overcome the emotional instability and impulsive behavior that is associated with bipolar disorder, helping you remove the need to abuse substances.

Mood stabilizers and antipsychotic medications may be provided for therapy-resistant symptoms.

5. Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

According to the Psychiatric Times, 4 to 5% of the U.S. population suffers from severe ADHD. Out of those people, half of them suffer from a co-occurring substance use disorder. This means that ADHD and addiction commonly occur together, complicating the recovery process.

When you struggle with ADHD, you likely struggle with addictive behaviors due to thrill-seeking behavior and a need for instant gratification. This means you are more susceptible to developing substance use disorders. Living with a combination of ADHD and addiction can be extremely difficult, however, professional treatment can help you regain control of your life.

Treating ADHD and Addiction

Most dual diagnosis treatment programs use a combination of ADHD medications, counseling, family therapy, self-help groups, and holistic therapy to treat comorbid ADHD and substance abuse.

Get Connected With a Top-Rated Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center in California Today

If you or someone you love struggles with mental health and addiction, it’s never too late to ask for help. Living with comorbid addiction and mental illness can cause you to be unable to cope with everyday situations, leading to financial distress, job loss, social isolation, and physical or mental health problems, but a dual diagnosis treatment program can help you recover from co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder.

At Sheer Recovery, we only treat six clients at a time, allowing us to provide highly-focused, individualized care. In our 6-patient model, you remain actively engaged in therapy sessions so you receive the comprehensive care you truly need to get sober, stay sober, and improve your mental health. Our dual diagnosis treatment program will teach you how your co-occurring disorders are intertwined and how they affect each other so you will be better equipped to build a healthy life in recovery.

Contact us today to get started.


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