When someone suffers both addiction and mental illness at the same time, their diagnosis contains co-occurring disorders. Also called dual diagnosis, this means two conditions exist at the same time and create a cycle. Dual diagnosis treatment programs treat both states at once, with an understanding of the importance of ending the cycle.
Co-occurring disorders of dual diagnosis include:
Common co-occurring disorders include alcoholism and depression, PTSD and heroin addiction, anxiety and opioid addiction, or anorexia and cocaine dependence. A wide variety of possible co-occurring conditions exist. Any mental illness or behavioral disorder possibly accompanies addiction.
The symptoms of one of your co-occurring disorders may come before the other. For example, your depression started first, followed by substance abuse. Although one begins before the other, the two conditions make each other worse.
The co-occurring nature of these disorders makes escaping one condition through the other impossible. Many people abuse substances to self-medicate their mental problems, such as depression or anxiety. At first, they feel upbeat or relaxed. Despite that, drinking or doing drugs only worsens the issue.
Pairing substance abuse with mental illness is always dangerous. The co-occurring disorders make each other spin out of control. Instead of soothing symptoms, you soon find yourself experiencing intense cravings for your substance, building a tolerance to the drugs or alcohol, experiencing more symptoms of your mental illness, going through withdrawal symptoms, and even sliding deep into addiction.
Knowing which of your two disorders came first does not necessarily matter. It presents a scenario much like the “chicken or the egg.” What will matter is to treat both conditions at once. Without this help, the cycle only continues with one disorder causing a relapse of the other.
Many people wonder how addiction becomes entangled with mental illness so quickly and in so many individuals. At first, substance abuse soothes some physical symptoms of mental illness. This is the trap of co-occurring conditions. You begin using substances to make yourself feel better from the signs of your mental illness.
If you start abusing substances before noticing any signs of your mental illness, the addiction soon makes your hidden symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other conditions come out into the open. You soon find yourself experiencing more and more of your mental illness signs with your addiction.
Even worse, when you try to quit using drugs or alcohol, your mental illness symptoms appear worse. People trying to stop drinking or using opioids, cocaine, or other drugs suffer intense anxiety, for example. Many substances cause depression in withdrawal. Other mental symptoms you suffer become worse when you try to quit substance abuse.
Early in your substance abuse you became hooked on your drugs or alcohol because those substances made you feel better. Soon, the good feelings disappeared. Now you just find yourself stuck in addiction with worsening symptoms of your co-occurring conditions. You need help to come out of this cycle.
Hawaii Island Recovery in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii provides the dual diagnosis treatment you need for addiction and your mental illness. Treatment at Hawaii Island Recovery includes:
Over 75% of Hawaii Island Recovery clients enjoy being clean one year after rehab, even with dual diagnosis disorders. You deserve the chance for a better life, too.
For yourself or someone you love struggling with addiction, call Hawaii Island Recovery now at 866-260-6057. Your cycle of co-occurring conditions ends after your call.