An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

Co-Occurring Disorders

Discussion in 'Dual-Diagnosis Treatment' started by Nick W., Oct 20, 2014.

  1. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    Fewer than 10% of adults with co-occurring disorders receive treatment for both conditions, but what exactly is a co-occurring disorder?

    Co-occurring disorders happen when someone who is abusing substances, and also suffers from a mental health condition such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, etc...

    It's estimated that 1 in 6 substance abusers only receive treatment for one of these issues. Figuring out which disorder came first can be particularly tricky, and down right impossible at times. For instance, an abused child may turn to drugs as a coping mechanism, developing an addiction. However, a substance abuser might also experience severe and negative situations while under the influence, which could lead to something like PTSD. Since it's becoming increasingly difficult to establish which disorder came first, may doctors and psychologists are recommending that both treatment for both substance abuse, and treatment for underlying psychological disorders, is the only way to address the problem as a whole, and provide a more comprehensive treatment.
    xTinx and Joseph like this.
  2. LostmySis

    LostmySis Senior Contributor

    You are absolutely right. One issue a family member had dealt with bipolar disorder, which may even had been schizophrenia. I truly believe she was self medicating with the drugs, and there was no way to control it. Also, many of the medications for the mental disorders leave the person feeling groggy or disoriented. My relative's exact words were "I feel like I am swimming in cement, and it is taking all my strength to tall to you." You would think that if we can jettison people to the moon, that we would be able to fix these types of problems. Hopefully, as time goes on, addicts will be more forthcoming about their issues. I think the stigma attached to mental illness could be a factor as to why these people to not get the appropriate help.
  3. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    I very much understand why people with psychological problems easily fall prey to substance abuse. It's bad enough to be in a state of unreasonable emptiness and sadness (to the point of making you feel that life is worthless). They resort to substance abuse in order to numb the pain or have the confidence (no matter how fleeting) to take on life. These people usually have fluctuating self-esteem and are prone to troubled relationships. I'm glad that treatment facilities are making an effort to customize their programs and accommodate individuals with co-occurring disorders.
    Nick W. likes this.
  4. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    It's so important to get both diagnosis, and to have them both of them addressed, in order to get a more complete treatment of everything that is going on. You don't want to deal with just the symptoms, you want to deal with the root of the issueas as well. In my opinion.
  5. vegito12

    vegito12 Community Champion

    I have one person in family who, is a adult and has a mind of child and takes drugs prescribed by doctor and is strong. Sometimes she, tries different ones as the ones she has to take do not taste well and also are way to strong and make her feel sleepy and drowsy at night. I have seen some people I know, take drugs and abuse it to have confidence or to escape from problems they have to face. The diagnosis needs to be looked at, and get the right treatment which will work for the person having problems.
  6. Determined2014

    Determined2014 Senior Contributor

    A friend of mine was abusing all kind of substances, especially meth, but she also suffered from severe depression and panic attacks, but as you said, she was being treated for the for the substance abuse and the other two had been neglected, she was taken to rehab , as to treat the abuse problem, but was never treated for the two, so she kept on abusing untill both issues were taken care of.
  7. amethyst

    amethyst Community Champion

    I had multiple addictions and disorders. I wasn't just drinking and smoking far too much, but I also suffered from depression, anxiety and panic attacks, insomnia, chronic digestive problems, muscular pains, and the list goes on.
    I had to approach my problems from many different angles to gradually bring myself back into a state of balance. The truth is that it took me nearly 20 years, and I still have to work on it. Mind you, a lot less than before. :)
  8. Determined2014

    Determined2014 Senior Contributor

    That is very encouraging, it will give alot of people hope, I am sorry that you had to go through all that and still have to go through some,but there is hope at the end of the tunnel.
  9. ProShell

    ProShell Member

    I was recently in a chat with a young lady that had a misdiagnosis and then dual diagnosis, but was successfully overcoming her addictions and had been sober going on 3 years.

    This can really affect your identity, people label themselves with the names of their disease because a demon you can name can be fought, and two demons is a tougher battle than just one.
  10. stellaluna

    stellaluna Member

    I have bipolar and BPD and in my experience, addictions counseling did nothing for me, whereas counseling and treatment for my MH issues has positively impacted my substance abuse. I never felt like my use of drugs and alcohol was an addiction (yeh, yeh everyone says that). I could switch between a whole host of addictive behaviors, never feeling grasped by any of them. The problem wasn't my attachment to the substances, it was the void they were filling inside of me. So in my case, it was imperative that addictions and MH issues were looked at as one big "problem" rather than isolated issues.