co-occurring disorder

Understanding Co-Occurring Disorders

co-occurring disorder

Co-occurring disorder. What exactly does that mean?

Original Source:

Co-occurring Disorders and Addiction

When someone has a mental health disorder like anxiety or depression as well as a substance abuse disorder then mental health professionals say that that person has a dual addiction. It’s a dual addiction in the sense that your mental health disorder would be “co-occurring” with your substance abuse disorder.

Understanding Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Dependence

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders labels substance disorders as either drug/alcohol abuse or drug/alcohol dependence. The dependence part of the latter means that the person is both chemically dependent to a drug or alcohol and that chemical dependence is causing major lifestyle impairment. Losing a job due to an alcohol dependency or watching a marriage slip away because of a drug addiction are very real events in the lives of millions of untreated addicts around the world today.

More technically drug or alcohol abuse is when the addict’s substance of choice causes major interference with home life or functioning in the workplace or in the classroom. There might also be, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a situation in which the person’s medical condition(s) are worsened or the person finds himself or herself in dangerous situations because of the addiction.

Drug dependence or alcohol dependence would be a more progressed form of drug abuse or alcohol abuse since with dependence you could be talking about more severe ramifications for the person’s failure to give up their substance of choice.

Oftentimes drug dependence is accompanied by a physiological dependence whereby the addict has to get more and more of the drug (or alcohol) in their system to combat the tolerance that’s developed and achieve the same type of effect. Vainly trying to achieve the same intensity to their initial high many addicts have found themselves struggling to survive.

If you or anyone you know struggles with addiction then it’s crucial you reach out to your personal support groups for help as well as identify and consult with a qualified mental health professional in your area. Your life or the life of a loved one struggling with addiction is worth the effort.

Mental Health Disorders and Recovery

Mental health issues can frequently be the reason that many addicts started doing a drug regularly. The temptation to “self medicate” their anxiety or depression away with drugs or alcohol was simply too strong for their resistance to do much good. Sooner than they expected these same people found themselves in the throes of addiction and struggling not to take in water.

Because a co-occurring mental health disorder can severely hamper an addict’s recovery, or even his or her desire to enter recovery, it’s important to understand the most common types of mental health disorders associated with substance abuse as well as the challenges that can arise when a person has a dual disorder and has to stare down two or more of these disorders at once. The challenge can be formidable, but there’s always hope of recovery with the help of a qualified mental health professional and addiction specialist.

Mood disorders like major depression (keyword one for many addiction specialists) and anxiety disorders like social anxiety or panic disorder (keyword two, if you will) are the most common kinds of co-occurring mental health disorders that psychologists have identified among addict populations. Keyword one issues also include bipolar disorder and dsythymia.

Because one issue often lies at the root of the other treating mental health and addiction issues at once (i.e., integrated therapy) is increasingly used by empathetic, experienced addiction specialists.

%d bloggers like this: