When it comes to treating people with addiction issues, there are several misconceptions. One of the most common ones is that substance use problems are simply a matter of determination and will power. In reality, the medical establishment has known for years that addiction is a disease that affects brain chemistry. Like other conditions, it requires treatment by medical professionals. A related myth is that there is a one-size-fits-all “cure” for substance abuse. In fact, each person struggling with this disorder presents differently. This is partly because many people battling addiction also have an underlying mental health disorder that affects their substance use. We refer to these conditions as “co-occurring disorders.” If you have been wondering, “what are co-occurring disorders?” New Bridge Foundation is an excellent place to ask questions to.
What Are Co-occurring Disorders?: An Overview
When individuals have undiagnosed mental conditions, it is common that they turn to alcohol and drugs to help ease their pain. Clients diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder require specific approaches that may be more intensive and comprehensive than usual. Since mental health issues and substance use disorders can impact and trigger each other, it is important that they are treated simultaneously.
If you have been asking yourself, “what are co-occurring disorders?” you will be interested to know that frequent mental health diagnoses that co-occur with a substance use disorder are depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. People who suffer from these disorders are up to twice as likely to have related substance use problems.
What Are Co-occurring Disorders?: Signs and Symptoms
There are numerous signs that you or someone in your life may be suffering from a co-occurring disorder. Among the questions you can ask yourself are:
- Do individuals exhibit sudden or extreme changes in mood, especially when they try to reduce their consumption or quit using drugs and alcohol? When people suffer from co-occurring disorders, a reduction of the drug or alcohol use masking their condition often causes their mental health issues to worsen.
- Is there a history of mental illness in the family? Although the relationship between genetics and mental illness is complicated, most medical professionals agree that the children of mentally ill parents are more susceptible to the psychological conditions that are most common in co-occurring disorders.
- Do they use drugs or drink alcohol to feel “normal”? This is a subtle difference, but many individuals with substance use disorders use drugs and alcohol to escape, not a way to feel more like themselves. If they are doing so, it may point to an underlying mental condition.
This list is, of course, far from exhaustive. But if you have been wondering, “what are co-occurring disorders?” and can answer yes to any of the above, it is worth reaching out to New Bridge Foundation for more information.
Reach Out for Help At New Bridge Foundation Today
If you are worried that you or someone you care about has a co-occurring disorder and needs help, it is critical that you reach out sooner rather than later. At New Bridge Foundation, we have years of experience treating co-occurring disorders. We know how important it is in these cases that a client’s treatment program be tailored to their specific needs and problems.