What is Co-occurring Disorders Treatment?
Dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorders, treatment is an
addiction treatment program that simultaneously treats a mental illness. Therefore, individuals that
simultaneously suffer from addiction and mental illness should receive
co-occurring disorders treatment rather than regular addiction treatment.
Receiving treatment for addiction without simultaneously treating its co-occurring
mental illness will likely cause the addiction to develop again. This
is because when two disorders are co-occurring, they often act as catalysts
for one another.
Therefore, treating one condition without simultaneously treating the other
will cause the previous condition to trigger the reappearance of the treated
condition. That’s why co-occurring disorders treatment is vital
for individuals that suffer from both addiction and mental illness.
Common Types of Co-Occurring Disorders
There are countless substance use disorder and mental health disorder combinations
that can result in co-occurring disorders, or dual diagnoses. Any mental
illness from depression to
bipolar disorder, to schizophrenia can co-occur with addiction. Some of the most common
co-occurring disorders include the following:
One of the most common co-occurring disorders is alcoholism and depression.
This is because many people that suffer from depression use alcohol to
numb or suppress their negative emotions.
using alcohol to numb one’s negative emotions is highly dangerous. This is because,
over time, it can cause a person’s body to become reliant on alcohol
to feel positive emotions. When individuals first consume alcohol, the
substance stimulates the brain in a way that gives off a high. This initial
high is just an illusion though as alcohol is truly a depressant. Thus,
soon after consuming it, alcohol will slow down the brain and body which
causes a person to crash.
Such a crash will cause people that are already depressed to feel the need
to consume more and more alcohol to continue to mask their negative emotions.
Doing this can cause depressed people that abuse alcohol to also become
To treat the co-occurring disorder of alcoholism and depression, one should
attend a dual diagnosis program. Because of how addictive alcohol is,
it’s best for individuals that suffer from alcoholism and depression
to attend rehab at an inpatient dual diagnosis treatment center.
Alcoholism and Anti-Social Personality Disorder
Alcoholism is also often linked to anti-social personality disorder. According to the
Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) by the American Psychiatric Association, anti-social personality disorder,
or ASPD, is characterized by a pervasive disregard for and violation of
other people’s rights.
Because people with ASPD disregard other people’s rights, they often
lack empathy and are emotionally unavailable. The disregard of other people’s
rights also causes people with ASPD to often manipulate, exploit, or violate
others with ease.
People with ASPD also often suffer from aggression issues. Because chronic
alcohol use causes changes in the brain’s neurotransmitters that
are linked to aggression, alcoholism, and anti-social personality disorder
is one of the most common co-occurring disorders.
Heroin Addiction and Depression
When it comes to substance use disorders that depression links to,
heroin addiction is one of the most common ones. This is because heroin use often causes
alterations in the chemistry of the brain. These changes in brain chemistry
lead to mood changes and suicidal behavior.
Heroin is a strong opiate drug and as a result, many of its symptoms resemble
depression. For example, some symptoms of heroin use include fatigue,
self-isolation, weight loss, and poor concentration. Thus, it makes sense
for heroin use to lead to the development of depression. In fact, a published study in
Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that one-fourth of 615 heroin users in Sydney, Australia also suffered
from a major depressive episode.
Furthermore, 26% of the individuals in treatment for heroin addiction in
the study also suffered from long-term depression. Even 16% of the heroin
users that weren’t in treatment suffered from depression.
Heroin addicts also often experience depression during withdrawal. This
is due to many heroin addicts’ dependency on the substance to feel
any sort of high.
Because heroin use and heroin withdrawal often cause people to experience
depression symptoms, individuals that suffer from the co-occurring disorder
of heroin addiction and depression are often suicidal. Thus, co-occurring
disorders treatment of heroin addiction and depression is vital to the
survival of many people.
An analysis of several studies found that marijuana is one of the substances
that people with schizophrenia abuse the most. Thus, it’s no surprise
that researchers are discovering that there is some sort of link between
marijuana and schizophrenia.
Individuals that suffer from schizophrenia often like to use marijuana
to cope with their illness. On the flip side, marijuana is also heavily
linked to psychosis. Psychosis is the disruption in one’s thoughts
in a way that makes it hard to decipher what’s real.
Psychosis is a primary symptom of schizophrenia. According to the American
Psychiatric Association, schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that’s
characterized by delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, trouble
thinking, and lack of motivation.
As a result of marijuana being heavily linked to schizophrenia, people
that chronically abuse marijuana may develop schizophrenic symptoms. Marijuana
use can also worsen the symptoms of schizophrenia in individuals that
already suffer from mental health disorders.
Researchers have also found that individuals that carry certain genetic
genes are more likely to develop schizophrenia after marijuana use. Examples
of some of these genetic genes include the AKT1 gene and the COMT gene.
Because there is a genetic link between the ability for a person to develop
schizophrenia after marijuana use, it’s no surprise that individuals
with family members that suffer from schizophrenia are more likely to
develop schizophrenia themselves, particularly after smoking marijuana.
Marijuana use is so heavily linked to schizophrenia that smoking marijuana
can cause a person to develop schizophrenia a few years earlier than expected.
The age at which a person starts smoking marijuana often affects his or
her chances of developing schizophrenia as a result of it. This is likely
because the brains of youth that smoke marijuana aren’t fully developed yet.
