Signs of a Co-occurring Disorder

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Signs of a Co-occurring Disorder

Substance abuse disorder is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that causes compulsory seeking behavior despite the consequences of such behavior.  While addiction is debilitating on its own, many patients also suffer from some form of mental illness.  This dual diagnosis can make treatment more difficult because the many of the signs of each are the same.  Both illnesses are typically so closely intertwined, they instigate symptoms of each other.
There are certain substances that typically go hand-in-hand with various mental illnesses.  This makes each situation unique and the signs of a dual diagnosis will vary.  Alcoholism is most closely related to antisocial personality disorder.  People with antisocial personality disorder have a total lack of regard for others and are typically fairly agitated most of the time.  They maintain a general discontentment and consistently attempt to manipulate others.  Addiction in and of itself can cause these symptoms, which makes determining a dual diagnosis difficult.  A person who suffers from both, however, will display an extreme.
Marijuana has been linked to schizophrenia, and the signs are slightly easier to identify.  Many schizophrenics abuse marijuana, despite its potential to instigate psychotic behaviors.  Those with schizophrenia may have hallucinogenic episodes where they think they see or hear things, which can cause severe agitation.  Most schizophrenics develop a speech disorder that causes them to have frenzied, incoherent speech.  While marijuana abuse can aggravate the symptoms, they likely would not occur in this intensity without the presence of schizophrenia.


Anxiety disorders can be associated with various substances, but are most prevalent in cocaine addicts.  When a person is under the influence of cocaine, they feel a certain euphoria.  Yet, as short-lived symptoms wear off, feelings of paranoia and hallucinations can occur.  This can make distinguishing it from bi-polar difficult, because it may mirror manic episodes.  A person who abuses cocaine may use so often, it causes the withdrawal to turn into a long-term anxiety disorder.  When experiencing episodes, they may have a hard time breathing and sweat profusely, even when the drug is not present.  
While the signs of a mental illness can vary between substances, there are general indicators that you or a loved one are suffering from dual diagnosis.  Someone with a co-occurring disorder may find it impossible to perform daily functions.  Most are unable to maintain employment or functional relationships because of their uncontrolled emotions.  Many may have financial and legal problems, as well.  While a dual diagnosis can be difficult to identify, it is not impossible and there is help out there to get you or your loved back on track.


Treatment and recovery for addiction should be simple. Simple Recovery offers dual diagnosis treatment for men and women in a multiphase format encouraging growth and development. Going back to school, back to work, or engaging in volunteer work, our clients waste no time starting their new lives as they continue to heal in mind, body, and spirit. For information, call us today: 888-743-0490