Co-occurring Disorders and Substance Abuse

Co-occurring Disorders and Substance Abuse

Many men and women are struggling with mental health disorders. For some individuals, this can lead to substance abuse. The coexistence of both mental health disorders along with the abuse of substances is often called co-occurring disorders. Researchers are still learning about how these two components link to each other, but it’s important to recognize that individuals who are struggling with any type of mental health disorder are at a higher risk for substance abuse than the average public.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, published in 2014, about 7.9 million men and women in the U.S. have co-occurring disorders. Alcohol Rehab LA in Baton Rouge, Louisiana will work with you to address both concerns to help you on the path towards recovery.

What Happens First: The Drug Abuse or the Mental Health Disorder?

Each situation is unique. However, many people begin to struggle with mental health disorders long before they recognize the symptoms. For some, mental health disorders are present in childhood or can develop during the teen years, which can lead to the need to self-medicate.

On the other hand, co-disorders can start as a result of experimenting with drugs and Alcohol. This is especially true when teens or even children are exposed to harmful chemicals. This can trigger mental health concerns early on or even years later.

In still other situations, people face complex situations involving trauma, abuse, or other significant events early on in their lives. They may seem to cope just fine initially but may develop addictions to drugs and Alcohol during their adolescents as a way to forget those situations. In some situations, this can lead to the development of depression, anxiety, and more complex mental health disorders.

Identifying Symptoms of Drug and Alcohol Addiction and Mental Health Disorders

Again, each person is different. Some people are very capable of hiding their symptoms for a long period of time. Others can manage well-balanced lives with jobs and families. For many, this type of abuse is simply too much and day-to-day life is a struggle.

Common symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction and mental health disorders include the following:

  • Difficulty managing responsibilities at home, work, or school. Missed appointments, unable to care for dependents, missing school, and seeming to be disorganized are common indicators.
  • The need to use increasing amounts of alcohol or drugs to minimize the symptoms of withdrawal. Many people need to increase the amount they need to take to get the same relief our improvement in their mental health symptoms. In some situations, individuals will take more of the drug than their doctor prescribed because they are not getting help.
  • Physical aggression. Many people become physically dangerous to others. They may be dangerous to themselves, and take risks such as driving.
  • Avoidance of people. Avoiding family activities, no longer engaging in activities they once enjoyed, and removing people from their lives for no real reason.
  • Spending a lot of time and money trying to seek out the drug or substance of choice. Unable to focus on other tasks until that is achieved.

Individuals suffering from mental illness do not have significant outward symptoms. For example, many do not feel like they are “losing it” and many do not display the symptoms often seen on television. It’s important to recognize you or your loved one may not feel like they have a mental health problem or that they are abusing drugs or alcohol. Denial is a very common symptom.

What Treatment Options Exist for Those Struggling with Co-Disorders?

There is help available. Numerous approaches are accessible to help ensure each patient is always given the very best level of care for his or her need. But, there’s a very real need to seek out care.

Life-Threatening Issues

One of the key reasons to seek out care is because co-disorders can lead to life-threatening conditions. Individuals are at a higher risk for heart disease, asthma, obesity, and diabetes, and that can often lead to a more challenging withdrawal period.

Withdrawal Symptoms

A very significant component of the recovery process is removing the substances and drugs from the body. The body will likely have a very physical reaction to this. It is not something the individual him or herself can control or limit. Withdrawal symptoms can be painful and, in some situations, life-threatening themselves. More so, they bring mental illness to the forefront of the individual’s life. Suddenly, the patient must deal with not only the dependency of the alcohol or drug, but also the mental health challenges they face.

Integrated Treatment Becomes Critical            

In situations like this where co-occurring disorders are present, individuals need an integrated approach to recovery. Those who are suffering from substance abuse most certainly will need to detox in a medically safe environment. And, there will be the need to undergo treatment for the mental health complications and conditions. In every situation, the patient needs a comprehensive treatment program that addresses:

  • Their current dependencies
  • Their current mental health disorders
  • Their lifestyle and their future
  • The underlying health conditions and much more

Often, the best place for this is in a drug and Alcohol addiction treatment center. When you visit our facility in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, you’ll work closely with a team of experts who understand the challenges of co-occurring disorders and can offer you the treatment and support you need to move through this process and on to recovery. The combination of drug and Alcohol addiction and mental health disorders is very difficult, but there is help available to encourage individuals to move past their current limitations and towards a healthy lifestyle through recovery.


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