What is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

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Addiction and alcoholism are rarely stand alone disorders. Co-occurring disorders has been discovered through years of research in laboratories and through talking with the people who experience addiction. Today it is understood that most people who develop a problem with drugs and alcohol struggle with other mental health issues. Addiction is more often the symptom of another problem than the primary itself. In order to cope with the pressing symptoms of a mental health disorder or life issue, people turn to drugs and alcohol. The sensations of euphoria and physical pain relief they experience through drugs and alcohol are preferable to what they are experiencing without drugs and alcohol. With the higher likelihood of becoming attached to chemical substances, their brains become addicted.


Some studies have suggested that the likelihood of an addiction developing can be detected not through the presence of a co-occurring mental health disorder but early symptoms of one. Character and personality traits starting to develop and be demonstrated at a middle school age can predict the likelihood of recreational use or misuse of drugs and alcohol in high school. Teenage hood is when substance use disorders begin to form. Coincidentally, teenage hood is also when mental health disorders start to form and present symptoms. Unfortunately, the signs and symptoms of both mental health and substance use disorders in teenage years are written off as being passing phases of adolescence. As a result, many people grow up years of their lives struggling with untreated and undiagnosed symptoms of mental health disorders. When drugs and alcohol are introduced to their life, they find a way to self-medicate. Becoming addicted to chemical substances, their problem is no longer one, but two. Co-occurring disorders can include personality disorders, mood disorders, compulsive behavioral disorders, and issues caused by life experiences like transitions and grief.


Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

During the age of treatment when it was believed addiction was a separate issue from mental health, each was treated differently. After years of watching people come to treatment, graduate, be released, and not know how to cope with their mental health conditions, the industry has changed. Treatment for co-occurring disorders is essential for a full recovery. When co-occurring disorders are properly assessed and treated, the likelihood for recovery increases because the primary source of addiction is increasingly healed.


The answer to recovery is simple. Simple Recovery is a men and women’s treatment center in Huntington Beach, California. Our action-oriented treatment model helps clients set and achieve their goals in treatment, pursuing their dreams while learning to live sober. Start your recovery today by calling us at: 888-743-0490