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How Common Are Co-Occurring Disorders

Did you know that it’s possible to be diagnosed with more than one mental health condition? Some individuals can have more than one condition that impacts their lives. This often includes substance abuse, which typically begins as a habit to mitigate difficult mental illness symptoms. This combination of mental health conditions is referred to as co-occurring disorders. But what does that look like, how common are co-occurring disorders, and where can you seek help?

Port St. Lucie Hospital provides help for adults who are seeking treatment for their substance abuse and mental health conditions. Entering a program that treats your symptoms simultaneously increases the chances of making a full recovery. Port St. Lucie Hospital will help you start your recovery journey on the right foot by teaching you how to navigate co-occurring disorders.

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders

Before getting to the question, “How common are co-occurring disorders?” it’s important to understand what they are and some common signs. An individual with co-occurring disorders has a mental disorder and a substance use disorder. They occur simultaneously but are not always diagnosed at the same time.

These conditions can exist separately, but for most, they are related. This commonly results in amplified symptoms of each condition. In addition, individuals with co-occurring disorders tend to experience more severe symptoms than those who only have one mental health disorder.

Common Signs or Symptoms

As the topic of “How common are co-occurring disorders?” is covered, it’s important to note that diagnosing substance use and mental health conditions should be left to medical professionals. However, being aware of the common signs or symptoms can help individuals know when it’s time to get help. These signs can include:

  • Isolating from loved ones
  • Sudden changes in mood and behavior
  • Difficulty with daily responsibilities
  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Neglecting health and hygiene
  • Out-of-control substance use
  • Developing a high substance tolerance
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • Dependence on substances to function

Risk Factors

  • Family history
  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors
  • Stress or responses to stress
  • Trauma and adverse childhood experiences

Common Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders and Substance Use

Addiction and mental health struggles often overlap. This is because individuals use substances to self-medicate as a means to escape from difficult symptoms. All of the disorder types and addictions most commonly associated with co-occurrence are treated at Port St. Lucie Hospital.

Since there isn’t just one way to care for addiction and mental health symptoms, your care team will help create a treatment plan designed specifically for you. This will help you find coping skills that work for your diagnosis and your life once you leave the treatment center.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety and substance abuse are among some of the most common pairs to be diagnosed. Individuals with anxiety disorders may self-medicate to cope with anxiety symptoms, which in turn can lead to substance abuse. The dependency on substances then leads to worsening anxiety.

Anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Mood Disorders

These are classified by mood disruptions that impact an individual’s life. Examples include major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. They are frequently linked with substance use because it temporarily remedies the disruptive mood swings caused by altered brain activity. Although it’s common for a treatment program to treat the substance use first, treating them together increases the chances of a successful start to recovery.

Psychotic Disorders

These are characterized by changes in thought and perceptions. Examples include schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. The titular symptom is psychosis, which is a temporary state that causes delusions and hallucinations. Due to underlying genetic predispositions, individuals at a high risk of having schizophrenia are also vulnerable to abusing substances.

Psychotic disorders and substance abuse can sometimes be difficult to differentiate because psychosis can be a symptom of drug or alcohol abuse. Some individuals who abuse addictive substances can experience psychosis while taking substances or going through withdrawal. However, to receive this diagnosis, an individual must experience psychotic symptoms when they’re not using drugs or alcohol.

Personality Disorders

These conditions are characterized by unhealthy behaviors and thought patterns. The impacts of personality disorders can be far-reaching, including in work, relationships, and ability to accomplish daily tasks. A majority of individuals who have one of these conditions and co-occurring substance abuse have a dependency on drugs rather than alcohol. Some types of this condition that commonly co-occur with substance use are:

  • Anti-social personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Narcissistic personality disorder

Eating Disorders

These conditions are characterized by a body image obsession and irregular eating habits. A few of the most common types include:

  • Binge eating disorder
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa

Individuals who struggle with anorexia nervosa with binge eating and purging habits and bulimia nervosa are at a higher risk of abusing substances. Genetic factors that increase the likelihood of developing an eating disorder are also found in those who are at an increased risk of substance abuse.

How Common Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

So, how common are co-occurring disorders? Co-occurrence is quite common with approximately 8.1 million reported adults in the United States having co-occurring disorders, 40% of which have a substance use disorder. Co-occurrence can refer to any combination of conditions without the presence of substance use. However, it is often used to describe someone living with a mental health condition in combination with substance use.

Treatment Options for Co-Occurring Disorders

Treatment Options for Co-Occurring Disorders

Now that you have an answer to the question, “How common are co-occurring disorders?” it’s time to find out what treatment options are available for those seeking help and where they can get it. Port St. Lucie Hospital specializes in helping individuals who are struggling with substance abuse and mental health disorders. The hospital staff has the experience and resources you need to receive a diagnosis or better treat the one you already have.

Medical Detox

The first step to recovery begins with an assessment of your history of drug and alcohol use in addition to suspected or diagnosed mental health conditions. This gives medical staff the information they need to tailor your treatment plan to your needs. Many patients begin with a medical detox before proceeding to the dual diagnosis program to ensure they can safely progress through treatment.

Here, you will receive 24/7 medical supervision from a team of licensed physicians and nurses. They create a safe and supportive environment to help you through withdrawal. In addition to monitoring, the team can provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) depending on your needs. In this way, we can sometimes stop withdrawal symptoms before they begin.

After completing the medical detox process, patients have several options for continuing care for their co-occurring substance use and mental health condition, including the dual diagnosis program. There are a variety of treatment and therapy options built into the dual diagnosis plan. As a result, every patient at the center receives a comprehensive treatment plan to meet their needs.

Dual Diagnosis Program

Patients in the inpatient dual diagnosis program continue to receive the necessary resources and support from staff to cope with co-occurrence. Conditions are simultaneously treated to help patients cope with the full range of their symptoms,

The length of time spent in the dual diagnosis program can depend on the severity of your symptoms, your recovery needs, and your goals. However, the main goal of your treatment is to discover and improve upon important skills that will help you stay sober after returning home. 12-step programming can benefit individuals seeking a community of others who share their experiences and can keep them accountable on their recovery journey.

What you learn in the dual diagnosis program will help you stay sober while facing life’s biggest stressors. The provided resources, such as therapy, will help you learn to rely on healthy coping mechanisms rather than depend on harmful substances. They will also help you take on challenges outside of treatment.

Get The Help You Deserve

Now that you have an answer to “How common are co-occurring disorders?” and know of some available treatment options, it’s time to get help. If you are seeking treatment for a co-occurring disorder, Port St. Lucie Hospital offers specialized addiction treatment plans like the dual diagnosis program to help you manage all of your symptoms.

To learn more about how Port St. Lucie Hospital can help you reach recovery, call us at 772-408-5871 or fill out an online confidential contact form. We’ll be right by your side when you’re ready to take the first step toward recovery. Long-term recovery is possible with the resources and support of the medical staff at Port St. Lucie Hospital.

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