Individuals who suffer from the combination of a mental or physical disorder and substance use are diagnosed as having a co-occurring disorder. Florida Center for Recovery has a treatment program aimed specifically at treating co-occurring disorders. Our program will focus on substance addiction, as well as find the right treatment program for you or your loved one’s mental health disorder.
Addiction affects the brain, as does a mental disorder. On their own, substance use or a mental disorder is complex enough. A dual diagnosis of addiction and a mental disorder will only intensify the overall condition.
The phrase “co-occurring disorder” describes a person who has more than one medical concern. Treatment options will vary depending on the type of substance use, as well as the type of mental disorder. Personalized plans that are blended in their focus on treating both conditions together have successful outcomes.
What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?
The combination of a mental disorder and substance use creates a condition defined as a co-occurring disorder. The two go hand-in-hand many times because mental illness can affect your thinking, mood, or behaviors. The use of an illegal substance happens in an attempt for a person to self-medicate and find a “fix” for their problem or problems. A dual diagnosis is then formed.
It is not known which appears first – the mental disorder or the substance use. Some instances show that mental illness can cause substance use, and others show that substance use can create mental illness. Co-occurring disorder treatment focuses on both mental and substance addiction disorders. In a dual diagnosis program, neither of the disorders has less importance in the treatment process.
It is possible that mental illness and substance use affect similar areas of the brain. The part of your brain that responds to triggers like stress and happiness are the same areas of the brain that also affect your mental health. Drugs, alcohol, and mental illness can trigger these types of emotions. Thus the co-occurring disorder is created.
Common Mental Illnesses that Co-Occur with Addiction
Some of these mental disorders include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Major depressive disorder
- Anxiety and mood disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Symptoms of Co-Occurring Disorders
Here are some examples of those symptoms:
- Social withdrawal
- Decreased appetite
- Loss of control
- Substance cravings
These symptoms that occur in co-occurring disorders can create unfortunate situations in your everyday life. The repercussions can include financial troubles, loss of employment, and homelessness.
Other more negative consequences may include incarceration, poor physical health, family and other relationship issues, and an increased risk of suicide.
Mood Disorders and Addiction
It is common for there to be a dual diagnosis of substance use disorder in combination with a mood disorder. If you are struggling with a mood disorder you may become addicted to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate. Alcohol or drugs can only temporarily mask the deeper issue and repetitive use will lead to addiction.
Types of mood disorders include:
- Depression: the symptoms of depression include loss of appetite, change in sleep patterns, a feeling of worthlessness. Alcohol and/or drugs are taken in the hopes of gaining some sense of energy and motivation. Substance use, however, can intensify the symptoms of depression.
- Bipolar disorders: bipolar disorders create extreme highs and lows in a person’s mental health. In an attempt to level off these extremes a person may turn to drugs and/or alcohol. The use of drugs and/or alcohol will only heighten the symptoms of depression.
- Anxiety: anxiety creates a sense of uncontrollable panic in a person. Alcohol and/or drugs are used in an effort to make a person feel calmer and settled. Unfortunately, substance use makes the symptoms worse.
No matter what the mood disorder is, the effect on your life is the same. Some examples of those effects include:
- Inability to function at work
- A hands-off approach to handling everyday decisions in life
- Lack of communication
It is never easy to determine if the mood disorder created the addiction, or if the addiction created the mood disorder. Either way, the treatment goal is still the same. Once a dual diagnosis is made a treatment plan can be put into place to help you to create a healthier life.
Trauma and Addiction
When an individual experiences fear that is due to their safety being threatened, immense pain, or observes a violent or tragic situation, that person is described as having experienced trauma.
Common examples of trauma include:
- Sexual assault,
- Domestic violence
- Natural disasters
- Automobile accident,
- Military combat
- Being diagnosed with a life-threatening condition
Individuals suffering from trauma will often turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to escape or self-medicate. Common symptoms related to trauma often include depression, insomnia, and social withdrawal. By using drugs and alcohol, the person may feel the symptoms are manageable.
Treatment for trauma and addiction will need to take into consideration not only the addiction but the psychological issues related to the person’s trauma. There are many different ways to treat trauma and addiction, but it will take a full evaluation of the individual’s circumstances as well as proper care and attention.
Codependency and Addiction
Codependency is defined as “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction”. A loved one may think that he or she is helping you by offering assistance and support. In reality, their behavior is not only hurting you but also hurting them. The harm to your loved one can come in many forms. Problems with financials and emotional and/or social issues can occur.
The need for the codependent person to make everything “better” for you is not healthy. This is especially true in a relationship where one partner has a substance use problem. Rather than helping you to overcome the addiction, they are actually enabling it.
The fear that your loved one has stemmed from their need to be validated, have self-worth, and not lose you as their partner. As a result, this can make your loved one support your substance use problem. Because they will not encourage you to seek help the substance use continues. Codependency can cause both you and your loved one to live in an unsettled, unhealthy environment.
Schizophrenia and Addiction
Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that causes a person to lose touch with reality. Drug and alcohol addiction is a mental illness. A dual diagnosis of the two can create a ticket for disaster.
Drug and alcohol addiction is very common in those who suffer from schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a disease that alters both your mind and also your personality. Drugs and/or alcohol are abused in an effort to relieve you from the unstable world that occurs with schizophrenia.
A dual diagnosis program that treats both schizophrenia and addiction may include the following:
- Self-help groups
- Rehabilitation education
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders at Florida Center for Recovery
Florida Center for Recovery is a comprehensive facility. We have a staff who are prepared to help you or your loved one take the steps towards a better future. From the first step of a psychiatric evaluation to the final steps of creating a fresh start, we are ready to help you begin the process.
Our medical and clinical staff will work to find the best plan for you. Our approach at Florida Center for Recovery is one that takes your whole mental and physical health into account. Diets are managed as part of the overall plan in your treatment process.
Please contact us at Florida Center for Recovery so that we can discuss how we can help. We offer a solid understanding of co-occurring disorders and are ready to prepare a treatment program for you or your loved one. Our facility in Fort Pierce, Florida offers a peaceful campus where you can begin to gain control of your life.