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What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Addiction and mental health often go hand-in-hand. Many people who struggle with addiction have underlying mental health disorders, and addiction can also lead to deteriorating mental health. This may include conditions such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. When both mental health disorders and addiction occur at the same time, they are known as co-occurring disorders.

Addiction treatment combined with mental health disorder treatment can offer solutions for you. At Greater Boston Addiction Centers, we’re happy to work closely with you to ensure co-occurring treatment is possible. To learn more, contact us at 877.920.6583 or online.

What Causes Co-Occurring Disorders?

There are many reasons co-occurring disorders can occur. Either condition can come first. For example, some people with addiction develop mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety as a result of their drug use. It is also common for people who have a mental health disorder to use drugs or alcohol as coping mechanisms. While this may minimize symptoms for a short period of time, consistent use can lead to addiction. An individual could be genetically predisposed toward mental illness and then take up drug or alcohol use to self-medicate. However, the opposite can also be the cause – an environment of recreational drug and alcohol use can cause the development of a mental illness like anxiety or depression. Whatever the reason, both conditions must be addressed together, not separately.

How Do You Know You Have Co-Occurring Disorders?

It can be difficult to diagnose co-occurring disorders. Sometimes, people do not know what is occurring. That’s why a formal diagnosis is so important. Having professionals provide a full assessment can help answer all of your questions. Some common signs of co-occurring disorders include:

  • Using drugs to deal with work, home, or social stress
  • Struggling to balance day-to-day life with drug or alcohol use
  • Feeling the need to use drugs or alcohol all of the time
  • Feeling anxious, depressed, or unsettled when you don’t use
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms and cravings when you stop using
  • Trying but being unable to stop using
  • Suicidal thoughts

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms of addiction or have a mental health disorder, reach out to a trusted team of professionals who can help you. Mental health conditions can include post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, etc.

What Can Addiction Treatment Do to Help You?

If you are struggling with addiction, it’s critical to work through treatment for co-occurring disorders at the same time that you’re receiving addiction therapy. If both conditions are not treated simultaneously, it is less likely that the treatment for either will be sufficient.

Treating co-occurring disorders is easier when you have a good therapist who understands your struggles. This may include the use of medications. Some people also benefit from medications to help them deal with the withdrawal symptoms when not using drugs or alcohol. A combination of these treatments in conjunction with talk therapy can provide the best chance for recovery.

Some examples of common therapies used for co-occurring disorders are:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This therapy helps you understand your thoughts and how they affect your behaviors. You will learn how to change the negative thoughts and behaviors to improve your overall health.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy: This therapy can help you develop new coping mechanisms and skills. It also helps you to manage emotions better.
  • Psychodynamic therapy: This therapy helps you understand how your past experiences are affecting your current life. It also helps you to develop new ways of thinking and behaving.

These are just a few examples of the types of therapies that can be used to treat co-occurring disorders. The goal is to find the right combination of therapies that work for you.

How to Get Started with Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

Our team is here to help you. When you reach out to us, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive exam and assessment. This allows us to determine what type of therapy is right for your needs. We can then work with you to create a treatment plan to address your specific needs.

Keep in mind that we offer comprehensive care. That includes sober homes that can help you to get healthy with the support you need. Learn more about our treatment programs:

  • Drug rehab programs
  • Intensive outpatient program
  • Partial hospitalization program
  • Women’s treatment program
  • Men’s treatment program

Choose to Start the Healing Process – Call Greater Boston Addiction Centers Today

Co-occurring disorders are difficult to diagnose and often can be challenging to get treatment for because many people don’t realize they have both addiction and mental health disorders. Yet, there is help. Our team can provide you with comprehensive addiction treatment and support for mental health needs. At the Greater Boston Addiction Centers, our team is here to help you. Call 877.920.6583 or reach out to us online.