Cocaine is a stimulant that causes alterations to the brain that causes
people to initially feel more confident and energetic. Thus, many people
start using cocaine to ease their anxiety and feel more confident.
Unfortunately, cocaine use can worsen anxiety since the substance often
stimulates the brains of its users to the point at which they experience
racing, uncontrollable thoughts, and paranoia in the form of an anxiety
disorder. Anxiety is also a common cocaine withdrawal symptom. This is
because cocaine is highly addictive. Therefore, many people that use cocaine
to ease anxiety experience worsened anxiety when detoxing.
When individuals suffer from both cocaine addiction and anxiety, they suffer
from co-occurring disorders. To treat such co-occurring disorders, individuals
should attend rehab at an inpatient dual diagnosis treatment center.
Because people with bipolar disorder go through so many emotional ups and
downs, they often misuse stimulants and depressants. One stimulant that
people with bipolar disorder often misuse is cocaine. Due to how addictive
cocaine is though, individuals with bipolar disorder that start using
cocaine usually develop a co-occurring disorder of cocaine addiction and
Because cocaine is a stimulant that initially causes people to feel energized
and confident, people that suffer from bipolar disorder may use cocaine
to cope when they’re going through depressive lows. Unfortunately,
extensive cocaine use will worsen bipolar disorder symptoms.
For example, cocaine alters dopamine levels in the brain. Because bipolar
disorder also involves imbalances in the dopamine centers of the brain,
the use of cocaine worsens the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Using cocaine while suffering from bipolar disorder also makes people become
reckless and less able to make sound decisions. Continued cocaine use
while suffering from bipolar disorder also often makes people feel paranoia
and irritation. When going through withdrawal of cocaine while suffering
from bipolar disorder, people may even experience suicidal thoughts.
While cocaine use in and of itself doesn’t necessarily cause bipolar
disorder, it can cause psychosis or a stimulant-induced psychosis. A stimulant-induced
psychosis can cause people to experience hallucinations and delusions
along with changes in emotion, lethargy, lack of motivation, and withdrawal
from social interactions.
People with the co-occurring disorder of bipolar disorder and cocaine addiction
can also experience erratic behavior and disorganized thoughts and speech.
People with both bipolar disorders and cocaine addictions also often crash
at some point due to the highs that both conditions cause.
Other symptoms that both individuals with cocaine addictions and bipolar
disorder often suffer from include:
- Increased energy and mental alertness
- Increased sex drive
These symptoms are often more severe and obvious in people with cocaine
addictions than they are in people with bipolar disorder. To treat bipolar
disorder and cocaine addiction, individuals should attend medical detox
followed by co-occurring disorders treatment for the dual diagnosis.
Opioid Addiction and
People develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after
a traumatic experience. Oftentimes these traumatic experiences lead to injuries or conditions
that require people to receive opioid prescription medications. Unfortunately,
due to how addictive opioids are, many people that receive opioid prescriptions
end up developing opioid addictions.
Many people start abusing opioid prescriptions unintentionally. This is
especially true for individuals that use opioid painkillers. This is because
many people that use opioid prescriptions will take more pills than prescribed.
They do this in hopes that it will reduce their pain or symptoms quicker.
Other people abuse their prescription opioids by taking them for a longer
period of time than prescribed. This is because many people still feel
physical pain or that their condition isn’t cured yet and thus,
need to continue to take their medications. Once a person develops an
opioid addiction, it’s very hard to overcome. This is especially
true when a person already suffers from PTSD.
To treat the co-occurring disorder of opioid addiction and PTSD, you must
attend co-occurring disorders treatment. Just make sure that the dual
diagnosis program that you attend is specialized and at an inpatient dual
diagnosis treatment center.
The Purpose of Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment
The purpose of co-occurring disorders treatment is to, once again, simultaneously
treat any substance use and mental health disorders that a person is suffering
from. That way, no lingering mental illness or substance use issue can
trigger the other disorder.
Why Do Mental Illnesses Often Co-Occur With Substance Use Disorders?
Mental illnesses often co-occur with substance use disorders because many
people start using substances to cope with their mental illnesses. Thus,
mental illness is often the trigger, or catalyst, for substance use. Unfortunately,
though using substances to cope with mental illnesses usually just causes
individuals to become dependent on substances.
Eventually, such drug dependency turns into drug addiction, which only
worsens mental illness symptoms. Therefore, before a person knows it,
he or she is suffering from both a mental illness and a substance use
disorder and is in desperate need of dual diagnosis treatment.
Treat Your Co-Occurring Disorders At Grace Land Recovery
Grace Land Recovery is a dual diagnosis treatment center located in the Memphis, Tennessee
area. As an addiction treatment center that specializes in dual diagnosis
treatment, Grace Land Recovery offers high-quality, individualized, and
specialized addiction treatment and
therapy programs and services.
Grace Land Recovery also offers a wide variety of specialized dual diagnosis
treatment programs. That way patients can receive the care that they need
to overcome both their addiction and mental illnesses.
If you suffer from a co-occurring disorder and wish to receive co-occurring
disorders treatment here at Grace Land Recovery,
contact us today! We would love to help you treat your physical, mental, and spiritual issues
so that you can maintain long-term sobriety. Our phone lines are open
24/7 and our offices are open during typical business hours.