Understanding and Treating Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Addiction is a cycle. It tries to keep itself perpetually fed through negative thoughts and emotions or with painful, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Addiction plays with the mind, convincing us that drugs and alcohol are the only ways to make life tolerable. It places itself above all else, taking priority over family, friends, goals, and aspirations.  

Addiction is a liar. 

When it comes to addiction treatment in Coral Springs, it’s important to understand the entire picture. Often drug and alcohol abuse is a symptom of deeper issues, often related to one’s mental health.  

What are Co-Occurring Disorders? 

Co-occurring disorders refers to when one is experiencing addiction as well as exhibiting symptoms of a mental health disorder. Also commonly known as a dual diagnosis, co-occurring disorders often feed each other. One may feel driven to drinking or drug use in order to escape the symptoms of mental illness. This supports the aforementioned cycle of substance abuse and makes it difficult to imagine a better life beyond addiction. When a mental illness in undiagnosed or mismanaged, illicit substance use can seem like the only way to feel normal or find relief.  

The five most common co-occurring disorders are: 

Alcohol and Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). Impulsivity and disregard for rules and boundaries characterize this disorder and can be exacerbated by alcohol abuse. Because drinking lowers inhibitions, people with ASPD may be more likely to abuse alcohol. 

Cocaine and Anxiety Disorders. Cocaine use floods the brain with dopamine, which counters feelings of excessive worry, fear, hypervigilance, or paranoia. These effects are only temporary, leaving cocaine users feeling fatigued and anxious once again. Physical and mental dependence set in quickly, causing one to act in ways they normally would not in order to get the next dose. 

Heroin and Depression. Much like cocaine use, heroin interacts directly with the central nervous system, flooding the brain with pleasure hormones. As use continues, the brain becomes used to this artificial boost in dopamine production and reduces natural production. This can lead one to develop depression and become reliant on heroin to experience pleasure or feel happy.  

Opioids and PTSD. Opioid pain medication abuse among people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders is typically a means of escapism. Also producing excess levels of dopamine, opioid abuse allows those with PTSD to escape the debilitating nature of their symptoms. 

Other common co-occurring mental health disorders include: 

  • Bi-polar disorder 
  • Borderline Personality Disorder 
  • Schizophrenia 
  • Eating disorders 
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders 

Because addiction is often rooted in past traumas and mental illness, integrated treatment that addresses both substance use and mental health disorders is vital to long-term success in recovery. With The Edge Recovery, our addiction treatment in Coral Springs is personalized to meet your specific needs. Our team of addiction specialists take the time to learn about you, your history, and your goals for the future to help you strive to become your best self. Using evidence-based treatment modalities like Cognitive and Dialectical Behavioral Therapies, we help you gain life skills and coping mechanisms you need for a sober future. 

Addiction doesn’t have to rule your future. Contact us now to begin your recovery journey today! 

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