Although there are many possible underlying causes of addiction, co-occurring disorders consistently rank among the most common. A co-occurring disorder is any mental health issue that exists simultaneously with either substance use disorder (SUD), alcohol use disorder (AUD), or opioid use disorder (OUD). Co-occurring disorders are frequently considered to be the primary catalyst for substances abuse when used as a means for counteracting, minimizing, or eliminating the mental and emotional anguish that people feel. In short, many people use and eventually abuse drugs simply because they cannot find other reliable ways to obtain relief.
Understanding this, most rehab centers offer dual diagnosis treatment that addresses both disorder types at once. In dual diagnosis treatment, various forms of cognitive behavioral therapy are used to incite the development of healthier coping techniques, increase distress tolerance, and promote higher levels of motivation and initiative.
Rehab centers often use motivational interviewing, neuro-education, and many other treatment modalities to help patients find safe, sustainable ways for managing their conditions over the long-term. Undiagnosed and untreated mental health disorders are among the greatest risk factors for relapse. Thus, if you have or believe that you may have a co-occurring condition, it’s important to seek out a rehab program that offers the targeted services you need.
The Link Between Co-Occuring Disorders and Addiction
The link between co-occurring disorders and drug or alcohol addiction is still not fully understood. In some instances, substance use disorder is believed to be an inevitable consequence of self-treating undiagnosed issues in harmful ways. However, there are also times in which the symptoms of mental health disorders present in formerly healthy individuals as a seeming consequence of prolonged substance abuse.
For instance, a person who heavily abuses certain psychotropic drugs or stimulants, may begin to exhibit the symptoms of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Moreover, these same symptoms may linger even after recreational drug use is stopped or they may abate entirely on their own. What is known about the connection between co-occurring disorders and addiction is that continued drug or alcohol abuse always exacerbates the very symptoms that people are attempting to self-treat.
As such, those self-treating depression often deal with longer, more frequent, and more intense depressive episodes, and those attempting to self-treat anxiety commonly find that their feelings of irrational and unwarranted fear are greatly heightened over time.
What Disorders Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment Address?
Dual diagnosis treatment in rehab addresses any existing mental health disorders that co-occur with drug or alcohol addiction. The include:
- Major depressive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- General anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Atypical depression
- Psychotic depression
Dual diagnosis treatment in rehab also includes treatment for all 12 personality disorders that are currently recognized in the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. These include:
- Borderline personality disorder
- Histrionic personality disorder
- Schizoaffective disorder
- Paranoid personality disorder
All of these and many other issues are understood to have a profound impact on a person’s recovery efforts if left untreated. In addition to cognitive behavioral therapy and other talk therapy types, dual diagnosis treatment can additionally leverage:
- Mood stabilizing medications
- Anti-psychotic medications
- Anti-depressant medications
- Sleep support
- Anti-anxiety medications
Co-Occurring Disorders and Relapse Prevention
People with lengthy histories of repeated relapse events often have co-occurring disorders that were neglected, misdiagnosed, or overlooked during their past addiction treatments. Much like drug and alcohol addiction, many co-occurring disorders represent chronic, lifelong issues that must be diligently and consistently managed over time.
For a recovering addict with a treated co-occurring disorder, deciding to discontinue the use of prescribed medications or other treatment modalities can set the stage for relapse. Thus, part of co-occurring disorder treatment is learning targeted strategies for minimizing this risk and other potential setbacks. In relapse prevention, neuro-education aims to teach recovering addicts more about the the conditions they’ve been diagnosed with, the long-term needs of these conditions, and the best strategies for ensuring both stability and sustainability in their emotions and mental health.
If you have or believe that you may have a co-occurring disorder, we can help. To find out about the available options in dual diagnosis treatment, call 833-820-2922 to speak with one of our counselors.