You likely have heard the terms “co-occurring” and “dual diagnosis” before. However, you may not fully understand what these words mean.
Well, co-occurring disorders are two or more behavioral health problems that occur at the same time in an individual. Having co-occurring disorders does not imply that one problem is more serious than the other; instead, it means that a person has been diagnosed with two or more mental health conditions.
There are several common types of co-occurring disorders and they may range from mild to severe in their manifestation. If you are struggling with one or more of these issues, you can get help.
The first step is to understand what co-occurring disorders are and how they can be managed through dual diagnosis treatment so that you can live a happier and healthier life. Read on to learn more about this topic.
Co-Occurring Disorders: What They Are
A co-occurring disorder is an illness that involves a person having two or more diagnoses that are medical conditions that affect a person’s health, functioning, and quality of life.
A co-occurring disorder is different from a comorbidity, which is the simultaneous existence of two or more diseases or disorders in one person. Examples of co-occurring disorders include anxiety and depression, or schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Co-occurring disorders are very common and affect millions of people each year. People with co-occurring disorders can experience significant challenges in getting the right treatment as well as recovery.
Substance Use Disorders
A substance use disorder is defined as a problematic pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress. Substances that can cause a substance use disorder include alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription drugs, and certain foods.
Having a substance use disorder can increase your risk of having a mental health disorder. Alcohol and other types of drugs can have negative effects on the brain. They can change the way the brain works, which can increase your risk of having a mental health disorder, such as anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or an eating disorder.
Dual Diagnosis: An Overview
Having a diagnosis of a mental health disorder, such as depression or an eating disorder, can be challenging in and of itself while dealing with drug addiction. Luckily, dual diagnosis treatment centers exist to help people receive treatment for both disorders, giving them a better chance of overcoming both problems.
Dual diagnosis treatment centers are beneficial since they don’t address the addiction on its own but the mental health condition that’s triggering substance abuse.
Having a co-occurring disorder is not a reflection of your worth or the effort that you have put into your journey. It is simply a reflection of the fact that you have had to walk through difficult circumstances.
You don’t have to live with feeling bad about yourself and having no control over your life because of your disorders. Instead, you can get help from a dual diagnosis treatment center and manage your disorders so you can have a happier and healthier life.