Co-occurring disorders happen more often than most people would think. Previously referred to as dual diagnosis, co-occurring disorders affect nearly 7.9 million Americans each year. Co-occurring disorders involve a person experiencing one or more mental illnesses and one or more substance use disorders at once. Many times, co-occurring disorders are difficult to diagnose because of the multitude of symptoms that overlap.

It’s sometimes difficult to tell which disorder has caused which other disorder when it comes to co-occurring disorders. In some instances, a person may abuse a substance and because of extended use, they have developed symptoms that led into a mental disorder. In other cases, a person with a mental illness may abuse substances in an attempt to aid their discomfort from the psychological stressors they are experiencing, thus leading them to an addiction.

As stated in the 2013 issue written by Christina Reardon, MSW, LSW, for Social Work Today, individuals with co-occurring disorders often face a number of challenges:

  1. Obtaining the right form of treatment, with a healthcare team that will adequately address both sides of the co-occurring disorder
  2. Finding a single support group tailored enough to properly provide emotional support to a wider range of experiences than others may have
  3. Difficulty in finding employment and stable housing when both disorders cause difficulty in a person’s life

Some of the most common mental disorders experienced alongside a substance use disorder are mood, anxiety, psychotic, and personality-related disorders. This can make it especially challenging because both the mental illness and substance use disorder need to be treated; if only one is treated at a time, the other’s symptoms may worsen.

Despite these challenges, recovery is possible for those with a co-occurring disorder. Integrative care is gaining more importance in healthcare literature, and finding a treatment center that will treat both disorders is what will be most beneficial. If you are experiencing a co-occurring disorder, you may be required to spend longer in treatment in order to receive adequate care. However, finding a reputable treatment center that can address both sides of the disorder is well worth the time spent. Make the decision to seek help today.

Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.



Addiction and behavioral healthcare are within reach when you join us at New Vista Behavioral Health:
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If you are ready to pursue a life committed to your health, relationships and emotional well-being, you have a team that is willing to walk alongside you and restore hope for your future. Let us help you in taking the first step in your journey to recovery.

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