Most of you probably don’t realize how common co-occurring disorders are in the United States today.  Co-occurring disorders are many times diagnosed when a person seeks treatment for addiction or treatment for a mental health issue. In other words, co-occurring disorders in the US are very common. 

What are Co-Occurring Disorders?

A co-occurring disorder is a condition which individuals experience when they have two disorders. It most often is a combination of a mental health issue along with another condition such as substance abuse. Co-occurring disorders can occur when people have a mental health problem along with issues other than substance abuse. However, those involving substance abuse or addiction are the most common. (In previous years, dual-diagnosis or dual disorder was the term used for this same condition.)

When a person has a co-occurring disorder, one issue may take precedence over the other. The psychiatric problem may be worse than the substance abuse issue or vice-versa. And, over time the severity of each problem may change. Physicians and psychologists need to treat these two conditions at the same time other than trying to treat each disorder separately. 

What Causes Co-Occurring Disorders in the US?

When a person has a mental health issue that goes untreated, sometimes they tend to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. They do this to try to alleviate their symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder, or whatever mental illness they are struggling with. Individuals who struggle with mental health issues are far more likely to also have substance abuse problems. It has been determined that in many cases of opioid abuse or addiction, the use of the drug can cause mental health issues. Or, the opioid abuse may worsen a pre-existing mental problem.

In many cases, genetics plays a role in mental illness. This is also true in the case of addiction and substance abuse. Of course, a person’s environment can also have a part in both conditions. Living a very stressful or anxious life can contribute to a person’s mental issues as well as substance abuse.  

How Many People does this Affect in the United States?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), 7.7 million people have co-occurring disorders in the US.  It is never easy to determine which disorder came before the other. 

A report from 2017 by NIH stated that there were 20.3 million Americans with substance use disorders. Of these 20.3 million, 37.9% also had mental health disorders. In the same year, there were 42.1 million adults with mental illnesses. Of these, 18.2% also had substance abuse issues.

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

There is professional treatment available for individuals who are struggling with co-occurring disorders. Specialists advise inpatient addiction treatment for these individuals. They receive one-on-one counseling as well as many other integrated programs. Patients can go through safe detoxification before starting a treatment program that will address both issues.

Contact New Beginnings Recovery to learn about a treatment program that can help you start a life in recovery from co-occurring disorders. You can manage your life and get to a productive and healthy life in recovery from addiction. One of our representatives can answer any questions you may have about treatment programs that will benefit you or a loved one.

Contact us today to start your new life.

Resources: – Co-Occurring Disorders

Drugabuse.govComorbidity: Substance Use and Other Mental Disorders